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Meet The Quirky Knitwear Brand Keeping Leftover Yarn Out Of Landfills

Designers
Photos courtesy of Yan Yan

Prepare to fall in love with YanYan

Welcome to The Green Scene. Twice a week during the month of April, we're highlighting the designers and brands working to make the world of fashion and beauty a greener, more sustainable place. The brands to support are the ones making a difference; check back every Tuesday and Thursday to meet your new favorites.

It's been a while since a knitwear brand has filled us with as much joy as Hong Kong-based YanYan has, and we're all about it. The quirky new label is the brainchild of two seasoned fashion designers, Phyllis Chan and Suzzie Chung, and it's arrived just in time for spring.

The brand was launched with an aim to fill a very specific void in the market: knitwear that's high-quality and fun, and not too outrageous of an investment. "A lot of people our age want high-quality, fun, novelty products, and are willing to invest, but so much of what is out there is either really expensive or too cheap or poor quality," says Chung.

Chan, the former director of knitwear at rag & bone, and Chung, a Hong Kong designer, have been longtime friends. The two dreamt of starting a company together as kids but didn't actually begin work on their direct-to-consumer premium knitwear brand until about two years ago, when both were looking for a "life change," as Chan calls it.

YanYan means "everyone" in Cantonese, which carries significant meaning to the brand's ethos: quality, design-driven knitwear products that are accessible to all.

Having just launched their debut capsule collection last month, the design duo drew inspiration from their heritage, designing their take on what modern Chinese clothing is today. Italian-spin tweed yarns, Scottish lamb's wool, and Japanese-spun technical yarns are knitted in China to create a colorful and quirky assortment of dresses and separates that combine cheongsam-inspired closures, hand-tied and hand-embroidered Chinese knots, with in-your-face colors and grandma-inspired floral embellishments. It's the perfect marriage of heritage and modern day.

The standouts? Electric green, scalloped bike shorts; a pocketed hoodie with pineapple knot flower embellishments; and a rainbow-striped short-sleeve maxi dress—all the ideal additions to our spring wardrobes. Prices range from $95 to $475.

But aside from being wonderfully colorful, adorable, and cozy-as-hell (something I can personally vouch for), it also has a major focus on sustainability.

First and foremost, the capsule collection uses recycled yarn; surplus leftovers that are stored at knitwear factories until they eventually "expire" (yes, before they are knit into apparel, yarns have expiration dates indicating if they'll still be malleable enough for a loom) and end up in landfills. For this specific collection, YanYan has kept more yarn out of landfills than it's put in.

The recycled yarn aspect is more of an experiment in the first capsule, and if it proves to be a feasible approach long-term—being dependent on overage yarns from other brands as well as mills' and factories' willingness to sell them—the designers will absolutely continue doing so. Still, the duo keeps sustainability, thoughtfulness, and ethics in terms of environmental, social, and economical in mind with every decision they make.

The brand operates with a "slow fashion-meets-limited edition" business model, meaning they will be releasing small-batch capsule collections every two to three months. This allows them to keep up with the fast fashion retailer turnover, without overproducing and creating waste.

When both designers first entered the fashion industry over a decade ago, sustainability wasn't really a thing. "It was more of a concept or gimmick," says Chan. "It's really hard for bigger companies to change overnight, even if they want to. It's hard to put in those changes without affecting the process or pricing, and it's hard to ask the customer to choose. "

With that said, she explains that it's much easier to start a company from scratch, having those sustainable practices in place from the very beginning. And while some think producing sustainably automatically means it'll cost more money, that's not always the case. "We have limited funds and resources, so using leftover material is both practical and economical," says Chung.

They value sustainability from a human standpoint, too. "We appreciate all the work it takes for our factory to achieve our designs, and it's important to us that they're paid fairly and work in safe conditions," says Chan. "We have a great relationship with our factory—we even share an office with the owner in Hong Kong!"

The two see sustainability as more than just implementing certain practices, but more an overall way of existing. "I think being sustainable is using common sense, and making practical and economic decisions," says Chan.

Take a closer look at YanYan's first capsule, below, and head on over to YanYanKnits.com to start shopping.

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan

Photo courtesy of Yan Yan



Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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