Now, I can’t exactly say that I believe in fate but I don’t think meeting Ellice was a total coincidence. We met when she started part time at my 9-5 soon after I had launched “Finding Katnis” centering around sustainable fashion. She has one of those personalities that makes you feel like you’ve been friends for years after only a few minutes, which was such a breath of fresh air in a sometimes dull working environment. Naturally I wanted to learn more about her. I came around to asking Ellice about her interest and that’s when I discovered that she was working on launching her own line of ethically made clothing here in Los Angeles - Kismet?
True to the brand name, Ellice Ruiz features stylish yet timeless clothing made from sustainable fabrics. I feel extremely flattered and honored to have a top named after me. The Kat Top (coming soon) is pictured here in a beautiful wine color, and has a tie front which allows you to get creative with how you wear the shirt, after all versatility is essential for a sustainable wardrobe. My favorite feature about the Kat top is the innovative fabric: Tencel which derives from wood pulp and is one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics currently in the market.
Ellice was able to answer a few questions for me regarding her new line:
What inspired you to start your own sustainable fashion line?
I'm a nature lover. I think this planet is a beautiful and magical place. It honesty infuriates me that we are damaging it so that people can have cheap clothes they don't need. There are more than enough clothes in the world as it is. I was motivated to start my own sustainable brand to help lead the way towards a more environmentally conscious "fashion" industry. I want to create pathways towards a more circular and ethical fashion economy. But most of all, I want to create wearable clothes that make people feel confident and stylish. When I was a gallery director, I was trying to find a sustainable and ethical fashion brand that designed professional yet modern clothes for someone like me with an artsy aesthetic. I wasn't able to find one I connected to at my price point. I want to create a space for sustainable design but also a more artsy professional style.
I am endlessly inspired my this quote from Daphne Guinness, ""We need better things, not more. We should not pollute the world with meaningless, unused things when we can support things of rare and precious beauty." In my opinion, we don't need more - we need better.
What is your vision going forward with your label?
My vision going forward is to create, educate, and give back. I want to create the best, most earth friendly, and beloved garments in your closet. Personally, my approach to sustainability is doesn't stop at sustainable materials or ethical manufacturing practices. I try to go a step further to create transitional clothes that eliminate the need for buying clothes for every occasion. The more we can wear our clothes the less we'll need to consume.
I started my brand with the goal to create an ethical company that promotes artful living and community, not consumerism and materialism. I hope to pair my advice on environmentally conscious style and living with more behind-the-scenes content and community events. Finally, I donate a percentage of sales from each collection to causes, charities, and people helping make the world a better place. I am committed to using my business a platform for giving back.
You work with many innovative fabrics. Do you have a favorite? Why?
My favorite sustainable fabric is Tencel (or Lyocell). It is made from fibers that originate from renewable raw wood created by the natural process of photosynthesis. The cellulosic fibers are manufactured using an environmentally responsible production process. It is also biodegradable and can fully revert back to nature. We use it to make 6 styles in our first collection. It is soft, breathable, and drapes beautifully on the body. Plus, it's travel friendly and easy to wash & wear. I could go on......
What has been the greatest challenge in starting your own business? Any limitations specific with starting an ethical brand
Personally, my greatest challenge is funding. I'm self and Kickstarter funded but it's expensive to start any business, especially a sustainable fashion business. I'm a dreamer with big plans but I am learning to fully embrace the idea of slow fashion. I want to be able to create a zero-waste and circular fashion company and that takes more funding than I have available to me. I'm trying to take it slow, create sustainable manufacturing methods, and connect with like-minded suppliers, vendors, and advocates. Changing the industry from the bottom up is a challenge and a long-term goal of mine. I wish it was easier to source sustainable fabrics, find renewable energy manufacturers, and recirculate existing fibers and garments back into the supply chain. I believe as more fashion companies commit to ethical production we can truly reduce the fashion industry's toll on the environment and communities. Although these are big systematic challenges, I see it as my opportunity to share my values and conscious point of view while making beautiful things that reduce our impact on this big, blue gem.
Do you have any style icons you admire? If so who are they?
My style icon is definitely Bianca Jagger. I love a woman who can sport a tuxedo or sequined gown with the same amount of confidence and glamour. My admiration extends beyond her legendary style. Bianca Jagger is also a civil rights advocate and humanitarian. She proves you can look good while doing good.
I’m looking forward to seeing Ellice Ruiz grow into a household name. You can read more about our conversation on sustainability and checkout more of her collection here.