What’s the Rush?
November is often a month filled with stress due to the impending holiday season. The pressure is on to make the most delicious holiday feasts and fill our baskets full of gifts for friends and family.
Frantic holiday shopping, Black Friday sales, and pressures from retailers about delayed supply chains can have a negative impact on your body, spirit, and the planet. Inspired by this great article about slowing down, and our learnings from last year's Green Friday movement, we've decided to declare this month as: SLOWvember.
We believe the holiday season is all about connecting with family and friends, so let's slow down, take a breath, and find ways to relax and enjoy.
As part of our Slowvember declaration, DIOSA will not be participating in Black Friday sales. Instead we're offering free shipping all month long and if you're subscribed to our email list, you always get 10% off regular priced items plus will get first dibs on new products or special deals (something special is dropping Boxing day so be sure to sign up!).
Slowvember, Slow Fashion
What exactly is slow fashion?
The slow fashion movement encourages people to purchase high quality, long-lasting clothing and accessories that are made with the intention to be good to the Earth and all creatures that dwell on her. This is a big goal for DIOSA and we want to let you in on our progress towards this goal.
Giving back to women and the planet is woven into the fabric of DIOSA designs. When the company was founded, the concept was deeply inspired by Mayan women weavers in Guatemala, which is why you'll see Spanish and Mayan themes throughout our branding. Learn more about these women weavers in this blog post.
Though we knew that our hero product couldn't be manufactured in Guatemala, we wanted to ensure there was some sort of give-back to empowerment centres that are helping women support their families while keeping an age-old tradition alive. This is how our 1% to Women concept came to-be and why we also sell woven clutches, pouches, and bracelets on our site.
This 1% to women concept has grown to include giving to the Canadian Cancer Society to help women fight breast cancer, and supporting a Newfoundland domestic shelter called the Iris Kirby House.
We also became a member of 1% for the Planet to help fight climate change.
Designing towards Sustainability
Is DIOSA sustainable? Honestly, the answer is yes and no. We’re striving to be the best we can be, enduring all the challenges surrounding sustainability.
Where we started...
When we first embarked on creating the ultimate backpack for women on-the-move, our priority was fashion & function. The backpacks we saw on the market that had the function were more masculine in aesthetics. What we saw available for women were beautiful but with very little function. This is why we designed Maya, the bag of your dreams.
While in the prototype stage of Maya, we automatically felt vegan leather was the most sustainable material to choose. Not knowing a whole lot about vegan leather initially, we were inspired by other beloved brands who were using it and wanted to support cruelty-free. We were ‘green’ to the sustainable world! All we knew is that we wanted to use a high quality leather alternative that didn’t harm animals.
Guess what we learned?
What surprised us about vegan leather is that, although it's animal friendly, we learned that it wasn’t so nice to people and the planet. We had to dig deeper and work with our factory to find out more about the vegan leather we were using.
There are 2 types of vegan leather commonly used in the fashion industry:
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
- Polyurethane (PU) >> The one we went with! Keep reading to find out why. 👇
Both of these synthetic leathers are produced with chemicals, bonding plastic together but PVC uses plasticisers such as phthalates and releases dioxins that can be very toxic. We chose PU because it was the least harmful of the two. To take it one step further, we’re proud to share our vegan leather passed our testing protocol for consumer safety standards.
Anyone who has already purchased a Maya backpack has shared with us how much they love the vegan leather we chose for Maya. It’s durable, soft, and lightweight. We love it too but we became obsessed with learning more about what fabrics we can choose for our products that are kind to animals, people and the planet.
So, what about the lining?
We received an abundance of swatches from our factory that were beautiful and checked a lot of our boxes but were they sustainable? Unfortunately, not. They were either petroleum based, consisted of harsh chemicals, used too much water and electricity and created loads of waste when being produced.
Did you know that the textile industry is the 2nd largest polluter in the world? I know right!
It was shocking to learn how devastating materials, so easily accessible to us, negatively impact us. We knew right then and there that we had to be a slow fashion company and not a fast fashion one.
We found a company called REPREVE, the world’s leading recycled fiber company. They make high-quality certified recycled fiber to help reduce plastic pollution. The lining for the Maya Backpack, protector bag, and drawstring bag is made out of 20 recycled water bottles!
It ain't easy being green.
We’ve worked hard (and continue to work hard) in sourcing sustainable fabrics we can use in our future products but it comes with its challenges for small businesses like us:
- Comes at higher costs, meaning our product prices have to be higher.
- Not easily accessible due to very high order quantities.
- Low customizability so we have to compromise on aesthetic design.
- All of this adds up to product development delays.
Where we're heading...
We’re learning so much and are committed to continuing this sustainable journey. We’re not perfect but we will follow the sustainable trends in order to develop products with the best practices in mind.
Our vow to you:
- We will continue to be transparent.
- We will connect with like minded businesses.
- We will continue to learn.
- We will find the best materials available to us.
- We will help reduce waste in landfills.
Join us over at our Conscious Consumers Facebook Group to keep this conversation going.
Mistakes happen, it’s inevitable. Every single brand receives the odd few products in a batch that don’t meet the standard, or come with their own minor quirks and flaws. The way we see it, we have two options:
- Dispose of these bags and contribute to overflowing landfills and wasteful fashion practices.
- Put these fully functional and fashionable bags to use at an even more affordable price.
Yeah, we think we’ll take the second. Introducing our Loveworthy Collection.
We’ve decided to give these blemished bags a second chance. With minor defects, these bags are still able to provide everything we love so much about them, just in their own unique way. By purchasing through our Loveworthy Collection, you’ll be contributing to a sustainable program aimed to reduce waste and harm done by the fashion industry.