Julia Ahrens is a designer and founder of the eco-friendly vegan clothing line Miakoda. We love following her on Instagram (@miakodanewyork) because she frequently posts selfies showing us all the fabulous ways to rock her slouchy pants while climbing trees, doing yoga in a meadow, standing in her apartment or on a cliff, stomping through the snow or walking on the beach. Julia’s fun and creative spirit easily translates into her comfortable and versatile sustainable attire, which she describes as slouchy, relaxed silhouettes in neutral and clean colors.
A graduate from Parsons The New School for Design, Julia has worked and interned for various designers such as Zac Posen and Club Monaco but struck out on her own to create a line that applies her vegan and ahimsa (cause no injury, do no harm) lifestyle. Julia wants to offer consumers ethical clothing that allows them to look, feel and do good.
Designs for Miakoda start in Julia’s minimalist studio, which has white walls, wooden floors and an inspiration board with photos, mostly of nature. Each design starts out in Julia’s imagination, sometimes translated from doodles in her sketch book (like her dot and dashes A line dress and shorts). Next she integrates materials such as organic cotton, bamboo and other ethically sourced materials that are safe for consumers, workers and the planet. Julia’s designs are then produced in an eco-friendly factory in NYC. This allows Julia to visit the factory regularly and ensure that the environment is clean, safe and that workers are treated fairly. It also means that she can offer transparency and confidently assure her customers on the quality and sustainability of her pieces. “Transparency holds us accountable,” Julia says. “It gives proof that companies are doing the good they say they are doing.”
Julia’s well constructed pieces are as lovely as they are mindfully created. Each is designed with elements of wanderlust, comfort, luxury and without harmful dyes and chemicals. Each piece is created with consideration for consumers, workers and the planet, triggered by Julia’s admiration for the world and an understanding that unfair labor practices detriment lives.
“The more I travel, the more I meet different people from all different cultures and walks of life,” Julia says. “It reminds me how we are all one and how important it is to treat all humans equally and fairly — a $5 shirt isn’t worth unfair labor practices that are detrimental to the life of another person.”
Julia says the Miakoda spring and summer collection is inspired by the rocky beaches of eastern Long Island. Her favorite piece in the collection is the circle shirt. She wanted to create a piece that incorporates the roundness and fluidness of the elements of the beach without being unflattering to the human body. “When laid flat the shirt looks like a circle — reminiscent of the pebbles on the beach,” Julia says. “When on the body, the shirt looks fluid and has tons of movement, just like the ocean.”
See more of Julia’s comfort + luxury pieces here.