I think it’s safe to say that life doesn’t always work out exactly how we want it to, in recent years this sometimes harsh reality has felt clearer than ever before. Difficult times can affect us in many different ways, but for one woman it has been the driving force that lead her to seek out positive change in her sphere of influence, the world of fashion.
Let me introduce you to SixChel, a fashion brand based in Austin, Texas, with a focus on sustainability, feminine style and durability. Each piece in their capsule collection is designed to be both unique and luxurious and easy to wear every day comfortably. SixChel is committed to clothes with a purpose: using slow fashion principles, ethical working conditions (everything is cut and sewn in New York) and sustainable fabrics, and constantly growing in knowledge and outworking of a sustainable business model. Whilst all of these things are amazing as they are, that’s only half the story. The very idea for SixChel, and the brand’s overriding messages of empowerment, positivity and self love, came in the wake of great personal loss, and prove just how strong women can be.
The story of SixChel begins with its creator, Dina Chavez. Trained in both costume and fashion design, Dina has been making strides in the fashion world for the last ten years. She spent years building her own fashion label from the ground up, has shown her looks across America at events like New York Fashion week, and has even created Grammy looks for Texas musicians, however a family tragedy caused her to reevaluate every area of her life and work. With even experts unable to understand the sudden and sad situation, Dina was left feeling powerless, confused and without hope.
This could have been where the story ends, but it isn’t. Instead of giving in, Dina used her experience as motivation for improving the environment around her in the ways that she could. She took her pain, and turned it into power. While she couldn’t become a scientist, and she couldn’t find an answer for why tragedy hit her family, she could use the talents she already had as a force for good. She knew she had to try to improve the world the best way she knew how, through fashion. After working in fashion for so many years she knew the huge pollution caused by the industry, both harmful for the earth and people on it, and decided she no longer wanted to contribute to the toxins created by fast fashion. She closed her company and spent the next year creating and building a new brand to operate as ethically, sustainably and positively as possible.
To get her ideas off the ground Dina worked with Factory 45, a sustainable fashion accelerator that helps entrepreneurs take the idea for an ethical fashion brand from idea to fully fledged business. Through embarking on their program she learned both about sustainable fabrics in depth, both their benefits and their limitations. After much deliberation she first settled on Tencel, one of the most sustainable fabrics on the market, as well as hemp, organic cotton and vegan leather. Combining these fabrics SixChel’s collection contains a diverse collection of flowing, feminine silhouettes juxtaposed with stronger, edgier shapes that celebrate the multifaceted nature of women. As SixChel grows, Dina plans to continually research and grow the brand’s knowledge of the ethical and sustainable industry, so they can remain at the forefront of brands learning about, and utilising, new sustainable fabrics that are being developed.
As well as earth consciousness, SixChel also has a focus on body positivity, aiming to change the negative connotations the fashion industry can create around women. Having worked with a huge variety of women in the industry, Dina has seen first hand the self consciousness and lack of self worth women can so often feel about their bodies and appearance. In order to sell something the beauty and fashion industry so often focuses on telling women what they’re missing, how they aren’t good enough, and what they can purchase to somehow be better. SixChel is instead designed to be a positive force for women. Instead of saying women aren’t good enough, that they should act, think or dress in certain ways, SixChel wants to celebrate women exactly as they are. They believe in championing body positivity and diversity, celebrating the beauty, strength and fabulousness of women by creating a positive and acceptable environment for all women to feel comfortable in their bodies. SixChel’s clothes will be produced in a wide range of sizes, with designs that flatter a range of body shapes, so their combination of comfort, sustainability and style can be used by all. As Dina told me… ‘We should be recognised for our uniqueness, all the greatness that we are and the power and strength we possess within ourselves’
Dina knows first hand the power and strength that is often required to be a woman in this world, it’s this that she managed to harness within herself to create SixChel. At a time when she felt hopeless and lost, when she could’ve given up for good, she instead used this as a drive to create the future she wants to see. She believes all women should recognise and celebrate this same power within themselves. Ultimately, Dina dreams for SixChel is to be a fashion brand that women are proud to own, wear and be a part of. To create clothes that women can put on in the morning to remind themselves just how beautiful and badass they really are. And on the business side, her goal is to one day have a Studio-Showroom where they can support other sustainable brands.
Ultimately everything Dina does is designed to support, encourage and inspire; whether it be women, the earth or the wider ethical industry. When you add beautiful designs to the mix what’s not to love?
SixChel has just launched it’s first sustainable, USA-made Capsule Collection this week, and they need your help to raise the funds! Go show their kickstarter some love and support strong women here.
Until next time, stay magic y’all.