DAWN DENIM: 100 points for honest sustainability
The name of the young denim label Dawn Denim is a literal call to action and stands for the start of a truly honest fair fashion era. Ideally, Ines Rust and Marian von Rappard want their company, which they founded in Berlin five years ago, to be the “blueprint for a fundamentally sustainable business model”.
The dynamic producer and label founder Marian von Rappard openly explains that the reason theirs is the only company so far to have achieved all 100 points in the Fair Wear Foundation’s performance check is because they run their own textile factory in Saigon, Vietnam. Because Dawn Denim produce their products in their own facility, they are able to set a new standard and perhaps also be a role model in terms of environmental awareness, fairness and transparency.
Marian von Rappard and Ines Rust’s commitment and experience as fashion producers has matured over the course of their professional careers. Marian has also been producing goods for other labels in Saigon for several years. He has had many opportunities to look behind the scenes of conventional fashion factories and has seen the deplorable working conditions and catastrophic environmental impact with his own eyes.
“And I got to the point where I said, ‘Enough is enough’.”
Marian von Rappard founded the denim brand Dawn Denim together with fashion designer and Berliner by choice Ines Rust in 2015 and decided to relocate to Berlin two years ago. They enjoy growing their brand in the hopeful atmosphere of the sustainability scene here and being active in a community characterised by diversity, commitment and innovation.
“Fair fits better” is the brand’s slogan. And for the two newcomers, fairness also means honesty in all things. For instance, the honesty to say, “We can’t do that yet” or “We can do better”. They both have a deep dislike of greenwashing and the big promotional hullabaloo about duty of care that should actually be a matter of course.
For Marian and Ines, transparency means that the quality standard of the raw materials – such as the organic cotton and the hemp for the denim fabric – as well as the working conditions of the factory employees are continuously monitored.
Holistic true cost determination for the honest success index.
That is one of the primary tasks and the KPI of Dawn Denim, in order to present the feasibility, but also the challenges, of fair fashion production and the logistics to the industry. “Basically, we need to start redefining sustainability from the ground up as an indisputable business approach and as the foundation for all business activities.”
For Dawn Denim, honesty also means inviting their own community to contribute their own creativity; for instance, when it comes to developing the diversity of cuts and sizes in jeans that followers on Instagram are pushing for. The Dawn Denim team responds to the comments and explains that they still need to gain the knowhow needed to develop a good cut for super-curvy women. “But how about we tackle it together – i.e. with your input?” And voilà, in next to no time, they’ve identified markets and target groups and have set something inspiring in motion.
Circularity as a bandwagon for new creativity and innovative marketing.
And the production waste – i.e. faulty jeans that didn’t pass the quality controls and would normally end up in the rubbish container – is now being recycled and repurposed as “canvases” for Swedish embroidery artist Sofia Holt’s work. She darns holes and small defects and covers them with creative patterns, figures, icons and messages. “Art on Broken Pieces” evolved into a collection that was so well received that a small embroidery facility in Saigon was commissioned with producing the second edition.
The Tip Me initiative was brought onboard to establish a personal connection with the embroiderers in the Far East. Dawn Denim producers describe their life’s dreams in short video clips on the website and on social media, and Tip Me makes it possible to donate money without even having to make a purchase. “Fair fits better” – and feels better too. // Uta Gruenberger