We are honored to feature Keila of Vida Botanicals! She creates lovely, naturally hand-dyed wraps, scrunchies and wellness items from silk and linen. Not to mention, everything in her shop smells so good! Read on to learn more about her. Pronouns: she/her/hers.
How did you get into slow, ethical, and sustainable fashion?
I started a ‘lifestyle’ type blog about six years ago, back when Instagram started to take off as an important marketing tool for bloggers. My focus at that time was on raising bilingual children, motherhood as a woman of color and some style sprinkled in. Around 2016, I began to feel really challenged with the direction that my blog was headed in terms of the amount of consumerism that I was portraying and I decided to take a step back and share, what I called, my sustainability project.
I began including all of the ways in which my family and I were living more consciously, and that’s when I decided to begin with my own closet. During this time, I also decided to go back to graduate school and that’s when I stopped blogging about clothes and shifted my focus to social justice. Then in 2018, I came across the #10x10RepresentationMatters challenge, which connected me to this incredible community of BIPOC in sustainable and ethical fashion, and the rest is history! I’ve had lots of ebbs and flows in my little corner of the internet, but I have always remained committed to sharing my truth, and it’s been a humbling experience to connect with so many beautiful souls in these online spaces in the process.
You’ve started a new project called “Vida Botanicals” tell us about your work there!
After being introduced to natural dyes by a friend, I fell in love with the medium and began making scrunchies for my three little ones while hand dyeing them in our kitchen with avocado pits. I began sharing my creations on my stories and received so much interest and feedback in my creations.
Although my educational background is in Urban Studies, Social Justice and Design, my naturally dyed goods are a reflection of the world I hope to leave behind for my children. A world where we are conscious of what we put in and on our bodies, of how our products are made and by whom, and what impact it all leaves on our environment. I wanted to provide better and more eco-conscious options for the products my family wears and that is how “Vida Botanicals” was born.
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by Black, Indigeneous and People of Color. I am inspired by our resilience, creativity and love in spite of our histories of colonization. I am inspired by our overall dopeness. I am inspired by my ancestors, the Taíno people of the Island of Puerto Rico and my African ancestors of Sub-Saharan Africa. I am inspired by my grandparents who were descdendants of chatel slavery on the Island, their stories run through my DNA. I am inspired by them to heal the trauma of their stories, to heal myself and carry on healing to future generations. Finally, I am inspired by our Madre Tierra and hope to honor the land by creating eco-conscious goods made with lots of amor.
How can people support your work?
Check out our shop, Vida Botanicals. We released a Fall collection, including silk headscarves, pillowcases, relaxation sachets and our original goods, scrunchies!