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Izavel Varela is a fashion brand based in New York City.

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The Ethics Behind A Vegan Fashionista

Isabel Varela

Chouara Tannery, one of the largest and oldest tanneries in the world, is located in Fez, Morrocco.  Photo Credit

Chouara Tannery, one of the largest and oldest tanneries in the world, is located in Fez, Morrocco. 

Photo Credit

With Gemini as my rising star, I have a natural passionate spirit for many things. Ethics in both food and fashion fuel my passion for my forward-thinking, cruelty-free fashion brand–Designed to empower people.

Here’s the truth behind why I don’t use leather anymore and why I do not fall into stereotyping or categorizing myself as completely vegan or vegetarian.

Let’s start with what we eat. Vegetarianism is usually a diet, while veganism is a lifestyle. It’s all about balance. I am not completely 100 percent vegan at this point, but the more that I realize the atrocities that happen to animals, the less I want to eat them, and the more minimalist I find myself becoming.  

One of my favorite dishes! A Root Vegetable Fritata with Zucchini Pasta and Cranberry Sauce. 

One of my favorite dishes! A Root Vegetable Fritata with Zucchini Pasta and Cranberry Sauce. 

Here’s the shocking truth about leatherLeather is not a byproduct and it is not produced in efforts to minimize waste. The horrors of leather come from skinning animals alive followed by the tanneries drenching them in cancer causing chemicals.

The great news is that there are more cruelty-free options nowadays. I am continuously looking for healthier ways to produce fashion, and I am thrilled the new wave of innovative textiles will focus on the use of biotechnology. Did you know there is a fabric called Pinatex, which are fibers extracted from pineapples? And did I mention, spider webs can now be made into fibers!

This is proof there are better alternatives out there and more are to come! I strive to make my company cruelty-free and I want to inspire companies to do the same. The more I learn about the environment and all the harm that is happening around the world, the more that I want to do better in the world.

I want to be able to help the world, and it all starts with a conscience choice. That is why I am focused on producing safe, ethical clothing and creating awareness around options for a healthier choice.

In the process of finishing one of the Red Bamboo Long Draped Dress.

In the process of finishing one of the Red Bamboo Long Draped Dress.

In the future, I strive for synergy in both food and fashion. I am working to offer a manufacturing company that pays fair wages to sewers, uses ethically sourced and produces organic fabric while combining a healthy lifestyle, showing others how to eat and live healthy.

The Future is ours and we will directly impact humanity and the environment. Everyone has free will to choose what they want, but as long as society becomes more aware of what is going on we will be able to choose the better choice.

 

Eco Photoshoot Diaries

Isabel Varela

Come with me as I take you behind-the-scenes in this blog, giving you a glimpse of the brand through my eco diaries. You will sift through my latest Ecowear Basic collection photoshoot and learn why I finally decided to create an eco basics line. Trust me, basic ain’t so basic while in the company of the dynamic crew who made this all possible.

For me this photoshoot was a significant start of who I am becoming and where I want to go. As my vision for the brand continues to evolve, the fundamentals of creating an ecosystem that embodies a minimalistic lifestyle remains living healthy, happy, and your clothes being pure, natural and organic.

Everything working together in harmony is a belief that is deeply rooted in my brand! The ever-so witty British talent behind this shoot was photographer, Marc Hall, who brought harmony to life as he captured the brand’s essence and organic movement perfectly in every frame. The beauty of unison was evident during this shoot, and an overall impactful, positive experience to see all the unique personalities sync together to support one another.

Photographer Marc Hall shooting Caitie MacMillan wearing the 100% Bamboo Black High-waisted Leggings paired with the 100% Bamboo Two-Toned Sports-bra.

Photographer Marc Hall shooting Caitie MacMillan wearing the 100% Bamboo Black High-waisted Leggings paired with the 100% Bamboo Two-Toned Sports-bra.

As an artist at heart, I immersed myself into the creative direction for this shoot from hand selecting real women as models to developing hair and makeup concepts with remarkable makeup artist Native, who transformed my models into eco-friendly goddesses.

