Vendor Spotlight: Ziran

Kelly Wang Shanahan (founder)

Meet Kelly Wang Shanahan, founder of Ziran, a sustainable, high quality silk clothing line based on cultural heritage, purpose and storytelling. Ziran uses a special silk known as Xiang Yun Sha, which translates to “perfumed cloud clothing.” The same process has been used to produce this type of silk for over 500 years in one small village in southern China. Ziran seeks to preserve and honor this ancient silk-making tradition for the next generation.

After becoming disillusioned with the luxury fashion industry and its waste, fast fashion mentality, and lack of purpose, Kelly founded Ziran in 2016. While researching ancient Chinese techniques in college, she discovered xiang yun sha silk and instantly fell in love with it’s cultural significance and luxurious beauty.

photo by Kanya Iwana

What's something you're very proud of in your business?

I am very proud that we’ve blended our Chinese and American heritage to create a brand that’s founded on purpose, storytelling, sustainability, and cultural heritage. Though we are apart of the superficial, wasteful, and profit-driven fashion industry, we’ve still remained authentic to our core mission and try to operate as transparently and responsibly as possible. We’ve helped preserve and protect an ancient craft of silk-making while opening and sharing this sacred tradition to a whole new and young audience of conscious people!

“This silk is the physical embodiment of the meaning of Ziran: natural, spontaneous and free. ”

-Kelly Wang Shanahan

photos by Crys Lee and Kanya Iwana

What snack or food makes you think about your childhood?

Hands down making dumplings with my mom and sister. We roll “jiaozi” together for special occasions, like birthdays and New Years. Sitting around the table, scooping up the filling, and wrapping them together reminds me of my roots, laughing, fighting, and love.

What's something customers may not realize about operating a small business?

That operating a small business - and trying to be as sustainable and conscious as possible - is expensive and time consuming. It is harder to do things right than do them quick and easy. Being intentional means slowing down too - which is why our products take longer to make. To be patient and understand that we wear many hats and are juggling many different elements of the business. But this is what makes small businesses special! We customize and offer products no one else has :)

︎ @theziran
images via Ziran,
Kanya Iwana and Crys Lee