Etched into the fabric of the fashion industry is a need for a revolution and as the seams start to tear, the industry continues to turn a blind eye. As it stands today, the fashion industry shares more of a relationship with consumerism than it does with its very own customers. Such lack of transparency keeps consumers out of the loop on the unethical manufacturing processes taking place. This bares harsh implications for our future—does this branch of laissez-faire capitalism inhibit us from this cycle of negligence or will it stimulate the cohabitation of both business and ethics? Fashion Writer Ivanah Alexandre interviews college sophomore, Estella, who took it upon herself to inspire this generation to join the sustainability revolution. With 184K followers on Tik Tok and 38K followers on Instagram, Ethica Clothing is defining what it means to “celebrate the beauty of affordable sustainability!”
IA: What is the story behind Ethica?
ES: For the past five years, I have been thrifting a majority of my clothing because it’s an inexpensive way to define my style. Recently, I’ve been educated on the effects of the fashion industry on our environment, something that not many are aware of. Being in quarantine for the past couple of months has given me the opportunity and time to think about what I can do as an individual to help improve this issue. Thus, Ethica was created. I love thrifting and want other girls my age to love it too. I wanted to create something that gives people an accessible, non-time consuming way to thrift. Ethica closes the gap between young adults and preloved items.
IA: What challenges have you faced while running your brand?
ES: The biggest challenge for me has been managing the climate anxiety that I have. I have been educating myself a lot in order to create graphics for educating my customers on how their choices impact the environment. So that has been very hard because it feels really hopeless at times because it’s such a huge issue to tackle but I’m hopeful at the same time because I’m helping people to both wake up to the issue and take an accessible step to help with climate change, even though it is very small.
IA: Who/what inspires you as an entrepreneur in the sustainability space?
ES: My mom is an entrepreneur so I’ve grown up seeing her pursue this field of work. So I thought why not take my own shot at it! As for sustainability, I just saw a gap in the market and it’s an issue I’m passionate about and [I] enjoy learning about sustainability so I thought why not start Ethica!
IA: How would you explain the importance of becoming more ethical and sustainable in the way we shop to people who may not have much insight on the topic?
ES: I just cannot stress enough that small decisions and choices make a huge difference. People might think that their choice to buy a new preloaded pair of Levi’s over a pair of new ones doesn’t have an impact but it does. It saves 1800 gallons of water. This is enough water for one individual to drink for 5-6years. We are in a water shortage so this does have an impact.
IA: If you were a cartoon character what would your default outfit be?
ES: I love patterns on patterns! If you look on my instagram (@estelle.viviene) I recently posted in a white button down and black pants that are both patterned. That is my FAVORITE outfit so I would definitely have to go with that one.
IA: Do you have any other passions outside of sustainable fashion?
ES: Sustainability, environmental justice and social justice are my passions. I really need to see change in my lifetime [to see] that I helped to create it, because I know that our society and livelihood has the capacity to. I just really want to be a change agent and making that a reality is my goal.
IA: What advice would you give other young fashion revolutionaries interested in starting their own brand?
ES: We just don’t need to be as wasteful as we are currently are. There is literally no reason for this at all!
Images courtesy of Instagram @ethica.clothing
IA: Fast forward to the year 2050; describe what you hope the fashion industry will look like.
ES: I hope that in the future the fashion industry is less focused on creating brand new pieces for consumption but is more focused on creating creations out of “old” fabrics—a lot of one of a kind items.
IA: Shameless plug?
We are launching a few sustainable products soon at very low prices for the everyday people to incorporate into their lives.