Smart design is sustainability is contemporary elegance, says Kizzy Jai Knight, the erstwhile dancer/choreographer/stylist behind Jai Active Wear, a fledgling label that the Knight describes as “playfully regal.” Launched in September and produced locally in New York City, Jai is a spirited assemblage of cuffed short rompers, harem-pant jumpsuits, and back-baring frocks in confident, versatile silhouettes, along with a selection of “peaks” (a cross between a headband and a cap) and a reversible raincoat or two for the woman on the move.
Besides Tencel, recycled nylon, and recycled polyester, Knight makes liberal use of recycled cotton made from garment-factory offcuts that would otherwise be routed to the landfill. The reconstituted fabric doesn’t need to be dyed, which eliminates the need for harsh, potentially polluting chemicals.
Upcycling is a concept Knight is more than acquainted with. “From a young age I was very creative with clothing,” she tells Ecouterre. “I would often pull old shirts and skirt apart adding stitches here and there to make them into something new, fresh, and appealing.” Her childhood was also filled with sketches of princess-like characters decked in beautiful gowns and dripping with jewels—an early source of inspiration for her grownup, “playfully regal” collection.
Modern princesses don’t need pumpkin stagecoaches or handsome princes.
Modern princesses don’t need pumpkin stagecoaches or handsome princess, just a few adaptable, layer-friendly pieces that can take them from Sun Salutation to Sunday brunch without missing a beat. “I wanted to create something that was as comfortable as yoga clothes,” Knight says, “but could be smart enough to wear to the office and casual enough to wear to brunch with friends or an afternoon at the museum with the kids.”