Who says affordable fashion can't feel special? Sure, we love Zara and H&M as much as the next person, but mass retailers aren't the only way to look stylish without dropping a lot of cash. Enter Christy Dawn, an on-the-rise indie dress designer who is dedicated to eco-friendly design processes and bringing that special, just-for-me feeling back into the fashion realm.
Her dresses are made locally in Los Angeles using deadstock fabric, which is leftover fabric from other designers that was never sold to the public. She also produces them in limited quantities—between two and 20 of each dress are usually sold—so you know you're not going to walk into a room with tons of other girls wearing your dress. To get the inside scoop on her burgeoning brand, we went directly to the source, chatting with Christy Dawn herself.
Scroll down to read our exclusive interview with Christy Dawn and learn more about her amazing brand!
Who What Wear: Can you talk a bit about your background and how you got into designing?
Christy Dawn: When I was younger, I would buy vintage pieces, and my mom and I would alter them to fit me. I’ve always had an idea in the back of my head that one day I’d want to have my own dress line. Then in my modeling career, I spent so many days in other people’s clothing, wearing other people’s designs. One day I came home from a shoot and decided I was going to bring my ideas to life. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for the response. The first dresses sold out so quickly. A few weeks went by and every dress on the site was sold out!
WWW: What does being eco-friendly mean to you?
CD: For me being eco-friendly is all about mind-set. We are all a part of this bountiful, beautiful planet, connected to each other in a million ways. Each one of our actions has countless ripples. I want my ripples to bring beauty and joy. I focus on leaving people and things better off than when I met them.
WWW: Why did you decide to use deadstock fabric?
CD: When I started Christy Dawn, my underlying philosophy was Do what you love. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. I wanted everything about Christy Dawn to reflect my values. Seeing the impact that printing fabrics has on the environment, I felt compelled to look for a more sustainable way to make our dresses. The nice benefit of using deadstock is a dress in any particular print is limited to a very small number. Women get to have a one-of-a-kind dress in their wardrobe.
WWW: How are you supporting local artisans?
CD: Each and every one of our dresses is made here in Los Angeles. All of our dressmakers are paid a living wage and treated as valuable members of the Christy Dawn team because they are truly artists. I’d like to think we have the best dressmakers in L.A.
WWW: Why is it important for you to produce your dresses in limited quantities?
CD: We produce between two and 20 of each dress. I think this makes them special. It's nice to know that only a few other girls on the planet have the dress you have. To that end, we put a lot of emphasis on packaging. Each dress that's ordered online comes in a cedarwood box with a small bundle of lavender and a burlap/canvas Christy Dawn tote. I want women to appreciate all of the craftsmanship that went into making her dress.
WWW: What do you think sets you apart from other designers?
CD: I think we are all so unique, not just designers but people in general. We are constantly being pressured to conform to some ideal, to tone down ourselves. In response to that, I design clothes that I want to wear, clothes that I love. I think that very act of designing for myself is what sets me apart.
WWW: Can you talk a bit about your design process, from start to finish?
CD: Usually I’ll come up with an idea for a dress and sketch it out. Then I’ll hunt for deadstock fabric. (Tip for anyone looking to start your own line: Ragfinders is the best for deadstock.) I’ll meet with my pattern maker, Kimberly, and we’ll go over the details of the dress. Once she’s made the pattern, we make a first sample and then do a fitting. Kimberly adjusts the pattern, and we make a second sample and have another fitting. Sometimes that's all we need and it's off to grading and then production, but oftentimes we have to make a few more adjustments to get a perfect fit.
Shop our favorite Christy Dawn dresses:
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