Over the last few years, I’ve been slowly rebuilding my wardrobe, buying significantly less and choosing better – making sure that each piece I invest in will have a good, useful life in my daily routine. When I discovered Shaina Mote, with its clean lines and modern sensibility, I carefully added a piece of hers to my wardrobe. A pair of Nadir denim is my first piece of Shaina’s and will no doubt be the last. These are clothes that disavow trends and are built to last.

Designer Shaina Mote is likely the best ambassador for her eponymous line of clothes. Discreet, unassuming, and with an exacting eye for detail, she is the embodiment of her creations, the by-product of a short-lived experience with fast fashion. After working as a buyer for a trend-driven, fast fashion company and being dismayed at the unsustainable practices common to the industry, Shaina started her own company. Shaina Mote’s clothes are the antithesis of mass production – collections are centered around a commitment to fair production. Over the years, she has built relationships with family-run contractors and local craftsmen in Los Angeles. Each stitch, French seam, and bias cut is crafted by a person she knows personally. Fabrics are sustainably sourced, from eucalyptus-derived Tencel to organic cotton poplin.

Aesthetically, Shaina’s pieces are reminiscent of ’90s chic utilitarian minimalism. There is purpose to every detail; even seemingly decorative elements serve a function, like a tie around the waist. Of special note is the way Shaina builds her collections – there are the requisite seasonal ones but there is also what she calls “The Essentials,” a core wardrobe of versatile pieces that work throughout the year. From the aforementioned Nadir pant, a pair of black denim wide-legged trousers that can be casual when paired with a slouchy linen tee or event-ready with a quick change of top, to the caftan-like stylings of the Avignon dress, with a clean structure that imagines itself as equally appropriate in a design office or on a weekend by the sea, each piece from this collection presents a strong case for the modern uniform.

Here, a chat with Shaina on the challenges of running a sustainable business and her favorite spots in Japan from her last visit.

Shaina Mote’s SS19 and Essentials collection will be available at pop-up event, Feel Good Market, on May 18- May 19 at TFC Showroom.