Today I’m happy to introduce the Haute in Texas community to Austin designer Dina Chavez! Dina is the founder and designer of SixChel, an ethical and sustainable fashion brand for the modern woman. She studied Costume Design at The University of Texas-Austin and Fashion Design at The Academy of Art University. Her designs have been shown at New York Fashion Week, Fashion X Austin, Fashion X Houston, Fashion X Dallas, The Pin Show (Dallas, TX), The Gotham City Films Studio (Los Angeles, CA) and have been created for Austin based rockstar, Kimberly Freeman for the Grammy Awards. Dina has been a rising star in Austin’s fashion scene for some time now, and SixChel will soon be launching its first sustainable Capsule Collection made in Brooklyn, NY! We recently sat down with Dina to find out more about her current inspirations and what it’s like to be a brand on the verge of superstar status.
Haute in Texas: Hi Dina! Thanks for chatting with us today. First off, how has Texas made an impact on how you view fashion?
Dina Chavez: Being raised and living in Texas, you learn one thing: it is hot. As a consumer and fashion lover, I have always read fashion magazines and envied the Fall/Winter collections that we as Texans rarely get to wear. However, I find it a fun challenge to design clothes that can be worn year round in Texas or can transition from cool to warm temperatures on those bipolar days; the days that start out being 50 degrees and by high noon it’s 90 degrees outside and now you’re sweating in your winter clothes. For example, in The Capsule Collection that will soon launch, there are a pair of vegan leather pants that I absolutely love. The vegan leather used to make these pants is thin and light weight, can be worn in the Spring and Summer and can equally be worn in the Fall and Winter seasons, especially with tights and/or a great pair of knee high boots.
HIT: Love that! Sustainable fashion is often a goal that people find difficult to actually implement. What are practical steps people can employ to make better purchases?
DC: It is not easy finding sustainable fashion in most retail stores and so it is understandable that people, even if interested, are turned off by the idea of sustainable fashion because it simply is just not easily available. However, there are brands out there and they are increasing in numbers almost daily. To start off, I would suggest to look for brands that sell their sustainable products on-line. There are a few on-line retailers that sell only sustainable, eco-friendly, vegan products such as Modavanti. http://modavanti.com These retailers are a great start to finding sustainable products and brands. I, too am at the beginning of becoming a conscious consumer and know it is definitely a work in progress, but the little we do, is a step in the right direction. The fun part about being a consumer, is that retailers actually pay attention to our buying habits and concerns. If we start buying sustainable/eco-friendly/vegan products, stores will want to put more of those types of products out there. Also, if you show interest in these products either by asking store managers about the availability of such products or send out emails to the stores explaining your interest in this type of product, they will soon bring more eco-friendly products to their store. It is the same concept that occurred with organic food. As the consumer’s interest of organic food grew, more grocers made sure to pack their shelves with these products and it is fairly easy to find organic products now in our local grocery stores.
HIT: Where do you see ethical fashion going in the future? Where will the industry be in five years, or ten?
DC: Ethical fashion is definitely the way of the future. We are already seeing recognizable retailers such as H&M and Zara, increasing their ethical and conscious products. I believe that in 5 to 10 years, we will see more and more ethical and sustainable products readily available in our stores. This is a phenomenon that the UK is already experiencing. Shoppers are demanding more sustainable and ethical products, therefore retailers are feeling the need to give them more buying options. In fashion, the UK traditionally leads the US in trends and shopping habits. It is a limited amount of time before American consumers begin wanting more sustainable products in their stores. We have already seen this trend hit the beauty market. Target is already making strides in adding more conscious and ethical beauty products in their stores. There will be that day in about 5 years that you will go shopping for a new Little Black Dress, you’re going to find the one that you absolutely love and when you read the tag, you will notice that this gorgeous dress just happens to be made from sustainable fabric and Made in the USA, or in a Fair Trade Factory empowering women in a small village. It’s a win win for everyone involved.
HIT: What’s currently inspiring you?
DC: Right now I am inspired to tell a story through my clothes and that story is that women are strong, independent and beautiful people that are capable of taking on any task or job they wish to seek. It is appalling to hear of people still discussing women as if we are weak or just not as intelligent as our male counterparts; this is simply not true. I want women to feel their strength and the great characteristics that they posses and be proud of them. I want young girls to look up to women and see that they don’t need to look or act a certain way to get attention and that being intelligent is a good attribute. I want these young girls to see that they can wear gorgeous heels while walking into a board room and leading a meeting…and nailing it. This along with making progress in sustainable and ethical practices is what inspires me today.
HIT: How can Haute in Texas readers follow you or find your collections?
DC: SixChel, my fashion label, is launching The Capsule Collection in May on Kickstarter. All of our pieces will be available for pre-order as we are an ethical brand that works on a slow-fashion platform to ensure quality and uniqueness. We encourage you to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on our upcoming launch and to receive links for our Kickstarter campaign at our website: www.sixchelbydinachavez.com You can also follow us on our social media platforms to find out more about SixChel and sustainable fashion. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
HIT: Finally, an Haute in Texas tradition: pancakes or waffles?
DC: Waffles…there is just something about waffles that I can never turn down especially, if paired with chicken and a mimosa.
Isn’t that backless dress just amazing?! And VEGAN leather pants? Sign us up. Thank you for continuing to push forward in the sustainable fashion realm, Dina, you inspire us! We’ll be sure to keep you all up to date when the capsule collection launches, and we wish SixChel the best of success!
P.S. I received compensation in exchange for this post. Don’t worry though, all opinions are my own!