Founded in 2016, Sotela’s ethos combines both style and sustainability, resulting in a collection that not only looks good, but does good. Founder Hanna Baror-Padilla shares her thoughts:
What inspired you to create Sotela?
I created Sotela in 2016 after being frustrated with my body and closet. For almost a year, I dealt with a hormone imbalance that left me chronically bloated. The clothing I wore on a regular basis no longer fit and I didn’t want to hide behind baggy shirts and leggings. I didn’t feel like myself in my skin or my clothing. It made me think about how frequently our bodies change. Women’s bodies especially—we get bloated, pregnant, lose weight, gain weight—and the fit of our clothing doesn’t reflect that reality.
Why was it important to you to create a line that is size inclusive?
We launched our inclusive sizing earlier this year because we realized the discrimination in the industry. The majority of American women are above a size 16 and yet the fashion industry only caters to women size 12 and below. We don’t believe women should be sized out of clothing. Our size range goes up to a size 30 and includes different inseam lengths.
What does “ethical” mean to you? What makes Sotela ethical?
Ethically-made clothing means clothing that was manufactured in healthy working conditions; Employees are treated fairly and make a living wage that is suitable for their location and experience. [Every Sotela] garment is designed, cut, and sewn [locally]. Our employees earn a living wage above the minimum. I always knew Sotela would be both an ethically made and eco-friendly brand. I had been aware of the environmental consequences of the fashion industry and didn’t want to contribute to the pollution.
How would you describe your Sotela’s style/aesthetic?
Our style is minimal and versatile. We believe in creating quality timeless garments that work with your lifestyle.
What is your goal for Sotela?
My goal for Sotela is to reach more women through in-person events. I believe the heart of Sotela is our community and I would love to meet women from all over the country. One of the barriers to online shopping is not knowing how it will fit. I want to change that by allowing women to try on clothing in a comfortable setting without the risk of having to return.
Photos: Courtesy of Sotela