Dina Chavez: founder of SixChel
Watch out world, there's a new ethical brand on the scene! SixChel is launching soon and I'm so excited to introduce you to the woman behind it.With a deep personal motivation for eco-friendly fashion, Dina is ready to launch an amazing line of clothing into the marketplace. I think you'll be as inspired by her story as I am...
Share a little of your personal background
I am a single, 30-something year old living her dream of making clothes with a purpose for today’s modern woman. I studied Costume Design at The University of Texas at Austin and Fashion Design at The Academy of Art University. SixChel was created and inspired in Austin, TX and I am very proud to work with a great group of talentedpeople in the ATX Fashion Community. I do not have children, but I do have 1 nephew who is like a son to me and I have 1 fur baby, an American Cocker Spaniel named Sophie.
Having worked in fashion, what's something you wish more consumers understood about the industry?
Today’s fashion industry has evolved into what we know as fast-fashion, which is the trendiest trends available as soon as the hottest celebrity wears them and at the lowest cost possible. In essence, for any hard working woman, this sounds like the best creation ever. However, fast-fashion is bad for our environment, garment workers and our health. Man made fabrics, which are mostly used such as polyester, spandex, rayon, etc, are traditionally easier to produce, easier to dye and cheaper to make. What we as consumers are not told is that these fabrics are toxic. The chemicals used to dye the fabrics and make the fabrics are getting into our bodies, our water and our food. Working conditions in the factories that produce fast-fashion is poor with extremely low wages. Workers for the most part, are being mistreated causing health hazards and often times, death.
What was your inspiration for SixChel?
I was inspired to create SixChel by my own life and the women that are in it. Sustainable clothes, ethical practices and slow-fashion has always interested me and it was difficult to find clothes that fit my style and were eco-friendly. As I was developing SixChel and testing the market, life happened, my sister was diagnosed with cancer and eventually lost the battle. It was during this time that I became more educated with how the chemicals in our clothes are toxic and can be linked to terminal illnesses. I knew I could not ignore this and had to do my part to make a difference the best way I knew how, which was in the fashion industry. This is the main reason SixChel is made from the finest sustainable fabrics and working to become as eco-friendly as a fashion brand can be.
What do you think will set SixChel apart from other brands?
SixChel is an ever evolving fashion brand. We, too are learning about sustainability and ethical practices and as we become more evolved in these arenas, we hope to pass the knowledge along with great products to help you live the eco-friendly life style. We also encourage customer feedback because if we know what styles and/or fabrics the consumer is wanting, we can do our best to design and produce such products. SixChel is also dedicated to woman empowerment and encouraging self-confidence in your beauty. Working in the industry for as many years as I have, I have witnessed how the fashion industry has made us second guess our beauty and our worth. I have met too many beautiful women, a lot who are models, with no confidence and constantly criticizing themselves. I look at these women and wish they could see what I and many others see, that they are gorgeous as they are.
Do you have a favorite piece from the collection?
I have two favorite pieces from this collection. The first is the dress which is made out of a light weight twill that moves with ease for a feminine look. The fabric is enzyme washed which adds a soft touch to the dress for comfort. The back of the dress has an opening that allows for a taste of sexiness. The ties at the back of the neck are made from vegan leather to introduce the element of strength that all women have. My other favorite piece is the vegan leather, cropped pants. These high-waist pants are made from a very thin, soft and lined vegan leather and they have pockets!
Can you identify any major obstacles you've had to overcome in the endeavor? How did you get past them?
When my sister was diagnosed with cancer, I became her primary care giver. If anyone has been given this responsibility, they know the stress, fatigue and frustration that goes along with it. After, her passing, I rearranged my life to help raise her son. For a few moments, it felt that my dreams and my career in fashion were being taken away from me along with my sister. However, with a great network of supporters, friends and family and my unwillingness to not give up, I persisted and found a way to continue my fashion line and career. I will honestly say it has not been as easy as it sounds and I was fortunate to be given the means to create a great group of networking professionals that have given me encouragement and great resources to help me through this moment in my life. Reading blogs from other female entrepreneurs and discovering that they, too have had struggles, has helped to give me the mentality to always put any situation into perspective. I am grateful for every day I have been given to continue living my dream.
What does a typical day look like for you?
By nature, I am a night owl, so I tend to wake up not so early in the morning or what most people would call, “late.” To me, it is important to have a great morning in order to have a long and productive work day. The day for me has to start with a smoothy that I make mixing fresh fruit with an array of minerals and vitamins. This is followed by a quick walk with my fur baby, Sophie and my daily work out. After breakfast and a shower, I work in front of my computer or in my studio and depending on what deadlines are looming, I work until 7 in the evening or if needed, I push myself into the wee-hours of the morning.
Describe your personal style
My personal style is anything black and not, too girly. I don’t like bows and I don’t like hearts. Others have described my look as rocker chic, but I like to think that I will wear anything black that is NOT the trend of the hour. I have discovered that most of the time, I am the example of 2 extremes. I lived in Austin for so many years and still work inAustin so comfort and a relaxed look is key. However, I am of Mexican decent and we have the tendency to dress up for any occasion, therefore, I tend to mix comfort and elegance for my personal style. In essence, I would describe it as comfortable chic in all black and great jewelry. You can definitely find me wearing a cocktail ring.
What's been the most rewarding part of founding SixChel?
The most rewarding part of SixChel has been when women tell me they love the styles of our clothes and that they are comfortable to wear. To me, this is the best compliment that can be told. The whole goal of SixChel is to make collections that women will enjoy to wear because they love the look and feel of the clothes.
In an ideal world, where would you like to see the brand in 5 years?
In 5 years, SixChel will have a brick and mortar boutique and designer show room that will not only sell my sustainable and ethical fashions, but other labels as well. It is extremely important to me to support other sustainable and ethical fashion lines especially if run by a woman. The show room will display garments and gowns that can be custom made. I started out working under my own name creating custom gowns and dresses and this, too is an exciting and inspiring part of being a fashion designer that I absolutely love doing.
Anything else you would like to share?
SixChel will launch the first sustainable and vegan Capsule Collection later in May on Kickstarter. You will be able to pre-order any piece of the Capsule Collection, a combination of the pieces and/or have the opportunity to back SixChel. All of our products are Made in USA, specifically Brooklyn, NY. Please, join us by signing up to receive our newsletter via our website, www.sixchelbydinachavez.com and find out more about SixChel and our upcoming launch!
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