There is a mindfulness we look for when inviting brands to join us at one of our Pop Up Shops or in a collaboration. This past December, our friends at Bhava joined us in the Lower East Side showcasing their ethical footwear. We have so much respect for brands who are committed to transparency, pushing for progression, and question the way things have been done in the past. And, Bhava does just that!
We decided to chat with Francisca, the founder of Bhava, about what powered her to start the brand, the challenges, and rituals that help her to get through. Scroll to read the interview and shop our favorite shoes!
What inspired you to start BHAVA?
Working over 10 years in NYC in the fashion industry showed me a lot about what needs to change. I was a typical, UN-conscious fashion designer working day and night in an industry I did not question. I definitely got sucked into the superficiality of a well paying job in NY and traveling all around the world for large brands. I thought I had it all figured out and was quite pleased with myself until everything changed overnight. I had just been promoted when I started noticing that the off-gassing from the China made product was giving me headaches and eventually seizures so I started doing some research on the toxicity and manufacturing practices of the factories we worked with. These factories in China produce for the major brands that constitute the majority of the American fashion industry today. I started delving into what exactly goes into the goods that we buy from mass manufacturers and that started my understanding of the reality of the industry I was once so proud to work for.
I highly recommend the movie, “The True Cost” If anyone is interested in learning more about why ethics are so important in fashion. I started taking classes about Ethical Fashion at The Fashion Institute of Technology and researching everything I could about the many unsustainable aspects of the fashion industry. I personally feel that the leather industry is the most unethical and toxic of all the areas in the fashion industry and could no longer justify making my income from the suffering of the animals, the deadly working conditions in the tanneries and the uninhabitable dead zones that the leather industry has created in the poorest nations.
Coffee or tea?
Chai with homemade nut milk! A gal after our own heart!
How do you remain inspired?
I'm always designing what I wish was available to me in vegan materials and comfort construction. I love feedback from friends and customers. I'm definitely trying to solve real footwear needs of ethical consumers who demand the most in premium quality, comfort, and ethics.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
The costs of the premium materials that I source and being able to stay fresh and produce on time. Its hard for me to stick to a timeline as I'm obsessed with improving every possible detail.
Do you have any daily rituals?
Turmeric & Ginger shot first thing in the morning, and Kundalini yoga.
What can’t you get enough of right now?
Dr Cow's raw vegan cheesecake in Brooklyn!
Best advice you ever received. Go!
Unfortunately I'm not the best at remembering or listening to advice, but I do try to learn from my mistakes and past work experiences. I think learning to listen to our gut is key especially these days with so many distractions.