Mairin and Ranganaki getting ready to leave for the farm having breakfast together
I joined the Christy Dawn team to help them make the shift to a farm-to-closet company. I am so honored to be a part of this journey because the community at Christy Dawn has given me the space to be creative and discover an unconventional approach to regenerative fashion. The goal of the project is to create systems that regenerate the Earth and her people. We figured that sustaining is not enough, we have to help heal and bolster our community. While developing this project, we are relying on instinct and what feels right, rather than what other brands have outlined or done in the past. We are trusting our gut, along with a lot of research and second opinions.
That being said, nothing we are doing is perfect: it will take time and intention to create dresses that reach our high environmental, social and quality criteria. The decisions we make along the way are not rigid. We are constantly evolving and learning to figure out what works and what doesn’t, as well as sharing our steps and learnings with our entire community.
My favorite thing about working with Christy Dawn is how much we value our community. A huge focus of this journey is reciprocal relationships. Every member of the project, including Mother Earth, reaps its benefits. Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife ecology, said, “we can only be ethical in relationship to something we can see, understand, feel, love, or otherwise have faith in.” This is the core ethos of Christy Dawn’s farm to closet journey—we are creating personal connections and taking honest steps towards experiencing and understanding all the people and ecosystems involved in creating our dresses.
Last month, I had the privilege of visiting India. Although I have been in contact with the community in India for months over Whatsapp and Skype, the impact of meeting them in-person was immeasurable. More than ever, I feel responsible to foster a reciprocal relationship with every member of the community creating Christy Dawn fabric.
There is a couple that has lived on and worked with the land where our cotton is growing for over fifty years. Eswari, the wife, told me she has only met the landlords a handful of times, and we were the first people who actually came and created a personal connection with her. Because of this, she will make sure that our cotton is healthy and bountiful. Prior to the trip, I talked to experts in ethical supply chains, wrote a stringent code of conduct for Christy Dawn, and read as many studies as I could about living wages in rural southern India. But checking those boxes does not necessarily create a culture of respect and mutual care, it takes meeting her in person to foster that relationship. Now, like Eswari I will make sure I do everything I can so that she benefits equally from this relationship.
Each member of this project contributes their own piece to the whole. It is a beautiful collection of knowledge, expertise, and passion that will grow and evolve into a regenerative ecosystem. When we started this project, the Christy Dawn team and I talked about creating a solution for other brands to co-opt. Although this is still one of our intentions, it has become clear that the intimate relationships we are fostering are unique to Christy Dawn. My hope is that Christy Dawn will lead by example and other brands will mimic our intention and care to create positive change in their respective communities.
Through becoming a farm to closet company, Christy Dawn is making a serious commitment to Mother Earth and her community. I am confident that we will create a positive impact toward a regenerative and healing future because we are taking a more feminine, softer approach to supply chain development. We are not dictating what boxes our suppliers must tick off to fit a rigid definition of sustainability, rather we are listening to our community and making decisions that have the biggest positive impact on as many members as possible.
a shelf of Ranganaki’s favorite possessions including a photo of her and her husband
Meet The Community on the Farm
The farm consists of a vibrant community of people, plants and animals. Each member of the community brings their own essential expertise to the farm. Meet and learn about the diverse biodiversity and people on the farm.