In episode 97, Kestrel welcomes Kelly Wang Shanahan, the founder of The Ziran, to the show. A Los Angeles-based label which offers a new line of luxury silks, The Ziran's mission is to weave tradition into the modern world, leading a new generation to live the Ziran way: natural, spontaneous, and free.

"Fashion is important and it's not only a physical reflection of how you perceive yourself, but also how you want to be perceived. Otherwise we would walk out of the house naked every day. So, every time you put on a piece of clothing, you're making a choice and there aren't a lot of things other than eating food that you choose to do every single day." 
-Kelly Wang Shanahan, founder of The Ziran


Throughout this episode, Kelly shares insight into the cultural history connected to xiang yun sha silk, and the extensive process behind its creation. Kestrel and Kelly also discuss the pros and cons of manufacturing in Los Angeles, and the challenges that come with building a new luxury label. 

The below thoughts, ideas + organizations were brought up in this chat:

  • Fashion Institute Of Design & Merchandising, where Kelly studied
  • Libertine, LA-based label Kelly worked for in the past
  • Ziran: in Daoist philosophy, ziran means natural, spontaneous and free, pushing away outside influence + and being authentic to yourself
  • Xiang Yun Sha Silk: translates to "perfumed cloud clothing" - it started in the Ming Dynasty in a small region in southern China, and it was made for the elite + wealthy
  • The Ziran Way Film (full length coming soon), a documentation of more of the process behind xiang yun sha silk


  • It's made using all natural and sustainable ingredients
  • It's only made in the south of China in one small region
  • It's only made 4 months out of the year during the summer when the sun is the hottest
  • It's dyed up to 30 times, and then coated with iron-rich mud
  • The combination of the tannins, the dye and the iron in the mud create a chemical reaction and change the composition of the silk - making it wrinkle resistant and antimicrobial
  • It's a type of peace silk

As mentioned in the introduction, if interested, you can check out CO (Common Objective)'s new report, Why Do Fashion Better: The Facts You Need To Succeed Sustainably In Fashion.

Thanks for listening! Subscribe, download, and leave a review for Conscious Chatter on any of the below audio platforms. <3 Kestrel