Why Organic Cotton Matters
Hyde is an organic cotton yoga apparel line made in the USA by entrepreneurs A.K. L’Heureux and Brook Cosby. With sustainable manufacturing practices and a mouth-watering line of durable and fashionable yoga clothing, Hyde embodies the slow living lifestyle principles and proposes a responsible consumption model.
This interview starts our newest section, Beginners in New York, with which we want to inspire you with strong female role models, empowering ideas, life-changing companies, and the stories of all those who have been impacted by living in New York City in a way or another. We sincerely hope you enjoy it, and please give a warm welcome to A.K. L’ Heureux and Brook Cosby, who have a lot to say about organic cotton!
Why and when did you start your organic cotton yoga apparel line?
A.K. L’Heureux: I discovered yoga after a running injury forced me to slow down. At the time, well-made and tasteful yoga pants were hard to find and nearly impossible to find again for a repeat purchase. And “sustainable fashion” wasn’t yet on anyone’s radar. So in 2005, I created the Hyde collection to give style-minded, eco-conscious yogis like myself a resource for their practice.
What made you decide to manufacture your pieces in the USA?
A.K.L.H.: Making our pieces in the USA reflects our eco-friendly mission. The environmental impact of goods traveling around the globe is incredibly taxing. At first based in New York, Hyde is now located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and our factory is in Los Angeles, allowing us to keep a close eye on production quality.
What is organic cotton?
Brook Cosby: Organic cotton is a textile fiber grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And for a cotton to be designated “organic,” it cannot be grown from genetically engineered seeds, per Federal regulation.
In what way can organic cotton impact consumers and the environment?
A.K.L.H.: Growing cotton organically helps the earth in myriad ways. The irrigation runoff from organic cotton fields is not contaminated with insecticides and other chemicals, so both surface and groundwater reserves are replenished with clean water. Clean runoff also conserves biodiversity by allowing multiple insect species to thrive during the growing season. And in addition, organic cotton farming creates a higher content of organic matter in the soil which increases topsoil depth and leads to considerably less soil erosion.
The benefits of organic cotton for consumers are a little less obvious or immediate than, say, those of organic vegetables. Because it’s a crop that ends up on your body — not in! But the importance is no less real. Organic cotton offers a softer, smoother hand feel because it hasn’t been treated with harsh chemicals. And it offers peace of mind, knowing that you’ve made a sustainable, earth-friendly purchasing choice.
People sometimes ask us if we aspire to cross over into the luxury market, as many athleisure styles are now finding themselves on the runway and red carpet. In a sense we believe we already are, since the ultimate luxury is a clear conscience.
What type of dyes do you use in your pieces? Do you have any certifications, such as Oeko-TEX?
B.C.: Our organic cotton is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and we dye our colors with the globally recognized bluesign® system, a process that eliminates harmful substances from textile dyeing and ensures environmentally friendly production.
Do you design your organic cotton pieces with yogis and non-yogis in mind?
A.K.L.H.: Hyde began with a “by yogis, for yogis” mindset, but as we and the collection continues to evolve, so has our definition of yoga. Yes the clothes are designed to support you for an in depth physical practice: getting upside down, balancing, twisting and more. But yoga is more than physical: it’s the quality of mind in balance. So on days where yoga means managing the demands of work, family and everything else — and your mat is nowhere in sight — the comfort and ease of Hyde pieces are there for you.
Keep it Simple, Sister! (A.K. L’ Heureux)
Your brand has definitely a slow-living mindset. What does slow living mean to you?
B.C.: The concept of “slow living” resonates with us because it echoes the teachings of yoga and meditation: be here now. Reminding and allowing ourselves to be with what is — not what was, could be, should be, etc. — is maybe the most valuable lesson of the yoga practice. When we slow down and stay with the breath, whether in a challenging yoga pose or challenging life moment, we have the opportunity to realize contentment and compassion in the midst of adversity. Is there anything more valuable than that?
How do you include your intentionality in your creation process?
A.K.L.H.: Easeful, eco-friendly elegance is the intention driving all of our designs. If we ever find ourselves struggling too hard to make something work, it’s a sign that we’re on the wrong track. What’s the old saying? Keep It Simple… Sister.
Which are Hyde’s organic cotton bestsellers?
A.K.L.H.: The Taylor Tank, a modest scoop neckline with playful criss cross straps, has been our top selling tank for over five years now. The Taylor is a great example of what we strive for: a streamlined look with special detail.
The Divine Drawstring Pant has been our top selling pant since day one. Even when we introduced more contemporary leggings, demand for the Drawstring persisted. So much so that we are launching a new and improved version this Fall.