Have you ever wanted to dress like a French girl? What about dressing like a French girl with chic and sustainable clothes?! Meet Gaâla, the French brand created by Kelly de Gaalon and Alexander Zhalezka, Gaâla brings beautiful style and panache to everyday wear, with looks you can dress up or dress down and are comfortable whether you’re working from home or heading out on the town for a socially distanced outdoor dinner! Gaâla is the meeting of two worlds – classic French aesthetic combined with the finest Belarusian craftsmanship and focuses on creating pieces that transcend time and trends; beautiful and sustainably crafted dresses and jumpsuits for both professional and everyday wear, that never go out of style.
Looking to make as small a footprint as possible Gaâla has chosen to use luxurious fabric remnants sourced from Italy and other premium sources, that would in most cases be tossed into landfills, and repurpose them for their collections. Due to the use of deadstock material and the limited nature, sometimes as few as two or three pieces are produced from one fabric. LAFM sat down with Kelly de Gaalon to learn all about French fashion and why we desperately Gaâla need it in our closets, ASAP!
LAFM: Kelly-I love Gaâla! It’s timeless, elegant, and the type of pieces you can wear day or night. Can you tell me the inspiration behind creating the brand?
Kelly: My decision to start Gaâla was triggered by the fact that I found it almost impossible to find elegant, quality clothing that lasted more than a few months over the years. While I was living in China, I became hyper-aware of the detrimental environmental impact that production and manufacturing have on our planet. This experience was part of my motivation for creating Gaâla as a sustainable brand. I started looking at the operations of clothing companies in detail. In many cases, I discovered that fabrics are produced in excess and are often thrown away-even incredible quality fabrics used by high-end fashion houses. I didn’t want to add to the fashion industry’s careless consumption model, so it was at this point that I decided that Gaâla’s ethos would be to design timeless pieces made from repurposing beautiful quality deadstock fabrics!
LAFM: I love that, giving a second life to perfectly good fabrics! I also love that Gaâla mixes Belarus spirit and craftmanship with a Parisian aesthetic. Can you tell me about the vision for Gaâla as a brand, and how Gaâla piece stand out?
Kelly: Our vision is to create elegant and sustainably crafted styles for professional and everyday wear without compromising sustainability. Our apparel is unique in that we combine the nostalgia of time-honored silhouettes with contemporary designs for the modern woman. Our customers don’t need to choose between being stylish and timeless; our collections can be both.
LAFM: Though many fashion brands aim to be sustainable for their brand, it is not often achieved. Can you elaborate on Gaâla’s sustainability and why it was essential to include when you created your fashion brand?
Kelly: We believe that purchasing a sustainably made piece of clothing is respectful to both the environment and the artisans who craft the clothing. For the most part, sustainable brands pay fair wages that reflect the skill and effort that goes into making each piece. Our whole production model demonstrates our support of sustainable practices on a human and environmental level.
We have tailors who craft the entire piece – from cutting the fabric to sewing it together to adding on the buttons, which requires far greater skill and experience. One tailor is only able to make 1-2 dresses per day. Using deadstock fabrics, we cannot reach the economy of scale in the way we might want to. This will always be a challenge because it is not a matter of filling out a simple factory order of X amount of fabric in our chosen pattern and color.
The process involves finding each fabric in the right quantities, making, say, five pieces, and then the cycle starts again to make another nine pieces from a different material. It is incredibly time-consuming, but conversely, I feel it gives each dress extra unique value.
We market this message, and we hope that our actions speak louder than just our words!
LAFM: What inspires you in your collections each season?
Kelly: The search for fabrics fuels a lot of creativity – it is like hunting for treasure, and we are always on the lookout for new materials and patterns. Our search for these beautiful and diverse textiles leads us to discover new places, cultures, and ateliers which inspire us and our designs!
LAFM: And lastly, what do you have planned for the future of Gaâla in the next year to 5 years?
Kelly: We are continually learning and finding new ways to become more sustainable, starting with our zero waste policy of recycling our production leftovers and packaging. Our next step is to find a way to use sustainably made deadstock fabrics, eco-cotton, and Tencel. We are also always looking to develop small scale workshops with good working hours, a positive atmosphere, and fair salaries.
To shop the rest of the collection, head here, you know you want to! #LAFMApproved #GaalaGirl