In July, my family and I packed up our van and headed North. We drove through the stunning coastlines of California, meandering slowly towards the awe-inspiring forests of Northern California, Oregon, and finally our destination - a small island off Washington’s coast.
I love the never-ending landscape of a road trip. Watching roads bleed into sunrises and sunsets, pastures turning green to gold and back again, over and over. The diversity of the ecosystems that make up our home is awe-inspiring, it becomes the perfect backdrop for the flow of creativity and the entire experience is deeply grounding. In Oregon, we visited the National Redwood Forest, marveling beneath the canopy of ancient trees that stand like proud guardians of the land. Their grandiosity puts things in perspective, these trees are a potent example of nature’s power and resilience.
As we began our journey back down the coast, I was overwhelmed by the state of my home. In LA, we experienced some of the hottest temperatures in history, resulting in devastating fires that choked the air with stifling yellow smoke. For far too long, we have been extracting and exploiting nature and in many ways, we have reached a tipping point. Fire, which used to be an indigenous tool for forest regeneration, has become an unbridled, chaotic force that destroys not only the flora, but ecosystemic benefits that it once provided.
At Christy Dawn, we have been walking along the path to transition from being a sustainable company to a regenerative one. We understand that we are not separate from Mother Earth, her pain is our pain and her health is our health. Through regeneration, we can bring back the reciprocal balance of give and take, breaking the cycle of extractive human tendencies. We have all the tools to achieve this, they are within age-old, indigenous wisdom, different cultures, modern innovations that are proven to reverse climate change, and in all of our daily practices.
Looking up at the sky, witnessing the transition from clear blue into smoke, I still feel hopeful for the future. I feel grateful that Christy Dawn has chosen a path towards healing and regeneration. This summer alone, we have increased our regenerative agriculture acreage, working with nature, not against her, in order to restore the soil. We have invested in offsetting the carbon we produce, including ways for our community to become aware and get involved. We have upcycled thousands of yards of deadstock into beautiful dresses, continuing our sustainability efforts as this project develops. My hope is that in leading by example, we can spread awareness. As people awaken to the possibilities of regeneration, we will all become caretakers of our future and Mother Earth.
This summer was busy on the farm. The farmers at Oshadi Collective have been working hard on the three different plots of land. All three plots of land are abundant ecosystems with a diversity of crops and animals.
The first plot was the original 4 acres that we are now growing Indigo on! Indigo is a legume and an amazing rotation crop with cotton. The nodules in the root of the indigo plant fixate the nitrogen compounds in the soil to replenish the soil’s nitrogen for next year’s plants.
The second plot of land is 20 acres of cotton. This summer, the farmers have been working hard to harvest all of the cotton and start processing it. Each cotton boll is hand-picked then dried in the sun for a day before going to a gin to remove the seeds. Even with unprecedented rainfall this year, the cotton yield is higher than expected!
The third plot is 10 new acres of land for cotton. The farmers prepared the land, sowed the cotton seeds, and built permaculture beds. After all that we have learned from the first 24 acres, we are so excited to work with this new plot.
Reducing Our Footprint With Each Dress Shipped
We love being able to share our dresses with the global Christy Dawn community. But sending our dresses around the world is not without its downside: shipping is an environmental cost that we have to live with. Although we have to ship our dresses, we can invest in projects that offset the impact of it. This summer we have officially become carbon neutral in our shipping.
We have partnered with 3Degrees and EcoCart to help redistribute the emissions created when shipping our packages. With their help, Christy Dawn and our community invest in projects that either convert potential greenhouse gases into a resource, absorb greenhouse gases into the soil and flora, or create renewable energy to replace greenhouse gas-producing energy sources. Christy Dawn now offsets greenhouse gas emissions for every order shipped, ensuring all outgoing packages are carbon neutral. Customers can also now choose to make their shipment carbon positive at checkout, allowing their package to go beyond achieving net-zero carbon emissions and actively work to reverse climate change.
This summer, our talented team of dressmakers continued to create beautiful Christy Dawn dresses in our downtown LA factory. Each member of our team is part of the Christy Dawn family and we make sure to honor their work. That is why we ensure that all of our employees are paid above the living wage in Los Angeles that meets both basic needs and provides discretionary funds.
The vast majority of our dresses were made with deadstock, upcycled fabric from larger fashion houses. Most clothing companies order more fabric than they need for their collections just in case and that excess fabric is resold to the market or thrown into landfills. We sort through warehouses full of these fabrics to find ones with beautiful potential that we can transform into beloved dresses.
Total Fabric Upcycled:
Upcycled into Dresses:
Upcycled into Masks:
This summer, we donated masks to various nonprofits and organizations to help support communities during these unprecedented times.
This summer we released our very first extended sizing collection, a project that has been over a year in the making. Our Christy Dawn production coordinator, Valeria, took the lead on bringing this to life, carrying it through from start to finish, and even modeling some of the pieces herself! This collection includes the best of Christy Dawn- our most beloved silhouettes, fabrics to live in, and the perfect fit. As we plan future collections for the next year, we aim to have regular inclusion of extended and petite sizing for all of our favorite pieces.
Closing the Loop
Through our partnership with thredUP, the Christy Dawn community is working to keep clothing out of landfills, and into new hands for the opportunity to live another lifetime.
Want to participate? Clean out your closet with thredUP and receive shopping credit to spend on Christy Dawn. Learn more here.
Items Resold or Recycled: 4,878
This fall and winter we are finishing up the harvest and processing of our first Farm-to-Closet collection! We have spent over a year planning this special collection of dresses and are so honored to offer these truly regenerative dresses to our community. Follow along on our Farm-to-Closet journey at our journal here!