Art & Culture

The Taylor Jay Way

The Taylor Jay Way
LOVE Taylor Jay, her daughter and a close friend model their latest line of body-loving pieces. (Photo provided by Taylor Jay)

Style meets comfort

Taylor Jay, in Oakland, is the clothing line that many of us didn’t know we needed pre-pandemic, and post-pandemic we can’t get enough of. And by that I don’t mean sweats and a baggy sweatshirt—although no shade to that uniform, because the main thing is that we each feel authentic and comfortable—I mean top-of-the-line, seamlessly elegant fashion wear that feels as good as it looks. Designer Taylor Jay designs with the woman’s body specifically in mind, knowing that we all move, feel and express differently, and that we need clothing that will support us in our goals, challenges and daily lives without ever compromising quality or style. The concept is known as “elevated comfort”—fashion that offers a higher level of comfort, flexibility and versatility. And I know that any part of me that wasn’t looking for the perfect hybrid of comfort and style before 2020 has completely converted. Elevated comfort is the new name of the game.

The versatility of comfort

Along with this dedication to comfort and style, what makes Taylor Jay’s pieces so exceptional is their versatility. Each piece, made of luxurious, durable, smart materials that feel incredible on skin, is designed with convertibility in mind, meaning they can be worn to an event, a coffee shop or an investor meeting—the options are open. Jay studies line and detail to give each piece a versatile elegance that can be dressed up or down, depending on the needs of the wearer. A single piece can be the keystone for multiple different outfits, and Jay loves to see how customers mix, match and accessorize them.

Taylor Jay designs with everybody in mind

Inclusivity and body positivity are focal points in Jay’s fabric sourcing and design practice. The goal has always been to produce clothing that everybody can feel good in—fashion inclusivity. Almost every woman—myself included—has dealt with the grief and frustration brought on by exclusive and unrealistic styles and sizes presented by the fashion industry; as though there were a single, unilateral, “right” body shape instead of the many diverse, exquisite bodies we all have. Jay both saw and experienced this problem, and, thank goddess, chose to take action, designing clothing that makes women feel comfortable and confident in their skin. The textiles are adaptable and the sizing is generous, affording the wearer room to breathe, to move and to be joyful in her clothing. The lines are flattering and beautiful, giving her a sense of her sexiness, her inherent beauty and her strength. By empowering every woman’s body, Taylor Jay makes a passionate statement about fashion inclusion and moves the fashion world forward toward total inclusivity.

So who is Taylor Jay?

I’m sure we’re all on the edge of our seats at this point. Such an inspiring company ethos, such an A1 product—who is this woman? Taylor Jay is a Bay Area native and has been in the fashion industry for more than a decade. After moving to Los Angeles to study fashion at the California School of Fashion Design, Jay opened her first boutique at 23 years of age. The business took off, and when Jay returned to the Bay Area to open a second location, she also designed her first collection—the Taylor Jay collection, inspired by her journey through the fashion world and her own challenges. Demand came quick and fast, and she was able to pursue her own brand full-time, which has led to the flagship store at 235 Broadway, Suite 1 in Oakland. Jay has faced challenges and hardships throughout her life that have informed and motivated her, and she uses her story along with her designs to inspire and empower Black women entrepreneurs to pursue their visions.

Taylor Jay in 2021 and beyond—committed to sustainability

Slow fashion

The flagship store is open for in-person shopping, and the styles are as comfortable and chic as ever, so what else can we expect from Taylor Jay at the end of 2021 and into the new year? For one thing, a deepened commitment to sustainability. Taylor Jay—much like Jeremy Smith, founder of Standard & Strange, and many savvy clothing-company founders at this time—is aware of the devastating impact the fashion world has on the planet, and just how serious the need for change is. To this end, they’ve dedicated themselves to slow fashion, eco-friendly materials, and implementing recycle and upcycle processes. As opposed to fast fashion, which is profit-driven and entirely unconcerned with any negative environmental impact, slow fashion takes into consideration the longevity of an item of clothing and the effects its production may have on the planet as a whole, in both the short and long term. Taylor Jay is dedicated to clothing that does no harm, and in fact supports the planet—from the textile companies that produce the fabric to the individual who purchases the final product, it is designed to be worn for years to come.

Feels good + good for the planet = natural fibers & upcycled clothing

Taylor Jay is also aware of the impact that fabrics have on the planet, and has always sourced the best-quality natural products to ensure both maximum wearability and minimum environmental impact. Wool, silk and cotton are the main fabrics used in Taylor Jay pieces, and clothing is manufactured at an ethically sourced, fair-labor factory in Oakland. Along with new fabrics, Taylor Jay also uses upcycled material, to give high-quality fabric new life instead of throwing it away once its current fashion iteration is no longer desirable. The designs are broken down and the fabric reclaimed, to keep clothing out of dumps and landfills, and to reduce the need for harvesting new material. Taylor Jay is dedicated to these practices of sustainability and is always looking for ways to reduce impact while providing bodies with exceptional pieces of high-comfort fashion.

Taylor Jay is our fashion B-12

Taylor Jay is dedicated to the planet, to the community and to you. This is a clothing line invested in creating and fortifying confidence, joy, playfulness, sexiness and empowerment in women everywhere. Her firsthand experience with fashion negatives make Jay a superhero of positive change, and it’s impossible to miss the effects when wearing her line and shopping in her store. If you’re looking to feel gorgeous and free to move like you, while supporting a company dedicated to the planet’s health, holistic wellness and body positivity, as well as to empowering women of color and female bodies, this is your store! Shop in-person or online at Taylorjaycollection.com, and read more about their incredible initiatives in their blog’s news section.

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