Christy Dawn: Building a Timeless Brand
Christy Dawn is an online eCommerce retailer of women’s fashion.
Christy Dawn is committed to ethical, regenerative fashion. Each dress is made in a way that honors Mother Earth. Organic or natural dyes are used, and fabrics are either made from natural fibers or deadstock - excess fabrics left by other fashion houses, and rescued from the landfill to be repurposed.
Instead of following fast fashion, Christy Dawn crafts elegant, timeless pieces that act as heirlooms, being passed down from generation to generation.
For marketing manager Allison Jervis and others who work at Christy Dawn, ‘ethical fashion’ is not just a marketing buzzword. Allison shared the entire business has been built around the message of honoring Mother Earth, and the vision of founder Christy Dawn herself.
There can be no better proof about the transformative power of the message - Allison went from shopping for dresses, to falling in love with the brand, and eventually, to joining the marketing team.
Here’s the story behind Christy Dawn. The brand with a timeless message to share.
A Message Woven into the Fabric
The brand was founded by Christy Dawn and her husband, Aras. Christy was working as a model when she realised the industry was primarily built around fast fashion, making the fashion industry one of the largest contributors to our growing environmental crisis.
Christy grew up in Placerville, a small town where little has changed in the last century. For her, there was something beautiful and timeless about the place, and she was inspired by the vintage silhouettes that work for all ages and all generations.
The aesthetics of timeless beauty. Via Christy Dawn
She tapped on her experience in the industry when she started Christy Dawn. Already, she had had a first-hand look at why some fashion brands succeeded where other brands didn’t. She set out to make elegant, vintage-inspired dresses that she wanted to wear, and that nobody was making.
Her values shaped how Christy Dawn dresses were made, from fabric sourcing, to stitching, to finishing, to shipping the dresses to customers. Instead of mass-producing in factories, she hired local artisans to hand-sew each piece. Instead of changing trends and seasons, the dresses were sewn with timeless silhouettes and made to be worn for years to come. Instead of making fabrics from scratch, the choice to use deadstock greatly reduced the overall environmental impact of producing each dress.
This was also why when Allison first tried to buy a dress, it was already sold out - even though it went on sale just hours before.
The first time she saw a Christy Dawn dress was on a Facebook ad. She loved how the dress looked, but when she tried to click through, they were sold out, and that piqued her interest in Christy Dawn. The more she learned about Christy Dawn and their use of deadstock, the more she fell in love with the brand and the values.
Allison was drawn to companies with a mission; when the opportunity to work at Christy Dawn came up, she took it. It was a chance to join a fast-growing brand, with values that aligned closely to her own and to be part of an important cause: fighting what fast fashion is doing to the planet.
It’s a cause that Allison, Christy, and the community believes in.
Growing the Community through Sharing the Message
For Allison, Christy Dawn’s core values are why they have grown so fast.
“Our core values really speak to people: relentless dedication to Mother Earth, product quality, and treating people well. It’s why we have a wonderfully loyal community - people resonate with what we’re doing.” It’s clear that current manufacturing processes are not sustainable long term.
This attitude permeates through the entire company, from production to marketing. Not only is the vast majority of the collection produced locally with skilled artisans, but Christy Dawn is always seeking to get more people involved to improve the transparency of the company and the sustainability of the processes.
Where other eCommerce brands might do simple product shoots with a white backdrop, Christy Dawn photoshoots take place in nature, outdoors, with natural light. This is part of how the brand communicates its values and commitment to Mother Earth.
Christy Dawn's photoshoots have an ethereal, magical quality about them. Via Christy Dawn.
The use of deadstock limits the number of pieces for each design, meaning that each piece has limited quantities and may sell out before customer demand is met. Hand-sewing instead of mass production also adds to the premium pricing of the dress. But that lends a special, unique quality to each piece.
It also fits nicely with the philosophy of not releasing seasonal collections or being confined to industry trends. Christy Dawn launches new products very frequently - about 12 new dresses every week - each one exciting and different.
“What we really want is for people to make intentional purchases. Someone finds a piece that they love, that is high quality, and they make a conscious decision - rather than just having a grab-and-go experience.”
Challenges in Changing the Industry, Sharing the Knowledge
One of the biggest challenges is educating customers. Ethical sourcing and sustainable fashion have become marketing buzzwords, especially with fast fashion brands that don’t quite practice what they preach.
To combat ‘greenwashing’, Christy Dawn has their very own Journal: a place where the team gives back to the community through creating educational content about sustainable sourcing and production methods, how they as consumers can advocate for the environment, and, in light of the company’s efforts to evolve from being a sustainable company to one that is regenerative, Christy Dawn shares updates on their regenerative farm in Erode, India, alongside Oshadi Collective.
Christy examining the cotton on the farm. Read more on the Journal
It’s part of the team’s mission to educate people on what it really means to make conscious decisions within the world of fashion, and people are paying attention: in recent years, Christy Dawn’s community has grown tremendously, with over 260,000 people listening via Instagram.
Referrals are also an easy way for members of the community to share Christy Dawn with friends and start important conversations.
Giving back more
In the past year, Christy Dawn initiated their Farm-to-Closet project, in partnership with Oshadi Collective, working directly with farmers to regeneratively grow organic cotton for their own collections.
Allison shared that regenerative farming will become the new source of material for Christy Dawn, and their first capsule collection will launch in 2021. Where other businesses might seek growth at all costs, Christy Dawn sticks to its values and mission: building a fashion brand that honors Mother Earth.