As an undergrad at Montreal's LaSalle College, Tara St. James was once on the path to becoming a menswear designer. Following graduation, Tara went on to work in the denim industry before joining larger fashion brands both in Montreal and New York. But in 2009, the rising designer came to a startling realization while working at a popular street brand.
Frustrated with "fast fashion" and mass production, the Brooklyn-based designer sought out to create a line that focused less on a quick turnaround rate and more on sustainability. While the rigid structure of tailoring is what originally drew Tara toward menswear, it's something she still applies to her current work. Another principle she took away from her experience in menswear was "a disregard for trendy items, with a focus on craftsmanship and longevity of wear"--both elements found in Study, her sustainable womenswear label born out of her desire to create and deliver something with more meaning behind it.
Specializing in "seasonless" clothing, Study prides itself in delivering locally made pieces that do not subscribe to a traditional fashion calendar. Instead, Study provides monthly editions and develops a few new pieces for the months ahead. Motivated by a goal to create clothes for the individual, by the individual, Tara and her team believe what people wear should not only be well-made with quality materials, but that the hands behind the work should also be respected and cared for. In short, Tara only produces what she believes is beautiful and wanted.
A staunch supporter of sustainable design, Tara also finds time to contribute her philosophy and talent to several organizations such as The Uniform Project, a clothing-based fundraising project where she serves as fashion director, among others, in the hopes of promoting a more ethical and innovative approach to fashion.
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YNA Video Series: Studio Visits at Study NY from Young & Able on Vimeo.
Following a 12-year career with mainstream fashion companies, Tara St. James left behind everything to launch Study NY
in 2009. Its name, which often piques curiosity, was inspired by the lessons and growth acquired by starting her own line. While the line's initial focus was on seasonal manufacturing techniques--knitting, dyeing, weaving, etc--Tara eventually decided she wanted to specialize in "seasonless" clothing. Every collection these days is motivated strictly by what she feels is needed or missing on the market and by what her consumers are demanding but not being able to find elsewhere as she explains in this exclusive behind-the-scenes clip.