Interview with Dina Chavez, founder of SixChel

I am excited to share with you this interview with Dina Chavez, the founder behind the brand SixChel. In her blog, SixChel by Dina Chavez, you can learn more about the journey of this fashion enterpreneur and learn more about her story. 

SixChel by Dina Chavez

When I was brainstorming with Dina about doing a collaboration, I asked her to tell me more about the philosophy and thought process behind the design of the clothes. I usually find these stories fascinating because the creation process also has the designer's personality and experience imbued in the clothes.

SixChel is not Dina's first fashion venture, she decided to shut down her previous label and start again with a sustainability focus. After losing her only sister to cancer, Dina became aware of the effects that toxic chemicals can have on our bodies, so she was inspired to be part of the change by using her talents as a fashion designer. 

SixChel is about strength and femininity 

When I decided to re-brand my fashion label, there were 3 main components that would serve as the base of my brand. Sustainable & cruelty-free fabrics, ethical practices and woman empowerment. It’s easy, as a fashion brand, to display sustainable, cruelty-free fabrics and ethical practices in our designs, but it is not as easy to express woman empowerment. As I design my collections, I always find social issues that pertain to women to use as my inspiration. For instance, in our current collection, The Capsule Collection, the main inspiration was the juxtaposition between the strength and femininity of a woman.

Isn't it curious that becoming sustainable and ethical in the FASHION industry is easier than being a STRONG WOMAN in 2017? I've had to deal with this in different cultural contexts (Latin America, Canada, Switzerland) and there is always something. Too bold. Too frumpy. Too sexy. No matter what I wore, I would be judged by other people. It was not something that I took too seriously, but it is a mental drain when I have to think "Does this lipstick make me look more or less intelligent?" I just wish I didn't have to have these conversations with myself before I leave the house!  

Dina grew up in the 80s, inspired by films like "Working Girl", a movie known for also subverting the idea of femininity and power with the outfits of the main characters. For Dina, it is important to continue the fight for gender equality and feminism and fashion is the medium through which she shares these values. 

As a fashion designer, I feel it is my responsibility to take that idea further and use it in my designs especially, because the fashion industry sells their products by telling women they have something wrong with them and it can be fixed with a certain product. At SixChel, we believe women should be celebrated as they are and not hide their true selves.

The theme of strength and femininity is well timed, as we saw with the US Presidential election that "society tells us women that we can either be strong and therefore not seen as a woman or be feminine, in which it is impossible to have strength."

So how are these ideas reflected in SixChel's first collection?

1. Flowy and soft fabrics to display our feminine side

SixChel Dress by Dina Chavez
I chose to use fabric that flowed, was soft and would be comfortable to wear to display the femininity of a woman and decided on a Tencel twill fabric with an enzyme wash. Tencel, the brand name for lyocell, is considered to be the most sustainable, eco-friendly fabric right now because the fibers are sustainably produced. Enzyme wash is the environmentally-friendly version to stone wash (gives that soft, faded look to your jeans) and I liked this finish on the fabric because it adds a soft touch to the fabric. The purple color was chosen because it is a color that symbolizes royalty and what better way for a woman to express her importance in the world than with the royal color purple.
Another fabric I chose to use is a bamboo/organic cotton blend jersey that is also soft, comfortable and has a slight flow to it. The teal color was chosen because it is a fun color with pop that does not easily match the purple color but does coincide with it well…a way to show that women are not all alike, however we are capable of accompanying each other well.
SixChel by Dina Chavez

2. Sturdy denim and vegan leather for strength

The other two fabrics that are in The Capsule Collection, are a hemp/organic cotton blend denim in black that is sturdy yet can flow and a vegan leather in rose. Both fabrics were chosen to display the strength in the woman. I love that the black denim is a symbol of strength, but with the hemp and organic cotton fibers, there is a touch of softness, a touch of a feminine element. The same is for the vegan leather because it has the look and feel of strength, yet the color rose and the comfort of the vegan leather exposes feminine details.

3. Juxtaposition of elements to show the balance between power and womanhood

SixChel by Dina Chavez

"I wanted to show the juxtaposition between the strength and the femininity of a woman with strong shoulders, strong lines, straight edges and simple, delicate details such as the flow of the halter top."

What do you think of the collection?

My favorite pieces are the dress, the denim pants and the top with the wraparound belt! I'd definitely get mileage out of the pants, the purple hue goes with my skin tone and the wraparound belt suits my boyish figure! 

The Kickstarter campaign for Sixchel is live! Click on the button above to shop at presale prices!