Ethics & Sustainability
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with you our commitment to both sustainability and ethical production! Although we are nowhere near perfect, we are constantly working with our suppliers and testing new initiatives. Please read on for more info on where we’re currently focusing our energies in this direction.
Ethical Production and Dôen’s Commitment to Closing the Gender Gap
Dôen sources globally, and manufactures with socially compliant, mostly vertical factories in the United States, Peru, India, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Romania, and Vietnam. Our sourcing strategy is based largely on the availability of quality raw materials, responsible factories, and regional techniques. Examples of this sourcing strategy include the import of our handknit alpaca sweaters and pima cotton t-shirts from Peru, and our use of raw silk, intricate handwork, and traditional printing techniques from India. We are committed to long term partnerships with factories that are women-owned and women-run. Our factories have been audited for social compliance; in these third party compliance audits, we evaluate gender and social equality indicators including percentage of management roles held by women, ownership structure of factory, presence of an internal worker’s union, and if the factory has established any foundations or organizations to directly benefit their employees or the surrounding community.
Here are a few of the programs started by our overseas partners that we would like to share:
New Delhi, India: Dôen’s largest supplier in New Delhi, India has started a foundation to fund 100% of the education of the daughters of their employees. Prior to forming the foundation, the owners of the factory identified that due to limited resources for tuition, employees were opting to send their male children to school, while keeping their female children home. Our vendor is deeply committed to removing barriers to empowerment - cultural, economic, societal, and political. They believe that literacy will help to close the gender gap, and promote self-reliance, independence, and leadership skills for girls and women.
Lima, Huancayo, and Cerro de Pascua, Peru: Via programs facilitated by our vendor, we are able to create a substantial handknit product offering each season. This program, designed to connect Peruvian women to an export market, allows women to take knitting into their home and is one of the few available forms of work that allows these women to care for their families while earning a fair income. Many of the knitters are unmarried mothers. Once an order for a new design is passed, all women in the knitting group meet together, often in the church hall or one of the knitter’s homes. The “Jefa de Groupo” (Chief Knitter) teaches the group the new stitches, new pattern, and which knitting needles each knitter will need to use. The knitters then meet twice a week to discuss any issues and check the progress of the knitting. These meetings also give the women a chance to socialize and connect with women in their community. Once knitting on a style is complete, the Chief Knitter coordinates with our vendor partner to arrange trims, finishing, and completion of all export paperwork.
Dôen’s Work Towards Sustainability:
Although the fashion industry as a whole has a long way to go, Dôen has prioritized making small changes in the day-to-day of our supply chain that will make a huge impact in aggregate. We use primarily natural fabrics, and embrace a “fewer, better things” mentality in regards to consumption. By creating quality, timeless pieces, we ensure that they can be worn season after season. We reject the idea that clothing is disposable, and encourage secondhand sales of our clothes via resale and consignment retailers. Our packing is 100% recyclable, and our Eco-shippers include a minimum of 90% post consumer content. Because we believe the customer shouldn’t be responsible for understanding how to correctly recycle items like poly bags, any product requiring a poly bag for transit is removed prior to shipping to the customer and recycled by our team. We are constantly working towards a better solution for poly bags / plastic bags - currently testing biodegradable bags with our largest supplier. We are working to participate in production methods that eliminate waste; we only order enough fabric to fulfill our orders, not excess fabric that conventionally would end up in storage or a landfill. We also work to minimize wastage from the cutting-room floor - our children’s clothing offering started as a way to produce garments from what would have been the wastage fabrics from our women’s collection. Today, our wastage fabrics from the cutting-room floor are repurposed into small fabric bags and sent to our customers with their purchase. Many of our friends and customers have remarked that they repurpose these bags for trips to the farmer’s market and for toy storage. As we expand our children’s offering, we are also expanding our commitment to work with organic fabrics when possible. Many of our children’s knits out of Peru are 100% organic pima cotton.
Dôen’s Partnership with Room To Read:
To extend our commitment to closing the gender gap in the communities where we produce, we have partnered with Room to Read. Each season, we design a group of designated “Room to Read” children’s styles and donate 100% of the profits of those styles to benefit Room to Read’s mission to promote literacy and gender equality. Room to Read works with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and supports girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond. We also welcome our customers to support literacy and gender equality by making a donation at checkout.