If there’s one word that sums up designer and mom of 3 Emily Gray, it’s WOKE… about the environment. She cares, like deeply, genuinely cares, about preserving this planet for our children, starting with her minimalistic kid’s clothing line, Gray Label: a beautiful basics brand that truly lives and breathes sustainability, from production to packaging to the garments themselves. We chat with Emily on all things green (including that hard-earned GOTS certification!), get the story behind her new Gray Label neck tat, plus find out what it’s like raising kids in Ibiza verse Amsterdam. Ah, the dream, right?
Q: Describe Gray Label in a few words.
A: Minimal, soft, child and earth friendly wardrobe essentials.
Q: What’s your story, and how did you get started in kid’s fashion?
A: When I got pregnant with my son Beer (9.5 years ago) I wasn’t very impressed with what was offered in the Netherlands in terms of kid’s clothes. Everything was so loud, both the colors and the prints! While visiting Paris during that time I noticed the opposite there. Children and baby clothing expressed a sense of calmness, quality and warmth. That’s where the idea for Gray Label was initially born. I wanted to create a stylish, ecological and unisex label in which children could truly be their pure selves. No stigmas, just comfortable and minimalistic designs.
Q: Tell us about your creative process. Where and in what do you find inspiration for each collection?
A: Daily experiences, memories, my kids, magazines and city trips. I would love to travel more, but that will get easier once the kids grow older.
Q: Fostering creativity in kids is so important. How do you think a minimalist wardrobe like Gray Label contributes to that?
A: I have always thought that the less impact clothing makes on children, the more freedom their minds are allowed. Minimalistic clothing enables kids to express themselves through their personality rather than through their outfits. Also, comfortable and loose fitting clothes encourage movement and play. Children should be able to run or dance, whatever they feel like.
Q: All your clothes are made from 100% organic cotton (sooo soft!) and are GOTS certified. Why is being green so near and dear to you as a designer?
A: When I think about the future, having a “green” mind is unavoidable. Why not start with yourself? People look to designers and sellers, and I believe it’s our job as influencers to set a good example. I’m very happy more and more brands are following suit.
Q: Kids are the future and our planet literally depends on them! How do you teach your own brood to care about (and take care of) the environment?
A: We want to live our life with love, to feel grounded as a family, purposeful and happy with the little things. We’re becoming more and more health-conscious overall. We buy our food in natural food stores as much as we can, and we separate waste as much as possible. We also don’t shower as long as we used to. It’s really about being aware and not taking things for granted. I try to teach my kid to do the same.
Q: Okay, we have to ask…You have a Gray Label tattoo on the back of your neck! What’s the story behind it? Did it hurt?
A: Haha, yes. It was a pressie from my colleagues for my birthday. Gray Label forever! It didn’t hurt actually. It’s my first, and I think not the last…
Q: You’ve lived in some pretty epic places. What’s it like raising kids in Amsterdam verse Ibiza? Do you have a preference?
A: Raising kids in Ibiza is amazing. They spend a lot of time in nature or at the beach, and the safe and relaxed, slower paced vibe is really an advantage compared to the sometimes crazy, hectic Amsterdam. But I did believe that, at some stage, they needed to learn a bit more about what happens in “the real world”, since Ibiza can ultimately give you the feeling of living in a bubble. So yes, we went back. First to Amsterdam, which is a city where everything is possible and also great! When we returned, my daughter’s teachers complimented us on how Filippa (my daughter) had become so relaxed and open-minded. They said every child should live on Ibiza for a year! Now we actually live in a place close to Amsterdam, where we have a bit of both worlds: nature and the beach, but the city experience when we want to.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur so far?
A: Gaining the GOTS certification. This means we make everything meeting the highest standards of organic and social responsibilities, all through the production chain. We ensure people in the field are treated fairly and that we save water, energy and soil as best we can. We still have room to improve and continue to work on progressing the sustainable side of our brand.
Q: Fave brands to style Gray Label with?
A: Hmm…Gray Label combines so easy. Repose AMS, Lillu Kid, Bellerose, East End Highlanders, Waddler, Finger in the nose. And loads more!
Q: Fave womenswear brands?
A: Filippa K, KOKOON, Acne Studios, ARKET, COS
Q: Biggest Gray Label accomplishment to date?
A: Getting GOTS certified.
Q: First person you go to for business advice?
A: My husband.
Q: Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
A: Be patient.
Q: Any epic #momfail moments that stand out?
A: Pft, loads! One I will never forget is losing my daughter on the beach. The things that run through your mind during the search are horrific.
Q: If someone only knew you from social media, how would they describe your life/experience as an entrepreneur? If they could see the reality behind the scenes, what would they see instead?
There’s never a dull moment at Gray Label. Behind the scenes, it’s a bumpy ride with new challenges always waiting around the corner. We might express calmness, but in reality, there can be a lot of chaos too! Organization isn’t my strong suit so thank God I have such a great team. Everyone contributes in his or her own way and they all have their heart in it, which is something I find quite special.
Q: Favorite local store?
A: Marqt, an organic grocery store.
Q: Favorite local restaurant?
A: Brut de Mer. Amazing wines and seafood.
Q: Favorite local kid’s activity?
A: Beach walks are always a good idea.
Q: Fave Gray Label item right now?
A: Fisherman Trousers.
Q: Three fashion items you can’t live without?
A: White or black Tee, jeans & sneakers.
Q: What can we expect to see next from Gray Label? Any hints you can give us about the next collection?
A: We will be introducing some very exciting collabs…