Interview with Dechel Mckillian, owner of GALERIE.LA

Their concept is blunt: fashion with integrity - emphasis on carefully selecting sustainable fashion from brands worldwide. And GALERIE.LA has selected yours truly.

Mirroring the same desire for change that us here at Mane Project want to see in fashion, the store's founder and owner Dechel Mckillian's took some time to tell us about GALERIE.LA and what drove her to open such a store with such a strong idea. Enjoy!

 

Being a brand based in New Zealand, Los Angeles is super exciting for us; like every second person is a celebrity! Where's your favourite place to hang in LA?

I love hanging out at the beach! I live in Venice so I'm always there or biking to the Marina. El Matador in Malibu is my favourite beach to escape the city.

 

Gotta love a beach! What's your background in fashion?

 I've worked in fashion for 10 years now. Before opening GALERIE.LA I was a celebrity stylist working with clients like The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Lil Wayne, Nikki Minaj, Drake and many emerging artists. While on the process of launching GALERIE.LA and getting it off the ground, I did retail development for brands such as Clare V, GOOP and Steven Alan. All my experience has helped shape my vision for GALERIE.LA.

 

What prompted your passion for ethical retail?

After traveling the world, I saw firs hand how fashion negatively impacted the planet and people which led me on a journey to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I became a conscious consumer first and had a hard time finding brands that fit my personal style or that I would put on celebrity clients. I started doing a lot of research and discovered brands all over the world were putting sustainability at their focus without compromising on design and quality. I wanted to bring all these brands to one place which is now GALERIE.LA

 

On the point of conscious consumerism, why do you think it is important? 

Conscious consumerism is important because we have an opportunity to not only buy better products that benefit the people making them, they can also have a positive impact on the environment. I think conscious consumerism boils down to being aware of the purchases we make each day from food to fashion. On the larger scale, I believe we're always voting with our dollar and the more we buy products that have a positive impact, the more companies will shift to sustainable and ethical production methods. And that's a win-win for all! Better products will be readily available to the masses. 

 

We totally agree! How do you think ethical and sustainable fashion can be made more accessible? 

I get this question a lot! There are a lot of brands like Mane Project that are making ethical and sustainable fashion at great price points. My advice is to check out shops like GALERIE.LA or blogs like Good Trade and Mochni to find brands. Sustainable brands won't be the first to pop up on a Google search but there are so many out there doing amazing things. A few of my go-to sustainable brands we carry at GALERIE.LA at a more accessible price point are Mane Project of course (oh stop it!), Back Beat Rags, Conrado, Rupahaus and JW Pei for bags. 

I think we have to redefine accessible because comparing the price of fast fashion to sustainable fashion is not realistic when you're paying your workers fair wages, using eco-friendly materials etc. There are many ways to be more sustainable without breaking the bank like buying second-hand from vintage, consignment and thrift stores also renting from places like Rent the Runway. 

Good point because, personally, accessibility is down to a combination of location, which GALERIE.LA definitely provides, as well as willingness to participate in change. 
What does ethical fashion mean to you?

For me, ethical fashion looks at who is making the garment and putting them first. Ethical brands know their factories in that they know their workers are getting paid fair wages and are in safe working conditions. Ethical fashion is part of the larger conversation of sustainable fashion. You cannot have sustainable fashion without the social aspect of making sure that garment workers are being compensated and treated with dignity.

 

Finally, where would you like to see fashion  on a global scale progress to?

I would love to see fashion be sustainable and not "sustainable fashion"! Sustainability should be the norm throughout the entire supply chain. In 2019, some of the major brands are still ignoring the impact they have on the environment by overproducing, using toxic chemicals, their carbon imprint and waste etc. I believe we are moving in the right direction and are on the brink of change. Fashion is a big driving force to help our society to evolve. 

 

We give this a HELL to the YEAH!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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