A note from your friend, founder, and designer Mary Symczak.
I have spent the past 12 years working in different capacities in the fashion industry, from being a full time intern at Oscar de la Renta at age 18, learning about textiles at Calvin Klein Collection, learning about patternmaking under the incredibly talented patternmakers at The Row, helping a small business grow at Trademark, to designing small leather goods at Marc Jacobs. I came to the conclusion that while there is so much to admire and learn in this industry, I cannot stand behind the methods, lifestyles, or attitudes that currently reign in most fashion companies both large and small. Pollution and waste are a given, people's lives and health are disregarded (from factory workers to creative directors) and women continue to be told what to wear by men who have no idea what it means to be a woman (not you, Oscar, RIP).
In response to this, I have tried to do as much research as possible into more sustainable methods of creating beautiful clothing for women. In 2009 I spent a two months on a cashmere goat farm learning about the roots of the fiber quality, and how much work goes into producing enough cashmere for a single scarf. Throughout all of my schooling at FIT, and ever since, I researched the origins of different fibers and their impact on the environment, and have explored designing with no-waste methods in my free time.
Now I am excited to fully dedicate my work to sustainable and ethical fashion with this humble brand. I hope to improve every season with different innovations, partnerships, and ideas. For whatever reason, something compels me to care about making clothes more than anything, so SUSAN is my attempt to do so in a way that not only lets me sleep at night, but lets my customers sleep at night too.
A while ago I took part in a discussion with friends and family on the topic of women taking their husbands' names in marriage, and how it might be seen now as an outdated tradition based on patriarchal ownership that should be replaced with a new more equal practice. It got me thinking about what I would change my name to, to create a new tradition.
I thought about this long and hard, and decided if I changed my last name, it would be to SUSAN, which is my Mother's first name. This is not a reflection of my relationship with my father, whom I loved dearly, but a declaration of my intent for history to start equally honoring the matriarchy. It is also one of the few female names not derived from a male name. (It's derived from the Hebrew word for lily, which happened to be my great grandmother's name).
When I started a womenswear collection, it was the obvious choice.