One thing is clear after speaking with Melissa and Carolina Cantor- they love what they do and they do it well.
They are the co-founders of Ethica, a New York City based fashion marketplace offering up fresh clothing and accessories to the stylish but environmentally aware consumer. The designers they carry are probably new to you because Ethica has established itself as a prime platform for up and coming talent. Unique and special pieces reign on their site, eliciting a squeal or two from lucky shoppers when they find that special something.
The web store opened its doors a mere 14 months ago and has since taken off. Melissa and Carolina informed me that they now know their customer’s likes and dislikes, which can surprisingly contrast to their tastes- but that’s what running a business is all about, and they couldn’t be happier. Ethica is effortlessly curated to perfection full of the pieces we didn’t even know we wanted until we laid our longing eyes on them. “What works in person is different than what works online,” Melissa says. It’s been a learning curve for the sisters but judging by their drool worthy selection, I’d say they know what they’re doing.
Ethica was born out of a labor of love and need for education. They believe it’s important for people to comprehend that style and sustainability can go hand in hand, which we at Vilda all know to be true as well. Carolina had previously been immersed in the marketing world. Melissa, working in mainstream fashion editorial sought more substance beyond the pretty clothes that hung on the racks. A year long preparation period ensued.
That’s where transparency comes in. Transparency is the connection between the consumer, designer and the designer’s process. Ethica pride themselves on understanding and sharing every step of that process. In turn, they inform us how the products we adore come to fruition. Being aware of the who, what, when, where and why of the item you’re scooping up makes one hell of a meaningful purchase in comparison, to say, the latest dress from the mall.
This, in conjunction with other details like carbon neutral shipping, outstanding customer service and an editorial component make Ethica an ideal shopping destination.
The designers don’t disappoint either with quality, one of a kind pieces. Some brands you can find are AWAVEAWAKE and Ace & Jig. Attention grabbing Freedom of Animals also makes an appearance with bags likened to Celine’s luxe factor.
The seemingly steep prices are justified in each item’s craftsmanship and high level of concern for a minimal footprint, whatever that may mean to each designer. No stone goes unturned for their talent, which gives the Cantor sisters an education all their own.
When questioned as to how they obtained all their environmental savvy, the sisters tribute a mix of websites, books, classes and the designers they carry. The latter are credited by Carolina and Melissa as the true experts.
Their initial search for said designers began through recommendations and trade shows but with the success of Ethica, designers are now clamoring to be taken on by the Cantor duo.
“I feel so excited when it’s something like that- [a designer says] ‘I’m just launching my first collection’ and it’s like yay! we get to help discover you and have other people discover you” says Melissa. “There are so many people innovating in this space, it’s just growing and growing everyday” Carolina adds. Melissa agrees, stating “It’s really exciting to get in really early and to watch that evolution..It’s a cool relationship to cultivate.”
As for the future of the industry, both girls are hopeful. “Very few people are going into fashion wanting to replicate mistakes of the past. The new batch and crop have a whole new set of values and priorities. They’re just improving on the infrastructure already there.”
So, let’s review: with any purchase from Ethica, you get carbon neutral shipping, cute clothes and hope for a better world. That’s sounds pretty epically and ethically priceless to me.
Only for Vilda readers: shop at Ethica with $35 off (hey, that cancels out the shipping fee to Europe!). How? Just use the code VILDA at checkout.