Chic style that is made consciously happens to be a play on word when it comes to jewelry that can capture any eye from anywhere in the room in this case. When it comes to fitting the true definition of empowering the world in just even one piece, Cassandra Ciarallo, Founder of “Chic Made Consciously” has set herself to be in the thesaurus of fashion.
The path to founding her own company happened unconventionally. Cassandra started out studying business at the University of Toronto hoping to end up in a career of accounting. She worked at BMO for a few years, but the journey of investment was not her fate. While knowing the corporate life just wasn’t for her, Cassandra spent some time abroad, even teaching English in Korea for a year. “Travelling to South East Asia, opened my eyes to a world I never knew. At the last leg of my trip, I met these artisans in Indonesia, who were upcycling tires into fashion accessories and the artisan in the shop was super cool” with a smile on her face Cassandra continued. “He offered me to work with him that day so I spent the whole afternoon, making pieces, using different tools and I had a blast, at the time he was making an order for Austria. These lightbulbs went off in my head and were like “Omg, they export” I was asking a bunch of questions. At the time they didn’t happen to have any distribution to Canada. I took some back home and offered to expand, which they did. I started that after a few months. Then through that, it started to uncover a lot about the fashion industry.”
A lot of the pieces the artists were designing were gender fluid as well and that influenced Cassandra to continue to design with that in mind. Which we brought up the point of why we need to put a label on what is “men’s” and what is “women’s”. You should be able to walk into a store and pick up what you feel is comfortable without a sign and shouldn’t be judged by it. Oh, how we love a queen that supports humans as “they or them” especially in personal style.
This also stirred conversation into fast fashion and though ethical and sustainable style is a niche market, you can proudly say it isn’t at the expense of someone else’s life. “The things we see for $5 or $10, those people making the product are only making cents compared to how it is marked up,” stated Cassandra. “We only see the price tag, we don’t see the environmental or human cost. There might be a comparable product that is $50, but it’s because a human being was paid for what they are doing fairly. At the end of the day is quantity over quality. It’s the cycle of filling up a landfill.”
Not too long ago, Cassandra posted on her Instagram story about how she is blessed to live in a city where entrepreneurs are nurtured. But touching on a political note with Doug Ford making cuts to those in the arts and beyond, we had to know if she was in power taking his position *god please*, what changes she would make for her fellow dream chasers. “What inspired to make that post was, attending this info session for a grant that the Ontario Centre of Excellence was offering. I had office hours with somebody after which I told them my story and he said “wow, you have a really great business” It’s encouraging to hear those words, especially when you are doing it on your own. Entrepreneurship is often glamorized, you have the flexibility to do what you want but it’s f*kin hard sometimes” continued Cassandra. “I have had super low days and you have to get back on your two feet. It was about a lot about how there is funding for businesses that are doing good things and not every day we hear about these opportunities. What I would do differently if I was Doug Ford? I mean obviously, I have a completely opposite view of what he is but having more access to funding and resource centers for artists. I think through collaboration is when we excel.”
With the countless places, Cassandra has seen, her unseeable traveling is looking forward to where she will be headed to next. Hmm, this summer, adventuring across Canada sounds like a pretty good idea. “The plan is to go to the west coast and do some festivals there. I am looking forward to expanding the brand across the country and then take it into places like California. I would love to take it to Australia, as well. There is a big movement there for eco-fashion, especially in Melbourne. I am curious to see how I can build a community that is like-minded and shifting people to purchase consciously”.
Rad and Raw were thrilled to sit down with the future of sustainability and continue to have the conversation of spreading positive footprints. To keep up with Cassandra and “Chic Made Consciously” follow her on Instagram HERE and visit her site HERE to get that shopping bug out of you!
Last but not least….STYLE SESH!
How Cassandra would style her favorite piece the “Martina”:
- You can really dress it up or super grungy.
- What she was wearing on the day of the interview ( Blazer and Jeans) is the perfect combo to show it off and do so much with it.
- The ring piece is adjustable so you can put it on different fingers.
- The chain makes you feel really badass!
- Versatility is key for Cassandra.
- Remember it’s gender friendly! The first time she sold this to a guy, her heart jumped! So men, get debit/credit swiping!
Photographer: Emily Nicole Neill Models: Samira Maharaj, Jay Rowe, Max Claude Makeup Artist: Layal Semaan