Debbie Aflalo on Why Sustainability is a Big Part of her Eco-Friendly Swimwear Brand
To many, the fashion world is seen as one of the most wasteful industries in the world. According to Earth.org, it produces over 101.4 millions tons of waste, which is why so many environmental activists oppose fast fashion brands as they further contribute to this growing problem.
Coming from the beautiful Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic, Debbie Aflalo has lived her life surrounded by nature and this offered her with an acute understanding of why and how people need to do what they can to protect the environment.
The former Miss Azua 2021 tells People Chica, "Because I believe that with this platform, I have an opportunity to promote a healthier environment. What better way to do it than using eco-friendly materials and recycled fabrics to be chic at the beach?"
Aflalo, who went on to represent the Dominican Republic at Miss Universe 2021, discusses how she combined practical fashion that answered the needs of women with her conscious decision to make the world a better place.
The pageant world is much more rigorous than people anticipate or truly understand. What was the biggest lesson you learned about yourself during your time as Miss Azua 2021 and as the 2021 delegate for the Dominican Republic for Miss Universe?
I would say the biggest lesson I learned about myself was how strong and fierce I can be when trying to achieve my goals. As beautiful as the contest is, it tends to attract a lot of hate towards us delegates. This was in particular challenging for myself but my heart decided to remain pure and compassionate. I chose love above hate. No matter how hard things get I'll never give up.
As time progresses, consumer trends and lifestyles begin to change, and more people are looking to buy from brands that consider the environment. Coming from an island country with a vibrant coastline, why was it essential for your bathing suit brand to be eco-friendly?
Because I believe that with this platform, I have an opportunity to promote a healthier environment. What better way to do it than using eco-friendly materials and recycled fabrics to be chic at the beach? Realizing this is only a small step that can have an impact.
Finding the perfect bathing suit can be difficult for many women. What do you hope your designs will help women feel once they try them on?
When developing the fit of these bikinis I put a lot of focus on things that we as women feel uncomfortable with when wearing bikinis and that's why DA swimwear has plenty of options in styles and [sizes] with quality fabric.
It was also important to solve an issue that many of my friends, myself, and other women sometimes face with bathing suits, and that's having a perfect fit in the front so there's no risk of cameltoe. Obviously, having it eco-friendly made it more of a challenge, but we were able to find the perfect match.
Now that you're entering the world of entrepreneurship, what lesson have you learned about the business that you feel all women should take into account?
Success doesn't come as a gift; you have to work and work hard for it. Nothing in life is free; I'm a big believer in what you work for, and how hard you work at it will determine your success.
You've achieved much success within the pageant world. Are there any transferable skills you've gained being a "Miss" that you've infused into your business?
My strongest skill gained was time management; being a "Miss" had a very demanding schedule where every minute matters with this platform, [and] I only have a short period of time to make an impact.