Within the past year, there has been an enormous shift in the fashion world regarding inclusivity. Fashion brands have either taken steps towards more inclusive designs and practices, or customers are demanding more inclusive shifts.
I’ve observed the conversations regarding inclusivity in the slow-fashion space and have been humbled by the things I’ve learned. Right when you think you are doing well in not excluding groups of people, you meet someone who politely reminds you of the people you may have unintentionally excluded.
If you don’t know how/why I started Sotela, here is the quick run down. I launched Sotela because of a hormone imbalance that made me bloated for almost a year. The majority of my closet was unwearable and I felt so uncomfortable in my body. I also didn’t want to buy new clothing because I wasn’t sure how long it would last. So I did what any normal person does when they want to fix a problem, I started a business (ha!).
Sotela was born out of the need to help women feel beautiful just as they are without focusing on size. That’s why our sizing is the way it is— we want you to grow with your clothing because our bodies are constantly fluctuating. It’s the cycle of life and I wanted to celebrate it rather than feel ashamed, insecure, or upset.
Last year, we rebranded Sotela to align our vision with our values. We changed our aesthetic, focused on the female energy that started Sotela, and honed in on our messaging. I absolutely loved it and believed it was the right direction for us.
After recent conversations, I’m starting to question our language/messaging and how it may exclude groups of people. By claiming we are solely a women’s brand, are we excluding those who don’t identify as female, but still want to wear our clothing? After all, inclusivity goes beyond the constructs of gender. Prior to these conversations, I always thought of inclusivity in regards to size and diversity, but never about gender.