Values: I believe..
∞ that reusing things is important for the Earth.
∞ that our bodies and objects hold stories.
∞ that clothing is a way to honor, express, & shift these stories.
∞ that by giving new life to old materials, we can symbolically embody intentional creative action as a transformative choice that allows us to rewrite stories into new ones of hope and empowerment.
Mission: to empower women to love their bodies with clothing that embodies bravery, resourcefulness, elegance, and comfort.
Vision: I envision a world in which all people embrace the beauty of their bodies at every shape, size, color, and ability. A world in which we each do our part to live as resourcefully and consciously as possible by recycling and reducing as many resources as we can. By shopping SolaVita Exchange your are supporting fairtrade, sustainably handmade clothing that honors the impact of each person... as a unique thread in the beautiful cloth of social responsibility. Let's love our bodies for what they do for us by dressing them in clothes that make us look good, feel great, and reduce our ecological footprint!
love your body. share its stories.
Elegant Comfort for your Abundant Life.
How it all began...
When I was very little, my (maternal) grandmother taught me to sew. I loved how she worked; making something unique, functional and meaningful out of nearly nothing. She could turn literal scraps into exquisite garments and reupholstered furniture faster than most people can choose an outfit. With the help of her and my mom, I put those sewing skills to work in support of a rapidly changing body. Not only early puberty, but extreme weight fluctuations characterized my early journey of self-discovery as my lifestyle changed with each new phase of a forming self.
From round to chubby to curvy... to thick to athletic to skinny fat to fat and back...
My body has been so many shapes and sizes. As an adult I've been 150 lbs and I've been 250lbs and most weights in between. The toll of this physical variability was more severe on me developmentally than most people around me realized. My self-image suffered the whiplash of a physical and psychological yo-yo in ways that are still recovering (and will likely always require tender awareness).
To survive, I had to adapt. I didn't have the tools nor understanding to create a life that sustained a stable, healthy body yet. But, I did have the sewing skills to take in or make new clothes so I did. Most weeks for many years I revamped my wardrobe to try an catch up to who I wanted to become.
This spirit of sewing: recreating outwardly an inner (sometimes desired) dimension dimension of the self is what makes fashion more than a superficial trend but a primal connection to self expression. This process has followed me my whole life. I could even argue it was passed to me from a generational lineage of women who have overcome the trauma of daily life through their creativity. I'm so grateful for these skillsets and knowings. SolaVita, like all my creative lines is just one more life line that starts with self and serves others with this same need. Because I have found as I have matured over the years that while my weight journey might seem extreme, my journey to grow a self-image is nearly universal. Conscious styling is one tool in transforming our (often tortured) self-images.
SolaVita was founded in 2013 in response to a graduate course called Community Collaborations. We were asked to design a project that served a community need and at the time the University had just announced that our program (the only one of it's kind in the country) would be closing. Our cohort would be the last to receive the degree. Our sacred community of tender transformation was being rushed to complete our Thesis work early with the knowledge that posterity would no longer matriculate through the Arts and Consciousness program. It was heavy. And I wanted some comfort and levity.
So I designed a project collaborating with each of the women in my cohort to interview them about their relationship to fashion. Interesting and powerful stuff. Fashion at its core was linked to deep constructs of the self and long held (sometimes limiting) belief systems about self agency and trust. We worked to a place of intention setting and after some fun fashion shows and sketching, I designed them a garment made from their old clothes and my old clothes. I paid them for their time and in exchange asked that they pay forward the money they earned to by back their garments as reminders and support tools for the next phase of their journey to wholeness. SolaVita Exchange was born and I invite you to welcome these up cycled garments into our life while leaving those limiting beliefs behind. You are beautiful and your stories shape you into the person you need to become. Wear your beautiful struggle proudly!