 

Hair and Makeup Artist Native Elianor working her magic at the photoshoot!

Hair and Makeup Artist Native Elianor working her magic at the photoshoot!

Honestly, in the beginning I avoided creating basic pieces. I didn’t want to label myself as doing something “normal” or “too simple.”  I felt the pressure of designing extraordinary pieces all the time for the fear of being seen as simple, but as I began working with more and more organic fabrics I saw the impact this would have on humanity as well as the environment.

These are not just basic pieces. These minmalist pieces are mindfully crafted to be intertwined and layered with other pieces in your wardrobe. These pieces are meant to be versatile. You can wear this to sleep, to work, underneath a jacket and then to the gym … It’s your choice!

Caitie MacMillan wearing the 100% Bamboo Two-Toned Sports-bra with the 100% Bamboo High-waisted leggings paired with the 100% Bamboo Black Oversized Hoodie Cardigan.

Caitie MacMillan wearing the 100% Bamboo Two-Toned Sports-bra with the 100% Bamboo High-waisted leggings paired with the 100% Bamboo Black Oversized Hoodie Cardigan.

It’s important to spread the word … There are safe and conscious fashion options available in this industry! It’s my mission to create awareness and provide organic options along with education around the negative effects fast fashion can have on our bodies. I am here to prove organic EcoWear can be both environmentally-conscious while exuding comfort, luxury, ease, and flexibility.

The fabrics feel like butter when you put it on, I want to use these fabrics because they are safer. There is a healthier and more ethical choice for designers in the way we design. Yes, it will raise the cost of the garment by a few dollars, but it lowers the harmful cost to environment and for humanity.

 

Maya Koshaba wearing the 100% White Bamboo Sleeveless Tank with the 100% Bamboo High-waisted leggings paired with the Black and Grey Reversible Cardigan made out of Bamboo and Lyocell.

Maya Koshaba wearing the 100% White Bamboo Sleeveless Tank with the 100% Bamboo High-waisted leggings paired with the Black and Grey Reversible Cardigan made out of Bamboo and Lyocell.

The attitude of the whole day was positive, exciting and empowering with a little silliness sprinkled on top. I have realized the more you are whole inside the more you are able to let out that light onto others. I believe in creating a welcoming environment and inspiring others to do their best work.

With that said, every piece I develop is made with love and hopes of helping others become aware of better choices.  It all starts with one person doing the right thing that inspires others to also do the right thing.

 

Left to Right: Maya Koshaba and Caitie MacMillan are both wearing the 100% Bamboo Two-Toned Sports Bra with a 100% Bamboo Long Sleeve crop top with Rib Knit paired with 100% Bamboo High-waisted Leggings.

Left to Right: Maya Koshaba and Caitie MacMillan are both wearing the 100% Bamboo Two-Toned Sports Bra with a 100% Bamboo Long Sleeve crop top with Rib Knit paired with 100% Bamboo High-waisted Leggings.

In the past several years, my personal growth has directly influenced my ideations around my business. The more I started believing in myself, the more my self-confidence increased. I began trusting myself in all aspects of my life and it naturally seeped into my business. I sought out to capture this and be a vessel of hope for others that are wanting to find their passion or start their own business.

Left to Right : Model Maya Koshaba, Johnathan Vargas and Isabel Varela. Johnathan Vargas  managed the art direction for the photoshoot along with assisting Marc Hall during the photoshoot.

Left to Right : Model Maya Koshaba, Johnathan Vargas and Isabel Varela. Johnathan Vargas  managed the art direction for the photoshoot along with assisting Marc Hall during the photoshoot.

If I were to look back to when I first started I would have never imagined myself dropping my so-called comfortable life (Where is Jordan Catalano?) to follow my dreams. In all seriousness, it has been a long journey, but one that I do not regret.

Stay tuned to see where the journey takes me next.

