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


Filtering by Category: Emerging Designer

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.


My Green Runway

Isabel Varela

Photography By:  Thomas Garza Photography |  Models (Left To Right) : Takako Wao, Nikisha Cummings, Julissa Ford, Caitie Mcmillan, Loydeen, Aminata Jajua, Charity Woods, Madeline, Sirisha Reddy  

Photography By: Thomas Garza Photography|  Models (Left To Right) : Takako Wao, Nikisha Cummings, Julissa Ford, Caitie Mcmillan, Loydeen, Aminata Jajua, Charity Woods, Madeline, Sirisha Reddy  

Methodical details, bamboo draped basics, natural flowing silk lines, overpowering organic fabrics, and even biodegradable prints are the organic statements that fueled my collection and creativity for this year’s New York Fashion Week. Year after year, NYFW always manages to embrace the eye-catching designs that make their mark and embellish for seasons to come. For decades, NYFW and its intrinsic artists have influenced humanity, instantaneously labeling designers as goddess trendsetters. Collections from the runway set to inspire entire various product lines, mold our culture and become a dictatorship in the world of style … And yet, for an industry that prides itself on staying inventively abreast of futuristic trends, where is the voice when it comes to sustainability, one of the most significant trends of all?

Strangely the fashion world is self-inflicting pain, as it is labeled the second dirtiest industry in the world after oil and gas. The sustainable movement has begun making its appearance awakening humanity with transparency, opening hearts with the realization of the negative affects and corrupted nature that manipulate consumers. Many fashionistas are becoming aware of the fashion industry’s robotic process that lives to pump money into the seams of 1 percent of the population … all the while it blindly continues to unconsciously brainwash the minds of society as its prey.

There is a need for a proactive change in fashion before the industry self-destructs in its own unlawful and manipulative ways of operating. We are now seeing whole industries shift their thought processes to be competitive in the rising green economy. This is our time to band together unite as one, and demand healthier options!

Model Yoka Wao wears the Alina Dress made out of 100% Bamboo

A humble feeling came over me as I was granted the opportunity to show my S/S 2016 collection on the green runway for Fashion Week with the partnership of The Set NYC and Freedom Ladder, a charity that brings awareness to stopping sex trafficking. With the help of my amazing team, my green line became reality. My collection served as a voice and highlights the luxury of sustainable fashion, empowering women to accept sustainable practices industry-wide as the true fashion of the future.

This vicious cycle will continue year after year and only worsen, if we don’t change our buying habits. Leading sustainable and organic lifestyle companies of all sizes are now responding to increasing consumer demand for products that holistically outfit their lifestyles and values.

With more eco-friendly options available, you have the power to choose a better life for yourself and to shop at local places that support the community.

Makeup By Maria Cristina Ochoa at NYFW Spring 2016

We must all work as a community and come together to support each other. The vision of my company sets to educate and live by a minimalist example, ultimately inspiring and educating others to become aware of the daily choices they make. By purchasing a garment from IZAVEL VARELA, you are choosing to help yourself and the environment simultaneously. Our mission is to live with the environment, not against it. We pride ourselves on the use of eco-friendly dyes, our recycled fabrics, ethical work with local production, fair wages, lending ourselves through  philanthropic efforts to help charities from around the world.

Isabel Varela next to her mannequin wearing a custom gown made out of Vegan Leather and Tulle.

In our near future we are working to become a full lifestyle brand, offering a plethora of holistic products from around the world. Mindfully, we will work with unique vendors to offer natural products including everything from accessories, hats, shoes, and beauty. By doing the right thing we help everyone, and by doing the wrong thing we only hurt ourselves and everyone else.

What will you choose?

Dying For Fashion


Great Wall of China

It wasn’t until a trip to China, and an unexpected meeting with the realities of unethical fashion, that I found both complete intrigue and my purpose –feeling empowered to boldly pull back the veil of the immoral practices and change the mindset of the fashion industry.

After college, I found myself on a study abroad program in Guangzhou, China. While busing around the city, I came across a huge gated community to my right with housing to my left, a garment factory full of prisoners young and old. Shortly, I would come to discover these factory workers were overworked and underpaid, merely making only five cents per day.

Factory in Guangzhou, China

It was this pivotal moment where truth met reality for me, and I promised myself I would do everything in my power to change the unethical production overseas. This trip sparked my movement and ideations for my company, lending insight into how I could bring awareness and become a voice for those who had none. Wholeheartedly, I set out to change the fashion ecosystem with nothing but humbleness, motivation and a business plan. I put my plan into action and began infusing my personal journey with the mission of my company, promoting transparent manufacturing, fair wages and work-life balance.

As a holistic designer I am deep-rooted in the fashion world. I am constantly reminded when I  look around the industry and find humanity programmed to expect fast fashion at their doorstep with a simple click of a button. This mindset accompanied with the fast fashion era produces a plethora of disadvantages. On the primary level it’s unhealthy to your physical being , and on the secondary level, harmful for the environment. 

The true cost of fast fashion! Image courtesy of Awesome Sauce & Asshattery Blog

This is due to the lack of awareness around the inhumane issues in the fashion industry. It’s vital society acknowledges along with the cheap low cost of clothing, comes a higher cost of human lives and environmental destruction. Although, it may be convenient to buy clothes at an affordable price our purchasing decisions are filling up landfills with excess leftover fabrics. We are stealing the very lives that have literally sold their soul to outfit your trendy look for Friday night.

I find that society's mindset is brainwashed with the impulsive and must-have attitude. The selfish competition to snag the latest faux look off of the runway first and for the cheapest must stop. This behavior is risking both human and environmental wellness, leading to an influx of consumerism and self- manipulation. Humanity is physically poisoning themselves by polluting the only accessible water available to drink, dehumanizing manufacture workers and blinding consumers into manipulation tactics that falsify happiness.

Image courtesy of  Waste Biorefining Blog

Image courtesy of Waste Biorefining Blog

Fashion is one of my passions, at which I am not implying we should roam the street nude and rid all of our clothing,  but I am shedding light on the unglamorous side of the fashion industry. I believe fashion empowers us through artistic expression and plays a pivotal role at differentiating us as individuals. It’s up to us to create awareness and provide consumers with options to make better choices when buying clothes. Myself and many other lifestyle companies are designing for a change and embarking on movements in this industry to give consumers healthier choices.

I would have never imagined a couple of years ago a little study abroad trip would ignite my calling and expose my true purpose in the fashion industry. This experience has given me the entrepreneur spirit and drive to create my own organic fashion brand, IZAVEL VARELA Inc. My brand promotes eco-friendly dyes, lives for transparent manufacturing and proudly focuses on sustainability and local production. We want everyone to know that there is a better way. We can choose healthier products for our environment and for ourselves.