It's finally beginning to feel like spring in upstate New York, and I couldn't be more excited. Since moving up north, I've gained a new appreciation for the arrival of warmer weather. It means the return of longer days, more time spent outdoors, and being able to once again wear one of my favorite sustainable fabrics — linen.
When Sotela launched the Warm Weather collection, I knew I had to get my hands on the Mara Jumpsuit, which is constructed out of a sturdy, structured linen that softens and improves with age. As soon as it arrived in the mail, I could immediately tell the Mara Jumpsuit would quickly become a closet workhorse. It's incredibly comfortable, flattering, and versatile — three musts when adding a new piece to a minimal wardrobe.
Sotela has been one of my go-to sustainable clothing brands lately, designed with the everyday woman in mind. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sotela's founder, Hanna Baror-Padilla, to learn more about the Mara Jumpsuit and the Warm Weather collection. Scroll down to read the interview.
Tell us a little about yourself and the story behind Sotela.
My name is Hanna and I’m the founder of Sotela. I launched Sotela via Kickstarter last May and have been doing it ever since. The idea of Sotela began a couple of years ago after reading about the negative impacts of fast fashion. At the time I was writing a life and style blog, Gold Polka Dots, when I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t keep promoting fast fashion. I pledged to only buy clothing from ethical brands, which began my never-ending search for pieces that fit my budget and lifestyle. Once I saw the need for ethically made clothing that is specifically made for the everyday woman, I knew I had to start my own line.
What was the inspiration behind the Warm Weather Collection?
My inspiration for the Warm Weather collection stemmed from wanting light, comfortable, and airy pieces that are timeless and practical. I wanted to branch out from what I had previously done with the Essential collection, which is why I added a crop top and jumpsuit. Each of the four pieces contain a different element of what I look for in warm weather clothing such as comfort, ease of wear, and light fabrics.
What fabrics AND colors did you select for this collection and why?
I wanted to use easy to wear, easy to care for fabrics like linen and organic cotton so that it works for the everyday woman. The last thing I want is to manufacture clothing that is difficult to wash and care for when you wear it on an everyday basis. I chose white, royal blue, and sand for the Warm Weather collection because they are neutral and can be worn with a variety of outfits.
THE PRODUCTION PROCESS
How did you source the fabrics for this collection?
I spent several months sourcing fabrics for this collection. There are various manufacturers that produce natural and sustainable fabrics so I started with those locations first. After reaching out to them about the fibers I was looking for like linen and organic cotton, I received swatches to see colors and test its overall feel. If I really like the swatches, I order sample yardage and make sample pieces. This process usually takes a couple tries before getting it right. I can’t even begin to tell you how much sample yardage I have in my house of fabric that hasn’t worked.
Where was the clothing manufactured?
All of Sotela’s pieces are made in Los Angeles, California.
What other steps did you take to ensure each piece was made responsibly?
Aside from making sure everything is manufactured ethically and locally, I chose natural and sustainable fabrics that have minimal impacts to the environment. These fibers also are long lasting and naturally decompose when it reaches the end of its life cycle. Instead of churning out new pieces every couple weeks, I’m focusing on producing slowly and intentionally by only having two seasons- warm weather and cold weather.
Why is sustainability important to you?
Sustainability is important to me because I don’t want to contribute to the waste fashion produces. It is integrated into every aspect of my business from the fabrics we use, to where it is produced, and the packaging used for every order. I’m trying to live by camp rules and leaving everything just the way I found it.
Be sure to check out the complete Warm Weather collection for responsibly-made core pieces for your spring and summer wardrobe!
Major thanks to Hanna for partnering on today’s post! As always, all opinions are my own.