We are excited to have Soele at the sale this year.! For those that may not be familiar with Soele, can you share a bit about what you’ll be bringing to the sale.
I'll be bringing the first three sweaters designed and produced by Soele. Two of which are made from 100% alpaca and the third is raglan-style pima cotton sweater. It's getting cold out and I'm confident that these provisions will help :).
Can you guide us through how you came to own your clothing line.
When I was 14, I lived in Germany for a year as an exchange student and went back about every year through college. Speaking German and having the freedom to explore the country via train has taken me to Berlin about a half-dozen times. Berlin is a crazy place because the post-war world was characterized by Soviet vs. Western tension and the city served as a kind of stage showcasing each side's resilience/ stubbornness. This meant that Berlin was never really ideal for big business, but was still the region's cultural epicenter, which underwent a kind of renaissance after the fall of the Wall in 1990. The city's culture embraced its newfound freedom with a sort of lawlessness in its fashion, party scene and ambience. When you spend enough time in a place like that, it's impossible to be satisfied with a "normal" job, so I started thinking of ways I could surround myself with more creative free-thinkers and leverage my background in traditional business to do some unique and impactful work that inherently deals with how people express themselves as individuals.
We’d love to know more about your mission for beautiful clothing with a global impact. How has this informed your approach to the design and the production of your garments?
November 2016 happened and I was pissed just like (what I had previously thought was) everyone else, but I spent too much time warring on social media and recognized that I needed to do something, so I tried to make a shoe in my kitchen. Seriously. My intent was to create a blueprint for how I could work with the disenfranchised and open a shoe manufacturing plant in Austin...once again, seriously. Obviously, this didn't pan out, so I went back to the drawing board. I heard about Fashion Revolution ATX- an event put on by Jen Lewis, founder of Purse and Clutch, to increase attention on how the fashion community must reorient itself in order to correct its dangerous history of wage abuse, environmental negligence, etc. There I met Jacquie Ring, founder of Moesel, and she took me to Peru and provided me with many of the resourced I needed and introduced me to the people I needed to know to get started. After this, I started doing serious research into sustainability practices and learned about how deeply entrenched alpacas are in the culture of many regions of Peru, which encouraged me to start working with alpaca fiber. Part of my research led me to Mike Safely, Alpaca Jedi and founder of the Quechua Benefit, a non-profit that has various initiatives (sustainable alpaca raising practices, a school in the Andes, and medical programs to help keep these kids stay healthy enough to remain in school and get their degree) to loop in the largely-forgotten people of the Andes. It's still a work in progress and right now a portion of the proceeds are going back to support the Quechua Benefit, but the plan is to include this organization more closely in the manufacturing and resource appropriation processes starting next year.