“Fashion is a way to express ourselves. Not only our creativity, but also our values. That is why it is important for me to dress sustainably and stylish.” says Araceli who recently started Goshopia, an online platform for sustainable fashion brands. Read the exclusive interview to know more about this vibrant woman and her idea of women being stylish and yet environmentally responsible.
How did you come up with the idea?
Goshopia was born out of sheer need to find items that are fashionable yet ethically sourced. I have always been a fashion and design enthusiast. I love creativity and I think it has to be nurtured and even protected. Most families still want their children to study engineering rather than become artists of any kind. In my mind I was always thinking of ways to assist all that creative talent.
At the same time, I was starting a personal journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. I met Ayesha Siddequa from Fashion Revolution at one of her events and saw how detrimental fashion as an industry was. After watching the documentaryThe True Cost, I decided to change my mindset and be more conscious with my fashion choices too.
Then is when I realised that in this market is really difficult to find sustainable pieces that will fit my style, or the style of the region which is more dressy.
Fashion is an important aspect of our lives. It is a way for us to express our individuality. A lot of people think that sustainable fashion cannot be stylish. When, sustainable fashion can be fashion-forward and elegant. The truth is that as a consumer you have to do hours and hours of research to find sustainable options that will cater to this market. I wanted to facilitate all that to other people that would be on the same journey as me. People that are looking to have very high-quality items with amazing style with low impact to our environment. This is what I call Sustainable Style.
What does the name mean?
The name comes from a combination of three words: Go + Shop + Utopia. It is derived from the idea of offering a fashion utopia to the conscious consumer. A fashion that strives to be good.
What is the philosophy behind Goshopia?
At Goshopia we believe another type of fashion is possible. A Fashion that is beautiful and meaningful, that respects creativity, the Nature and the People creating the pieces.
Goshopia is here to support local communities, artisans, craftsmen, designers and creators that want to give back, that look for sustainable proposals, that avoid mass production, that believe in fair trade, that have a good cause to do business and have a keen eye for style and aesthetics.
Who is your customer?
Our Goshopia woman is confident and independent. She has developed her sense of style and knows what suits her really well. She is not an activist, but she cares for the environment. She is strong and opinionated and knows that her choices can have real power and can affect others.
Could you tell us more about what slow fashion means and why we need to embrace in the Middle East?
Slow Fashion is just a way to produce. It is not new, actually… It is the good old way of doing things! Slow fashion means that items are produced in small batches, paying a lot of attention to details. With slow fashion, you get a guarantee of exclusivity and high quality. On top of that, there is less waste. The big fast fashion brands mass-produce their products, so whatever doesn’t get to be sold, ends up in landfill or burned.
So how can consumers become more mindful?
The first step is to change our mindsets. Become aware of the impact of our choices as they give or take power. Make surewhatever your choices, they reflect your values. In my case, Creativity, Sustainability and Community are my pillars. They are important for me. I wanted to support the emerging designers while the environment and the people doing our clothes are respected.
How do you personally embrace the concept? How does it reflect in your style? How do you shop?
How all this materialize? Basically, I question my need or desire to shop and try to rationalize the decision so that there is no impulse shopping. For example, when about to buy, I always ask myself if I really need it or just want it, if I am going to use it frequently or just a pair of times, how easily can I take care of the item or if the pattern it has will be “last season” soon..
If I am not going to use it often, maybe I can rent it out– if it is for a special occasion for example- or ask a friend if she has something that I could use.
Also, I don’t follow trends anymore. I felt I was always chasing not sure what. If the trend is something that resonates with me and I can see myself wearing forever, then it is ok. If not, I avoid trends as much as I can. I found my style to be more timeless and I know now what looks good on me and what makes me feel fabulous. So, I stick to that, whether in vogue or not.
What is the advice to everyone who wants to shift to a more conscious closet?
My advice is to buy only what you need, make sure it is built to last and has high quality. Buy items that match your actual closet, so that you don’t need to keep on buying to be able to use it. And, let’s not forget to take care of our items. They are not disposable.
If you follow my advice, you will find yourself buying less, but also you start buying with a very discerning eye. Timeless style and quality become uber important.
What kind of brands do you represent?
The brands represented on Goshopia have to fit with our criteria of the 3 S’s, actually 4 as Style is a must. Mostly the brands core values need to coincide with our core values.
Normally the process starts with research and meetings. It is important that we see the quality of items we are presenting on the site and have full knowledge and understanding of what went into making the clothes. Our main goal is to find designers that are able to mix fashion with sustainability and produce clothes that are suitable for any stylish woman that cares about the World we live in.
How do you see Goshopia grow?
Currently in Goshopia you will find all sorts of accessories, ranging from handbags to jewellery, turbans etc. We also stock womenswear. All our items embody uniqueness and luxury. We do plan to introduce more categories to the platform, such as, menswear, home decor, kids and beauty.
We have big plans for Goshopia. We want to become the reference and the go-to emarketplace for every conscious fashionista. There is a lot of exciting projects and events ahead, so stay tuned!
What is the criteria to join Goshopia?
Goshopia wants to change the very pollutant and careless way to do fashion nowadays. There are different ways to get this done but we bet for designers or brands that follow at least one of our 3 S´s. They can reach out and send us an email or get in touch through our Instagram or our web.
There is a 4th S which is Style. We want to break the stereotype of sustainable fashion being just loose-fitting clothes to chillax or go to the beach. At the moment, people perceive sustainable fashion as hippie looking. But the truth is that there are very beautiful sustainable options that are great to go to the office or a special occasion. We want to broaden the options available to dress fashionable and sustainable.
How do you manage all as a “mompreneur”?
Well, you have the feeling you don’t manage anything at all! Motherhood is the best thing ever happened to me, but it comes with some challenges. I have never been so happy and so tired at the same time.
I am blessed to have a very supportive and loving husband and we were lucky enough to find a caring nanny. Our daughter is for me an inspiration. She brings the best of me. Also, the fact of having children, makes your think more about the future.