Sotela The Ongoings of Sotela's founder, Hanna

This is my Fashion Revolution

Were you around during the Gold Polka Dots days? If you’ve been following along since the very beginning, you would know that I started with a fashion blog that promoted fast fashion brands. Yep, I bought new clothes from Forever 21 and H&M every week to have ‘fresh’ blog content.

I cringe when I see my first blog post. I remember going to the Forever 21 clearance rack to buy this sequin skirt because I thought it was the perfect statement piece. I have never worn that skirt again…

I continued promoting fast fashion for three months until one day it didn’t feel right anymore. I felt gross promoting random cheap clothing. This was before I knew there was such a thing as ethical fashion. After reading, Shannon Whitehead’s post the 6 Things You Should Know About Your Clothes, I went down the sustainable fashion rabbit hole and saw an article about the Rana Plaza tragedy. It was heart wrenching and made me want to give up fast fashion forever, which wouldn’t be easy as a fashion blogger.

How It All Started

After some consideration, I knew it was the right thing to do and immediately pledged to only wear and promote clothing made ethically. For that following year, it felt good. I felt like I was ‘making a difference’ in the sustainable fashion world and it was enough. In 2014, there were only a handful of ethical bloggers and brands so it was a very niche market. The selection of ethically made clothing was slim and I noticed an apparent hole in the market for timeless and versatile relaxed-fit pieces for the modern woman.

In 2015, I reached out to the Shannon Whitehead who first turned me onto ethical fashion and joined her Factory 45 accelerator program because I wanted to do more. After several months and some hormonal bloating, the idea for Sotela came about.

When it came time to manufacturing, it was a no brainer that I would make everything here in California. I originally worked with a factory for the first several months following Kickstarter, but it didn’t work for me. The minimums were difficult to maintain and I liked having more control over the manufacturing process. If there is something I want to change last minute, I want to be able to!

This Is My Revolution

For the past year, I’ve been working with a seamstress who does everything for Sotela. She does patterns, samples and production. It’s been working so well that we would like to start our own factory. Surprise!

It is still in the early stages, but it is something we are working towards. I’m planning on having a couple of other ethical brands on board so that my seamstress can work full-time. I will keep you posted with details when I know more!


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