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Behind the Scenes: The Story of Bead & Reel

Sica Schmitz

Posted on December 01 2014

Behind the Scenes: The Story of Bead & Reel

I have spent the past 10 years in various parts of the fashion industry - retail management, fashion school, internships in fashion editorial and PR, and a few jaunts into fashion design. And here's what I've learned: fashion is often not pretty.

Whether exploiting people, animals, or the environment, much of what I saw left me feeling anywhere from uncomfortable to just plain shocked. 

The past 6 years I segued into Costume Design working in film, television, and theater, where it wasn't simply about designing the latest trends or selling people things they didn't need, it was about telling stories and creating characters through what is worn. When someone walks on screen or on stage you instantly get a general or specific ideas about them - what time period, what country, what demographic or income level or job they may belong to. Costumes tell you who a person is, often subtly, often in ways you didn't even consciously notice. 

Sica Schmitz

Over time I started to think more and more about my self, my "character" and what my personal clothing choices were saying about me. Despite my ideals of humanitarianism, veganism, and environmentalism, when it came to what I wore that story simply wasn't being told. I didn't know where the things in my closet were made, or by who, or what chemicals may be in the fabrics or what dyes spent the day on my skin. I didn't think about the human or animal lives that may have been diminished or lost because of what I bought and I didn't think about my purchasing power to influence the world around me. 

I realized I need to change my clothes in order to tell a more truthful story about myself.

I started doing a lot of research: which brands, which fibers, which processes did I wanted to include in the story of who I am? What truly represented me? It wasn't always easy to find things that fit with both my personal values and my personal style. Frustrated with this conclusion, I decided to fix it.

Sica Schmitz Bead & Reel

I decided to create the place that I wanted to shop, a place that offers comfortable, current, flattering styles carefully chosen because they are trying to make the world a little bit better. A place where qualities like Vegan, Organic, Recycled, Fair Trade, Made in America, Gives Back, and Woman Owned are standard, not the exception. A boutique where other like-minded shoppers can easily find pieces they can feel proud wearing and find companies they are comfortable supporting. 

I decided to create Bead & Reel, my story about Ethical Fashion, my story about great style with great kindness to people, animals, and our world. And I think together, we can give this story a happy ending.

I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur


  • Katherine Moralez: September 16, 2018

    I love your story! I’m in my late 50’s and am going through some tuff times but my dream has always been to have a boutique, clothes and jewelry that are different and vegan! Any tips for a woman who wants that business starting from scratch:)🐾❤️

  • Stacy: October 27, 2016

    I love your website!

  • Dinandrea: May 28, 2016

    So glad we met today, Sica! I feel like you’re my socially-enterprisimg twin sprit!! We have eerily similar world views. I live your perspective, outlook and overall sense of responsibility. What you are doing is beautiful. I hope to work with you soon!

  • lisa : March 02, 2016

    beautiful interview xx

  • Jen from Ottawa : February 09, 2016

    I love this. Conscientious, aware living. It’s nice to hear about people like you who are acting purposefully and ethically. The world needs a lot more people like you.

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