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Cindy Rangel


Day 8:

My sustainable fashion story

My story began when I was a young child traveling from Chicago, Illinois to Quito, Ecuador for the summers. I was greeted and surround with the love and a warm welcome of both sides of the family when we would arrive in the airport. Cousins galore would invite me to play outside in their yards or we'd go with family friends and wander for the week-end to the rural countryside of Ecuador.  There we would enjoy campfires, sports, and music well into the cool Ecuadorian nights.  

My family would often travel to Quito where I would stay with family members weeks on end.  I was surrounded with the rich Andean culture  from diverse foods prepared for us to the vibrancy of the historic UNESCO architecture sites and sounds of downtown Quito.  The richness of my culture was presented to me several summers.  I am so grateful because it taught me so MANY things.  However, 3 main lessons stayed with me to this day.

  1. Never forget where you came from because there's vast richness in your heritage.
  2. Love and embrace who you are no matter what.
  3. Keep sharing who you are no matter what.

And with those travels my sustainable journey began unfolding before me.  I would often travel throughout Ecuador to the gorgeous coasts with family and along with it my love of travel began to reveal itself, tooOne summer my family decided to visit Machu Picchu.  As a nine year old, I only knew one thing while on this trip, it was a quite a LONG and tiring trip.  But when I arrived, I was in complete awe....of everything. We landed in Cusco and that was an introduction into a textile Mecca in and of itself.  My parents decided  to buy us wool Andean made sweaters.  It was epic.   Here I was in the bustling and historic richness of Cusco and my parents were buying four wool sweaters for four daughters in the summer which was really winter in Peru. I will never forget the women weavers and merchants persuading us to purchase their sweaters and the hustle and bustle of Cusco.   I was surrounded in the vastness of the Andean history.  That same day we went on the train and went to see  Machu Picchu.   I was completely taken by this city.  

I knew then this city would always remain inspiring to me.  I loved the richness of the Peruvian culture and I was lucky enough to experience this as a child.  But my story had just begun.  I knew the historical diversity would be something I wanted to preserve and tho I was sweating in that wool sweater and I was exhausted from all the travels,  I arrived at a new point in my journey.  I knew textiles would be the path. That inner calling tugged a bit when I began to feel the itch of the wool as a child and wonder why.  But the biggest wonderment was that architecture wonder of Machu Picchu. HOW DID THEY DO THIS I continually wondered???!

And so with my wonderment I followed my pull toward more textiles and fashion.  I can assure you it was NOT a direct journey.  In the end, I listened to my calling.   But more than anything, my goal was to preserve the wonderment and authenticity of how things were made, who made them, and the process of the actual textile to the client.  I knew that to lead me to this sustainable fashion path I am on today.  And I will remain grateful for that trip. 

What's your sustainable fashion story?  Follow my journey with great interviews with women changing the sustainable fashion landscape and watch me on my path as I launch my sustainable travel handbag. You can catch all the latest news and pictures in my e-newsletter.  Sign up now and get FREE shipping when we launch!