Denver is no stranger to sustainable fashion. Over the years, the city has rightfully become a creative hub for fashion innovators to continue to grow and evolve the art form into something even greater. That’s why several local designers that walk among us have taken the stance to fully commit to more ethical and environmentally responsible practices of slow fashion.
With this in mind, YUCCA — Denver based sustainable online boutique — has also been making its unique imprint on the local sustainable fashion scene by combining minimalism and modernity as one. “Sustainability leaves no room for compromise, so in 2015 when we first dreamt up YUCCA, the vision was clear from the first moment. We focus on sustainability because it is the only way to responsibly run a business,” YUCCA’s owner and founder Kimberly Keim explained.
The boutique initially began with only an online presence but has tried growing its physical roots with two previous locations – including an appointment-only shop in Sloan’s Lake and a pop-up at the Free Market downtown. While the pop-up was short lived, due to COVID-19, YUCCA is happy to announce that it has finally found a home base in the Park Hill neighborhood.
An excess of garment waste and dangerous contaminants congregating across our planet’s shores, ecosystems and humanly inhabited areas have made the idea of simplicity not just a coveted virtue anymore, but a blatant necessity for future survival. Whether it be the clothes you wear or the inanimate objects you surround yourself with, minimalism can have a refreshing take amidst a world riddled by fast and irresponsible fashion.
“Minimalism, while not simple, gives people a more honest and approachable option for their style. We love pieces that work hard for us and for the planet. Easy neutrals allow us to blend the few pieces that we own into a wider range of outfits, and simple jewelry and adornments are always a good investment. Thoroughly enjoying pieces that are well made and timeless makes life easier. And knowing that you’re investing in a community, not just a piece, makes life better.”
YUCCA’s curated selection of women’s clothing and accessories make it apparent that a clean and modern aesthetic is at the basis of its inception. Keim expressed how this inspiration comes from those behind the boutique having years of travel, experience, and owning businesses that have unveiled the benefits of a less is more lifestyle. “Living is honestly never clean or simple, but dressing the part truly helps face what comes our way. Sustainable fashion, as well as sustainable accessories and home goods, all promote a clean aesthetic and lifestyle; and we love making that available to our followers,” she emphasized.
Each piece found throughout YUCCA’s chicly eccentric collection, according to Keim, is a culmination of strategic partnerships with brands that similarly hold themselves accountable to becoming the most responsible versions of themselves.
While Keim did explain that the boutique doesn’t have a checklist when considering brands to collaborate with, she did say that it carefully looks at brands’ sustainability practices related to both products and materials and the compensation and treatment of all those who contribute — up and down the supply chain. “We also look into whether or not the brand has supply chain certification and how the brand gives back, or reinvests into humanitarian, social and environmental causes.” Wearability, usability, function and comfort are equally as important to Keim. Regardless of how “good” a company is perceived to be, she said, if its products don’t make people happy it doesn’t matter.
Of course, running a business that promotes the betterment of the environment and society-at-large can be viewed as an admirable feat, it doesn’t come without its challenges.
From navigating through restrictions caused by the pandemic’s global frenzy, supply chain issues and goods coming from other countries — just to name a few — are regular obstacles encountered while running a sustainable fashion shop. Interestingly, Keim shared that conveying the value and story of pieces YUCCA sells is something quite difficult to express in full to its customers. She explained that value is indeed tied to the manufacturing, but everything from the fabric to the fabrication is done sustainably, by hand and by people who are being fairly compensated in positions and countries where they generally aren’t.
At the end of the day, Keim finds supporting others genuinely rewarding. “It’s rewarding knowing that with each piece that we sell, the entire supply chain is being nourished, and again, people are fairly compensated for work that they do, in positions where they generally aren’t.”
Having YUCCA’s official brick and mortar debut helps make its promise to sustainability and the uplifting of like-minded brands that much sweeter. Keim thinks of the boutique’s next chapter in Park Hill as a neighborhood spot, not just a store. She told us that it will ultimately allow YUCCA to continue to expand upon having a little bit of something for everyone. “As the climate in Denver begins to relax, and shopping becomes safe again, we hope to be the type of store where friends can run into one another, and people can feel safe and comfortable finding a look and style that makes them feel great.”