May 26 2021 – Lydia Lassila
ZONE by Lydia takes a holistic approach to all things wellness and sustainability. From its hemp clothing range, to its Australian-made signature scent essential oils and biodegradable cork yoga range, this brand focuses on delivering eco-conscious products for yoga, wellness and life.
The hemp apparel encompasses comfort, style and inclusivity with its gender neutral and timeless designs.
“The essence of ZONE by Lydia is, as the name suggests, to help people find their zone,” Lydia says. “People always ask me what it’s like to win an Olympic medal, but for me it’s the ‘zone’ moment that is the most amazing – the magical place when you’re in the flow, have laser focus and are completely present.
“ZONE was born from striving to be present in a busy noisy world. I want to encourage people to find their zone every single day – whether it be through yoga, meditation, breathing or just simply reminding themselves to ‘be where you are’.”
For Lydia, it’s important that people find those little moments of sanity without harming the environment.
“Overconsumption and pollution is at the forefront of my mind,” she says. “The amount of greenwashing happening by brands just isn’t good enough.
“I have no interest in doing large runs. We will produce small amounts, and if there’s demand for more then we can make more. I’m not interested in having any deadstock or wastage.”
Zone by Lydia hemp apparel is sustainably and eco-consciously made in China at Hemp Fortex.
“Hemp Fortex makes a lot of sustainable fibres including organic cotton, hemp and yak,” Lydia says. “Hemp Fortex grows its own hemp in the mountains of Northern China and has implemented clean energy across all of its offices and factories.”
In fact, it was hemp fabric that inspired Lydia to move into apparel in the first place.
“I’m not in fashion and have never designed clothes before, but reading about and discovering hemp and its properties really inspired me to want to do something with this amazing fabric,” she says. “It had me questioning why people aren’t using hemp more, specifically for textiles and activewear.
“Not only is the hemp plant incredible and its uses are wide and varied, but it is the most ancient recorded textile ever used, and was the textile of choice until cotton and synthetics.
“Unfortunately, when the cotton and synthetic industries came onto the scene, they completely wiped out the hemp industry by associating it with pot and marjuana, which is a different kind of cannabis containing high levels of THC. This smear campaign associated anything made from hemp with making you high, which is completely untrue.”
But if ZONE by Lydia has anything to do with it, hemp will be making a comeback.
“Hemp can be harvested three times a year and can be grown with very little water,” she explains. “It’s an incredible carbon dioxide sequester, absorbing four times more carbon dioxide than trees, and it doesn’t need pesticides or insecticides to grow, making it completely organic and a great soil regenerator as it feeds nutrients back into the soil.
“Hemp fibre is eight times stronger than cotton and uses significantly less water, has amazing antibacterial properties, is really breathable and gets softer with every wash – all things that are great for people with allergies and skin sensitivities. I’ve also been sweat-testing it and putting it through its paces, and I’ve found it doesn’t hold onto odor compared to synthetic fabrics such as polyester.”
It all adds up to ZONE by Lydia being a brand for anyone looking for quality, sustainable pieces that have a multi-purpose use as activewear or street wear.
“As someone who has lived in activewear my whole life it made the most sense to create a range of things that will get everyday use and are created to be active in. Things like track pants, bike shorts, hoodies, tanks and t-shirts,” Lydia says.
“Knowing how much people wear comfy clothing solidified this choice and we’ve kept the designs very simple, gender neutral and with comfort at the centre. The branding isn’t too loud either, so these pieces should act as a gentle reminder to stay present and find your zone.
“This means that the products really are for everybody. Right now our sizing is limited and we want to acknowledge that. We made that choice for our first run as we wanted to test the designs and the market first but then we will be venturing into larger sizes and perhaps kids sizes as well.”
Taking it one step further, ZONE by Lydia had some non-negotiables when it comes to reducing waste in its business from the very start and continues to champion these things to this day.
“There are zero plastics in any of our products, we use compostable poly bags and our swing tags are all biodegradable. As a natural fibre our hemp clothes are also compostable and will go back into the earth,” Lydia says.
"As a natural fibre our hemp clothes are also compostable and will go back into the earth. We have signed on with Carbon Neutral, which has been a great process, while we think there is so much more that can be done on this front, being a small business you have to start somewhere."
“Carbon Neutral works in conjunction with 1% for the Planet, so this enables us to invest in the right kind of initiatives, including investing in a lot of forestry products and soil regeneration.”
Moving forward Lydia hopes to continue to increase the brand’s sustainability.
“When developing our next run, I am really interested in deadstock. Offcuts are difficult to repurpose but rolls and rolls or deadstock should be used not being dumped. I would ideally like to purchase dead stock of the fabric I want to be using, hopefully in a natural colour and then we can garment dye it in Australia,” she says.
“We are currently working with a Melbourne-based manufacturer in the hopes of moving our manufacturing to Australia.”
You can shop the ZONE by Lydia pieces here and begin the journey to finding your ‘zone’.
This article was produced in partnership with Britt's List.