We’ve all had that experience where you purchase something online that looks amazing on the runway model or on a hanger in front of a plain white background, only to find once you receive it that it fits nothing like what you thought it would.
The truth is, much of the fashion sold online completely disregards how an item would look like on a real woman. The variety of sizes and shapes are also completely ignored, which is in direct contradiction to the women’s empowerment movement.
These are just some of the problems that co-founders, Victoria Janashvili and Olga Gomonova are trying to solve by launching ChicCartel – a body-positive, empowering, and ethical ecommerce website. The platform has a variety of differentiators that set it apart. Not only does it let consumers shop from lifestyle shots that include models sporting sizes 2-18, but ChicCartel is also giving you an idea of how the prospective piece will actually fit on a wide-range of body types.
Additionally, if you’re committed to shopping as ethically and sustainably as possible, then you know that purchasing from local designers, artisans, and labels is often one of the best ways to do that. It requires a lot less fuel to get your item to you. It supports your local economy and creates jobs in your community. By shopping locally, you get to know the fairly paid, talented individuals behind the product. Not to mention, it also means you’re getting truly unique pieces which will never be found at Target or Saks. But, it’s not exactly easy to uncover local designers you actually love, especially since they often don’t have big budgets for marketing or retail space. You have to scroll Instagram locations and hashtags, scour local markets and boutiques, ask around, and dig through your city to find the hidden gems.
ChicCartel is taking a lot of that work out, for the consumers and designers alike, letting you search by community. Consumers are able to shop by city (currently available areas are New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and “The Heartland”). From there, you’re able to shop hyper-locally, finding designers in Brooklyn or Manhattan, Venice or Santa Monica. Both women have great love for the United States and all the opportunity it has provided them, which led them to focus solely on products and collections made in America.
With Victoria’s experience in fashion and Olga’s business background, they also know the difficulty designers have making it in the fashion industry, and want to solve the marketing problem for smaller, independent brands. ChicCartel’s hand-picked labels are given access to things like photography, models, makeup and styling, and other necessities needed to actually get their clothing and accessories into the hands of the customers looking for them. The intention is to give the designers the freedom to focus on actually designing, instead of selling, their collections.
As you shop, it’s easy to find out more about the people behind the pieces. When you click on a top for example, you find out where it’s made and can “Meet the Designer,” with a photo and details about the brand.
The necklace Alden is wearing was handmade in New York by Electric Picks, a bi-coastal brand whose every piece of jewelry is inspired by music and named after a song (Alden’s necklace is called “Flawless”!). Having peeked inside the not-yet-launched website, we can say there are some EcoCult favorites in there, like White Rabbit and Siizu!