Venice Beach based, Romania native Monica Magdas Miller is the founder of SANTICLER. Monica learned the centuries-old techniques of hand knitting, embroidery and weaving from her mother and grandmother. Her love of artisan textiles and the desire to preserve heritage and cultural traditions inspired her to pursue fashion. She spent 15 years building a successful career as an apparel industry executive and creative director before establishing her own sustainable line SANTICLER. Out of her drive for 'being the change you want to see in the world', she creates collections of beautiful and wearable apparel of lasting value for real women.
How would you describe Santicler? We would love to hear about your vision as a founder.
I developed Santicler as a collection of thoughtful, lux essentials, easy to care for and that can be worn for years to come. I believe that sustainable choices have to be practical, effortless and in timeless silhouettes. I don't believe in trends. It is too exhausting to chase the next thing of the moment, too expensive and ephemeral. There is no long term satisfaction in that. In the United States especially, we tend to have large houses with large closets and everyone accumulates a lot of things that they rarely use. Social media and reality TV have only perpetuated the false idea that more is better. It is no wonder then that we are the biggest consumer market per capita in the world. I do believe the tide is changing and a growing segment of the apparel consumers increasingly prefer a smaller, more focused wardrobe and pieces that withstand the test of time and that are flattering. I do spend a tremendous amount of time making sure that everything we make is flattering on different body types.
What changes do you think we will see in the fashion industry coming out of the pandemic?
We already see a lot of consolidation among the large companies, from luxury conglomerates to fast fashion. For all the sustainability talk out there, I am a bit skeptical that we will see a major shift in the way the majority of companies operate. I strongly believe that legislation is the only way to change behavior across the sector by imposing new rules and penalizing the polluters. The "polluter pays" principle would be most effective. Some of the EU member countries have started to consider this option before the pandemic. I am hopeful that the trend will continue and here, in the US under the new administration we will take a new stand against poor quality textile imports intended to be worn only a couple of times, dumping of excess inventories, environmental and human exploitation.
What do you think is the one most important sustainability issue to be informed about as a person who loves investing in their style?
The most sustainable thing any of us can do is to consume less and consume better. If we all made high-quality choices that could be worn for years to come, we would reduce the depletion of natural resources and would decrease pollution.
What is your favorite sustainable Santicler product and why?
My personal favorite is the Ellen merino wool sweater. Merino is an incredible yarn with antibacterial and natural temperature regulating properties which make it incredibly comfortable and practical to wear. This specific style is light enough to be worn all year round, easy to machine wash, and perfect for travel. I've worn mine everywhere, including as a base layer down the slopes. It holds its shape phenomenally well, has no pilling and goes with everything.
How do you reason when you shop for clothes, accessories or beauty products?
I tend to shop only when I absolutely need something. I very rarely shop for clothes or accessories these days, while beauty products I purchased once I used the last drop from what I have. Because I shop less, I can splurge and I pick items of the highest quality. I spend less today on clothing, accessories and beauty than I used to spend 10 years ago, yet I am better dressed than ever.
Favorite profile on Instagram for sustainable living?
There isn't one specific profile on Instagram that I absolutely love. I enjoy following Eco/Cult for its brilliant articles and GoodOnYou to discover new brands that are doing a great job in sustainability.
Thank you Monica!