Kymberly Maitland-Smith wears her love for nature and fashion
By Deneb Batucan
KYMBERLY Maitland-Smith grew up traveling the world. She spent her formative years in different places from Cebu to London to Ho Chi Minh City to Phuket. But as she says, she wouldn’t want to change anything from her childhood. As she immersed herself in different kinds of cultures, she found her love for creativity.
“I was a sporty girl who loved being outdoors surrounded by nature, but I also loved to draw, write, read, direct plays with friends, design costumes for talent shows, swim, cycle and play tennis with my dad and sister,” she said.
Kym’s interest in design led to fashion. “My interest in fashion stuck by me since the day I learned what clothes were! I always played dress up in my mom’s room and still have my fashion design sketches from when I was eight years old.”
With her love for both sports and fashion, Kym decided to create Solti. Solti is Kym’s very own line of activewear — clothes made for the active lifestyle whether it’s for the beach, gym, or any kind of sport.
She started her line a year ago but it was publicly launched in August this year. The name Solti came after brainstorming for hours on her bed surrounded by scraps of paper filled with notes and random words. “I came up with it after jotting down everything that surrounds an active lifestyle: sun, salt water, and perspiration. Sun translated into Spanish is ‘sol’ and into French is ‘soleil.’ I ended up with a word that sounds like salty, but spelt as sol,” she said.
LIFESTYLE CHOICE. A vegan, Kym writes about her lifestyle choice in her blog, VanillaAddiction.com.
Kym loves being under the sun and swimming in the sea, so she created pieces that she and other sporty women can wear for these occasions and more. Solti’s activewear can be worn for any kind of sport or exercise. It is versatile with a sleek and basic design that has the comfort of the wearer in mind. Most of its pieces are reversible too, which helps its patrons buy less, store less, and pack less when you travel.
But aside from these lovely things, there is something else that makes Solti unique.
The fashion industry may have created so many beautiful things, but it comes with a price. Quality textiles go to waste every year, taking up lots of space in landfills and causing terrible water and air pollution. So Kym, as a nature lover, wanted to make clothes that can help lessen waste and pollution in the Philippines.
“Our fabrics have been recycled from excess textiles that come from larger manufacturers to help lessen landfill space and of course reduce waste and pollution,” she said. Through its holistic approach, Solti’s products are made with its customers and the planet in mind.
With Kym’s love for nature comes her love for all animals. She shares her home with numerous cats, dogs and even goats. Her love for animals has pushed her to change to a lifestyle that has made her healthier in more ways than one: veganism.
“After doing research on the effects of eating meat on the body and watching documentaries about animal farming, I just couldn’t ignore all the issues,” she said. “Now I feel better about myself and feel healthier than ever! When people ask me where I get my energy from, I reply, ‘Plants!’”
But even when veganism has benefited her for the better, it doesn’t mean that being vegan is easy. “I won’t lie, it’s not that easy eating out here, but it was a choice I made and there’s nothing that makes me feel better than knowing that I don’t support animal cruelty in any way. I don’t believe animals are here on earth for us to eat, and I don’t believe that we should use them for experiments or as entertainment. I believe in equality among all creatures, and that has really helped me fulfill self-love,” she said. Kym also writes about veganism and shares her vegan recipes in her blog, VanillaAddiction.com.
The natural beauty of the earth has inspired Kym in many of her lifestyle choices and even in her business. She could only hope that her effort in keeping our planet livable won’t be put to waste and that more people would be like her who is using her talents to make a dent at making the world a better place — all while still being fashionable.
(*Browse through Solti’s online store and have a glimpse of eco-friendly fashion at www.soltiactivewear.com.)
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome