I believe that inspiration is like a puzzle. With each experience or feeling, you gain a piece of that puzzle. Individually, those pieces don’t mean much, but once they are all laid out in front of you, you start seeing a pattern. Slowly, you put the pieces of inspiration together until you get the full picture. My full picture is the Sol Collection.
The first puzzle piece was given to me by my mother. She raised us surrounded by her Peruvian culture. We listened to folklore music daily and our house had textiles and decorations from Peru. If you aren’t familiar with Peruvian culture, we are big on color. All of our traditional garments and textiles are woven with the brightest colors. I remember being drawn to it the first time I saw a Peruvian dance competition and knew that 1) I need to also compete in Peruvian dances and 2) color would have a lasting impression on me.
When I was in middle school, I loved color and dressing in monochromatic outfits. If my top was green, so were my shorts and my shoes. Everything had to have some sort of green even if it was a different shade. My initial love for monochrome dressing waned in high school and college where I tried my best not to match. My pre-teenage self would be happy to know that monochrome dressing would come full circle.
Before launching Sotela, I was a fashion blogger. This blog used to actually be called Gold Polka Dots and if it strikes your fancy, you can look back to the beginning and see my posts. I almost called it Color Me Pretty because I wanted to document my colorful outfits. At the time, I was big on color blocking and even dedicated a post to the color wheel. Once again, color was a big part of my life.
One year into Gold Polka Dots, I became drawn to ethical fashion and decided to stop supporting fast fashion brands. Not only did I pledge to shop small, but I also changed the way I dressed. I thought the best way to be “sustainable” was to wear timeless neutral clothing because black never goes out of style. Once I had the idea for Sotela, I knew I wanted to keep it simple and neutral because that was the norm in this industry. Our first two collections only had colors in the neutral family like muted green, blue, cream, and, of course, black.
The Sand Collection was my first exploration into color and patterns. It was exciting to uncover that piece of myself I had repressed for several years during my hardcore ethical fashion days. Just to be clear, I’m still hardcore about ethical fashion, but not so much about the neutral colors. I don’t think that to be sustainable you have to only dress in the typical black, grey, and cream, which is something I’ve really embraced recently.
I believe the Terra Collection moved me and Sotela a couple steps closer to who I am as a designer and what place I think Sotela can occupy. That collection was like a giant puzzle piece because it gave me permission to create the pieces I dreamed about without abandon. I didn’t feel like I had to stay within the ethical fashion box of neutrals anymore.
My love for color that began with my Peruvian heritage and continued off and on throughout my life gave me the inspiration for the Sol Collection. Each puzzle piece had a significant effect in creating the picture that is now this collection. It is full of color, vibrant, and happy, which I think are feelings clothing should evoke.
With the Sol Collection, I’m here to prove that color can be timeless. It doesn’t have to be trendy unless your love for color is just because of trends. I’ve always loved color and just got lost along the way while finding my style and voice.