World traveller, fashion influencer, author, and now founder of her own brand Chufy, Sofia Sanchez de Betak has done it all. Born in Buenos Aires, Sofia now lives in New York City with her husband Alexandre de Betak. Sofia is a brand ambassador for Mango and has previously worked with Chloe, Valentino, Vogue and Condé Nast Traveller just to name a few. Inspired by her love of travel and fashion, Sofia founded Chufy in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. Parlour X speaks to Sofia about her travels, her brand and the importance she places on sustainable fashion.
Describe your early years. You have spoken of your travels with your mother throughout your childhood. Please elaborate...
My mom is my travel mentor, she’s shown me the world in the most spontaneous and daring way, she’s helped me challenge my fears and understand relativity through exploration. She’s taken us on exotic trips since I recon, she always said while fighting with our school that I would learn so much more from a week traveling than a week there, and she was right! Nothing like understanding history, geography, or art while actually experiencing it.
I studied graphic design and art direction, and when graduating I moved to NY and found a job at a fashion advertising agency, worked there for a few years before going freelance. I did art direction for Estee Lauder, Bottega, Derek Lam, Belstaff, Louis Vuitton, among others. Shortly after Instagram showed up in our lives and then I started getting requests for collaborations and endorsements. I also published a book with Assouline about off the beaten path destinations. And in the last few years, I decided to create my own brand inspired by traveling and exploration.
Explain the initial inspiration behind the launch of Chufy in 2017. Where did the idea to start your own brand come from?
It kind of happened when a retailer asked me to come up with a special collection for them, so I proposed doing something about and with Argentinian artisans and designers, collaborating with my country, inspired by my roots. Then one thing led to another and now I have a team of 10 people who I love sharing the journey with.
Where do you gain inspiration from?
Everywhere! Someone I met, an artist I stumbled upon, a landscape that dazzled me, a song I heard... It is hard not to be inspired by every fascinating corner of this world.
Explain Chufy’s aesthetic.
It’s a feeling more than an aesthetic. That feeling of fascination you get on holidays, the liveliness, the joy, the stimulation. We combine all that visual experience with a very comfortable and cool style. Easy to wear pieces that transpire happiness and joy, a strong attitude, pieces you can wear day to night, beach to city.
You & your husband Alexandre de Betak (Fashion Show Designer & Art Director) make a fabulous fashion team. Have you collaborated on any projects since the launch of Chufy?
We’re always by each other's side, advising each other and helping each other, but we haven’t really collaborated.
How do you continue to creatively evolve?
I study, I travel, I meditate, I read, I look up to the sky, the trees, the birds... I try to evolve in every aspect of life, growing and learning, getting nurtured by everything that surrounds me.
Is your design approach intuitive or measured?
Explain the importance of sustainability in your business.
There is no planet without sustainability, there is no future for our kids without an ethical approach to everything that surrounds us. That is how I see it, my sustainable practices apply to every aspect of my life, and I am learning, and trying my best every day. As a company, brand and individuals we always strive to reduce our environmental footprint. As a fashion label, fabric selection is a key factor for us; 80% of our fabrics come from organic fibres such as viscose, cotton and silk. A small percentage of our fabrics have synthetic fibres, and this is due to the textile industry being in its developmental stages. However, the small percentage of synthetic fibres in our garments will only be utilized until we can achieve high quality and resistant fabrics to fulfil our needs. Synthetic fabrics generate polluting particles during their production process, and when garments end up in landfills, they can take years to disintegrate. After several tests we decided to include organic fabrics with Fairtrade and GOTS certifications in the Ancient Burma Collection. Furthermore, a key point for us is to produce the fabrics in the same geographical location where we produced the garments. This process reduces the distance of the fabric transporting to the factory and also empowers the local industrial culture and workers.
Where do you spend the majority of your time?
At home, I'm a very homey person.
Describe the Chufy woman in three words.
Confident, curious and daring.
Pictured: Sofia on her travels.
What advice do you have for emerging creatives or design talent?
Do it if you love it, let nothing stop you, work on your community, and make sure you enjoy the ride, because it’s not about the destination.
What is next for Chufy?
We have a very exciting collaboration launching this summer, with an amazing artist. Together we’ve created these beautiful prints and styles that I can’t wait to share!