While most people within the sustainable fashion community are passionate about creating change on a large scale to have the greatest impact, my reason began with the love of just one person.
My passion for sustainable fashion began 8 years ago as I looked for a reason to explain the “uncommon” cancer diagnosis given to my sister. I had spent years studying fashion and decades loving it. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that the fabric in the beautiful clothes I loved so much could be harmful. However, that was exactly what the research indicated. I discovered that the chemical compounds in polyester, other synthetic fibers and finishes used to modernize fabric for our fast-paced world, contained volatile substances that were linked to illnesses, such as cancer and other diseases. The most difficult realization was that many well-known and loved brands were aware of this harmful information, yet chose to keep their consumers in the dark about these dirty secrets, with no regard for their health and wellbeing.
I felt betrayed. How could the industry I loved so much have knowledge of this hazardous problem and not let their loyal customers know? It seemed like my only choice was to stop working in the fashion industry or just look the other way. I had to look deep into my soul, check my values and ask myself if I could consciously be part of the problem as a means to run a profitable business. Could I continue to work in an industry I knew was filled with harsh chemicals polluting our bodies and the Earth? Should I just forget about being a fashion designer and find another job? My answer was a simple, “no”. I would find a way to do what I love, and make the fashion I created a force for good. A decision was made, and SixChel became an ethical label that represented my values in which I could take pride. So while my sister was preparing for the hardest battle of her life, I began the journey of starting my own fashion label. It felt like one of those sappy, not very good Lifetime movies. My two worlds were colliding in a way I never saw coming.
After my sister’s passing 6 years ago, I slowly found the courage and strength to start living my purpose and pursue the dream my sister did not want me to forget, creating a fashion label. I knew that opportunity came with great responsibility so I made a commitment to creating clothes for women that would improve their lives—and do no harm. Often sustainable fashion (a.k.a. eco-friendly, organic, ethical fashion) can be perceived as too expensive, ‘granola’ or boring. But, I knew this didn’t have to be the case. There was a way to make stunning, sustainable clothing that appeals to a wider audience. And, I was going to be at the forefront of this movement with my fashion label.
So here I am today, the owner and designer of SixChel. We ethically produce sustainable clothes for women with purpose. Simply put, I am passionate about sustainable fashion because I believe addressing our basic need to wear clothes can be a fun and creative pursuit of expression; one that doesn’t harm people or the planet, but instead adds great value to our lives and to the lives of each person who contributes to making these special pieces.
How do you #wearyourvalues?