Sustainably Chic

Ancient Techniques & Timeless Designs | Fashion for the Greater Good

Fashion, Fashion Pt. 5Natalie Kay


My journey in sustainable fashion began almost 7 years ago with artisan-made crafts. I immediately fell in love with the different art forms within culture. It is very easy to get sucked in! There was so much to learn and so much opportunity to help preserve their culture and craft. Over the years, I've been able to work with several wonderful brands working hard to create sustainable livelihoods for artisans, especially women. When SukkhaCitta and I crossed paths, their mission was exactly the reason I became passionate about artisan-made goods. This beautiful brand is helping make sustainability the standard in all fashion production by putting thought into the entire design process. This isn't just about the chosen fabrics, fair wages, or preservation of art, but it's about setting an example for the rest of the industry. SukkhaCitta understands we want quality sustainable clothing with history and purpose. 

Denica, the creator of SukkhaCitta, is a bit of economics nerd which I love! I've noticed economics is left out of the equation in several conversations I've had over sustainability. Economics is a HUGE part of sustainability, and once you take it into consideration your initial thought as to what is or isn't sustainable changes. According to Denica and her thorough research in social phenomenon,  craft is the second employing industry in developing countries but it's at risk of dying out. Younger generations are no longer wanting to continue the crafts even when education is limited and 30 million people within poverty rely on these jobs. Denica has found one of the problems creating this disinterest. Crafts are starting to look too crafty. Artisans are being taken advantage of by middlemen. This model of business where their goods go through multiple hands before the consumers puts them at a loss. It also takes away ingenuity when they are copying the same design over and over just because they know it sells. SukkhaCitta does not want this to continue. They want their Indonesian artisans to flourish, be creative and make a sustainable living for themselves, their families and communities. 

You may be wondering where Denica came up with the name 'SukkhaCitta'. She put it beautifully - "Sukacita is the Indonesian word for happiness, whose Sanskrit root is SukkhaCitta. I chose that because it was through my journey to happiness that I fell in love with craftsmanship and handcrafted textile. I believe that craft has much to remind us about values that reconnect us to a life that matters, and that when we are saving craft, we are saving ourselves. SukkhaCitta to me signifies this going back, from mass to slow, from homogenous to handcrafted, from seeking happiness everywhere to findng it within us."

We believe that clothes are not just something we stand in, but it is something whose process we can stand for.
— SukkhaCitta

I'm sure I've mentioned this several times before, but I LOVE fabrics. My mom's fabric store got me hooked at a young age, and my textile courses were always a favorite. One type of fabric which sparked my interest in particular were Batiks. Batik is a traditional Indonesian textile with an ancient technique of pigmentation. They are able to create intricate patterns because of the use of beeswax, a dye resister. SukkhaCitta's KUPU Collection is done in Batik Tulis which means handwritten Batik. A very time consuming and unique process, each motif is hand-drawn. This means not one garment will be exactly alike! Pretty special, right? Watch the video below to see how their gorgeous designs are made. 

Within their KUPU collection, they have a range of Indigo pieces {which I've been so lucky to wear and enjoy!}. They have partnered up with an Indigo farming community in the mountains of Central Java who were experiencing a loss by not factoring in production costs. SukkhaCitta created a program to train and give them the necessary tools in order to make a profit. They taught them how to produce the fabric rather than just selling the indigo paste. Today, there are 6 trained women in the program who make the KUPU Living Indigo pieces. 

Now on to these STUNNING designs...

My obsession, as of late, are bandanas! It is the perfect accessory because you can wear it multiple ways and it's easy to match to what you already have. They are made of a silk/cotton blend with a hand-drawn pattern and a little "courage" reminder. 

This is the first Kimono I have ever owned, and I'm so happy to add it into my sustainable wardrobe. It is incredibly well made with a lovely fit and drape {perfect for any body type!}, and it is made from a linen/cotton blend which gets softer the more you wear it. Especially in the North Florida climate, this is a piece I can wear all year. 

The Living Indigo collection also has a scarf fit for women AND men :)

Ready to make an impact in the world of traditional craft?

To shop the entire KUPU collection click here. 

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