Ashley of Azura Bay (Maine Interview)

I first found out about Azura Bay, an online ethical lingerie and loungewear retailer through a pop-up hosted by a fellow ethical enthusiast here in Calgary. I had been on the hunt for new bras and underwear, and didn't want to have to compromise my values just to find things that I wear every day. Azura Bay stocks a whole bunch of different ethical brands, allowing you to shop all your essentials on one website. 

There are lots of things I love about Azura Bay, but one of the major things is that it is run by an incredible woman, Ashley. Because I always love talking to inspiring women, I asked Ashley a few questions. 

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1. Why did you start Azura Bay?

While I was in University for business, and volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages, I was frustrated that Fair Trade wasn’t just a global standard for business and I wanted to work in the space somehow. I was having a hard time finding fair trade or ethically sourced items for my closet, especially for underwear and swimwear, so I thought I'd curate a boutique to help other women save time and have one beautiful, easy place to shop. I vet the items foremost for ethical production, as well as style, comfort/fit, and the use eco fabrics as much as possible. 

2. Why is buying ethically important to you?

I simply just don't think it's fair to put anyone in the situation that many garment workers face (mostly women, over 80% according to Fashion Revolution Org., and sadly, includes many children). It's a complicated situation to fix due to the insane levels of subcontracting, etc. in the supply chains, but we can do so much by voting with our dollars and asking brands for transparency - which is what I strive to provide as much of as possible for my customers. 

3. Describe your style in 4 words. 

Feminine, classic (hopefully), comfy, and a little bit sexy. I can’t resist lace details!

3. Who is the woman that most inspires you?

Ah, picking one is so tough!! My mom, sister, and friends inspire me daily. So many of my brands are run by amazing women, as are all the stylists, photographers, web programmers, influencers, and bloggers I've worked with. Safia Minney, who founded The People Tree fair trade label and World Fair Trade day is a huge inspiration and her book Naked Fashion was one of the first books I read about the issues in the fashion industry. The two things I see in all of these women that I want to embody is fearlessness and kindness.

4. What makes you feel the most confident and/or empowered?

Working out in any way, but I've figure skated my whole life and it always makes me feel great. Even when I have moments of being self-conscious about my body, I remind myself to be proud of what my body can do, and that helps me shrug off those silly insecure moments that we all get. Also, working in this ethical and eco industry makes me feel so confident and empowered every day because everyone is so happy to work together to bring each other up, break through the status quo of old beauty standards, ensure safe and ethical work environments for people around the world and help women feel beautiful everyday. 

5. What is your favourite item that you carry? 

As I write this, I’m wearing my PACT organic jogger pants that I’ve been living in since I got them! (There is a restock coming soon for anyone who can't find their size!) I also love PACT’s organic cotton thongs for working out in, the Trenta lace thongs for after, and Mia Racerback Bra for a pretty + comfy eco everyday bra.

For the holiday season, I tried out some pajamas Ashley carries on Azura Bay. I was originally going to wear them for a couple of days to see how I liked them, but its been over a week now, and I've basically lived in them. They are hands down the softest PJ's I've ever worn. I never used to own 'designated' PJ's. I would just throw on a baggy t-shirt and shorts, but I realized because I only wear loungewear around the house, I always felt like an unpresentable mess. These are the opposite, where I don't feel like I'm a shapeless blob, and instead feel good about myself even when lounging around the house. I realize that beauty and self-worth can't come from clothing, but I definitely believe that clothing can help us see ourselves in a more beautiful way. 

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So, if you need new loungewear, I recommend investing in pieces from Azura Bay. While products will never define you, and you don't need to buy clothes to be beautiful, I know that the days where I feel the most like myself are days where I am wearing something ethically made, that supports other women, and that makes me feel like I can conquer the world (even in my PJs.) 

- Emilie. 

* This post does feature PJ's from Azura Bay that were given to me for review. *