The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the career paths of so many people. Some resorted to full-time remote work, while others realized their true calling, whether it was in the medical field, in the arts, or something else.
Rachel Rothenberg-Saenz and Alexandra Baylis, for example, went from designing Oscar de la Renta to crafting sustainable, sophisticated scrubs.
The company, called Welles, is officially launching Oct. 25. It was launched to help frontline workers feel good about themselves, providing them with both stylish and planet-friendly work 'fits. Rothenberg-Saenz and Baylis had met as department heads at Oscar de la Renta in 2017, and in 2020, felt compelled to do something philanthropic.
After creating the non-profit charity, Garment District for Gowns, and later a reusable PPE company, GOLDATECH. Then, two decided to launch Welles.
"With Welles, Rachel and Alex are on a mission to usher in the next generation of uniforms, starting with scrubs, and recasted as ‘purpose wear,'" reads a press release sent to Green Matters, just ahead of the launch.
"Welles is setting out to reset industry criterion with a brand that’s built with purpose and fueled by intention."
Oscar de la Renta designers pivot to designing sustainable, stylish scrubs.
Rothenberg-Saenz's and Baylis' new company, Welles, makes scrubs from biodegradable materials. The material in question, called Terral-X, is an eco-polyester that's derived from ocean-bound plastic. It wicks away moisture, while keeping you comfortable with soft and stretchy natural materials.
The antimicrobial finish is odor-resistant, too, for those extra long shifts — and even though it isn't stain-resistant, it is PFAS-free — which we'll take over stain-resistance any day.
The scrubs themselves are going to be available in a wide range of styles and colors, with options that will keep everybody comfortable, throughout the year.
As previously mentioned, the company will officially be launching on Oct. 25. By sometime next year, the founders hope to launch a closed loop system, to allow customers to send in old Welles pieces, so they can be recycled into something totally new.
The brand also uses reusable bio-based compostable packaging, and it's a member of 1 Percent For the Planet. Its factories are OEKO-TEX certified, and with factory locations across the U.S., Asia, and Central America, each agree to fair labor laws, and commit to high standards for their employees — that includes childcare, transportation, and career advancement opportunities.
More sustainable scrubs, for all your frontline worker needs:
If you work in a clinic, hospital, or doctor's office, chances are you need a few sets. In addition to Welles, we have a list of sustainable and high quality scrubs you may want to consider adding to your collection.
Portland-based LAGO is another that offers well-designed, durable, and comfortable scrubs that are made from breathable fabrics. The brand was also launched by a former big name designer, from Nike. The line offers a wide range of colors, and everything comes in sustainable packaging.
Finally, another company Mediclo offers a collection called Tree Edition — everything in the line is made from sustainably-sourced TENCEL Lyocell, and customers love the giant, functional pockets on each piece.