 

The Modern Day Hippie

Isabel Varela

Being green has become a synonymous word across all areas of our lives from the food we eat to the fashion we wear! Everything from our human anatomy to the environment works in unity as an ecosystem, and I want to share how this ecosystem transitioned health and elevated my brand. My holistic journey took my faux-selfish lifestyle and turned it into one that remains eco-friendly and minimalistic. Not all hippies do drugs and have low hygiene! You can call me a green lover … but I’m absolutely enamored by and appreciative of all nature. I am truly a wholehearted believer in living with the environment rather than against it.

My modern-hippie vibe ignited my love for living holistic and became my mission for my sustainable fashion brand, IZAVEL VARELA! I believe if you're eating clean than you also should live clean (and dress clean)! Not only are you helping yourself and the environment, but you begin inspiring others with your ooh so contagious green attitude. Around here, we want everyone to be aware that there is always a better choice and a better way to live! Whether it be present in food or fashion, we encourage you to become the hippiest hippie of em’ all!

Photo by Serg_Velusceac/iStock / Getty Images

In all seriousness, I am truly grateful for making these changes because they have improved my health, humanity and the environment. Don’t get me wrong this was a drastic change that influenced and elevated both my physical appearance, mentality and turned my business into an eco-friendly company.

It took this Louisiana girl two years and a New York City address to completely adopt this new sustainable lifestyle. Like any “New” Yorker, I indulged in all the wonderful conveniences that New York had to offer, but even after all the glam, fancy dinners and fashion galas there was still something missing and a bit off. I felt tired all the time, bloated, still battled with adult acne, sinuses every other week from all the processed food corrupting my body. I remember, consistently trying to eat better, but failing because I loved my bread and cheese! After my body decided to reject everything it knew, I had to quickly give myself an intervention and seek help. I did NOT want to see a physician, so like a true modern hippie I found a naturopathic doctor ... and at that moment on the corner of Union Square and 17th my journey began.

Ask any Cajun, it’s not easy removing gumbo and red beans and rice! out of your diet! It was a challenge that refocused my energy into fully adopting this holistic new lifestyle. So for two months, I rid all dairy, gluten, wheat, carbs, fruit, starchy vegetables and rice. You’re probably wondering what I was eating besides air and water, right? Let’s just say I ate a hell of a lot of eggs, almond butter, avocados and quinoa!

Of course, I had no choice but to quickly educate myself on healthier options where I quickly found out how many other vegetables existed besides lettuce, tomatoes and carrots! At first, it’s pretty exhausting looking down the isles wondering how I would survive eating nothing but these so-called vegetables, some I’d never even heard of.

Don’t get me wrong, I still found myself day-dreaming of cheese and bread every night while fighting my craving for sugar and sweets .... I can honestly say the first two weeks were the most difficult ones. After the third week something miraculous happened! My face, which had been acne-prone since I popped out out of the womb started to clear up. In disbelief, I remember wondering how long could this really last? As the next few weeks passed by, my face was still clear and I started to notice myself having more energy. Everyday was better than the last, day after day, I felt less bloated and my fatigue seemed to disappear. I guess when I became a true believer in this so-called eco-way-of-life was when I finally rid the box of Kleenex and nasal spray that religiously slept next to my bedside every night. Fast forward to today, and all of my symptoms have vanished with the exception of my occasional midnight cheese cravings! Despite these cravings, I make a conscious effort and choice to continue living as a true minimalist by incorporating natural elements into my life.

To fulfill my eco-friendly creative soul, I spend my time researching, designing and developing ways to work with the environment! As a true modern day hippie, I just say NO to toxic cleaning products too, and I am now creating my own natural cleaning supplies!  Over the next few months, I will be sharing my new organic ideas with everyone! 

My newly found minimalistic mindset has inspired a sustainable movement within my company. Stay tuned, I will be unveiling more on how you can start your very own green journey and sharing my latest EcoWear pieces that will have you looking as good on the outside as you feel on the inside. Remember, it’s your choice to live with the environment or against it. What will you choose?
Stay tuned for healthy recipes, eco-fashion and further insights on how to make health products.