We're Wearin' the World - Connecting our Youth with People and Planet Through Clothes

What if our youth discovered the connection between what they wear and the people on this planet?

Photo of Shamini Dhana
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

As founder of an ethical and sustainable fashion brand for our youth, we offer a new way of thinking that our apparel is a constant reminder of the hearts and hands behind each product. Today, one in six people on this planet work in the garment industry which is also the second most polluting industry after petroleum. Therefore, the potential to impact, improve the lives of millions of people through bringing awareness to our global connections to our youth is phenomenal.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani)

If you chose to self-identify your race, ethnicity, or origin, please share here: (the answer will not be public)

I am Indian by race and grew up in a multi-cultural society so am aware of cultural sensitive issues

Website

http://www.Dhana.com

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • California

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Sausalito

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • California

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

San Francisco, Marin, Los Angeles, California

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our youth grow up being influenced by the fashion industry which promotes "fast fashion" and does not consider the impact on people and planet whilst doing so. So much of the focus is to look and feel good reflecting fashion trends and what media promotes. Brands are not sharing with our youth how the clothes are made nor the impact on the environment. By empowering kids to be change agents we bring transparency and alter mindsets in fashion.

‘We’re Wearin’ the World.’  Synonymous with the company’s signature collection, Dhana’s We’re Wearin' the World, the campaign will allow individuals to express and share how they experience the world.

“Through the ‘We’re Wearin’ the World’ campaign, we will unite humanity by providing a forum for sharing the influences that shape and define our essence as people,” said Founder and CEO Shamini Dhana. “As we travel through life, each of us embraces and imprints elements from our environments. From cultural experiences and places, to food, music, film to art—the impact of these cumulative experiences is as unique as our genetic code.”      

Dhana, Inc. values ethical and sustainable business practices, and is committed to using clothing as a tool to better connect people and planet. This is Dhana’s first campaign of this kind and will continue through 2016.

“Dhana is at the forefront of socially conscious fashion,” continued Dhana. “When it comes to any purchase, but especially fashion apparel, we want consumers to be curious about every step of the process. Where was this made? Who made it? How was it made? These are the same questions we pursue with every decision we make. Each day, we dress in clothing that has the potential to connect us with the hands and hearts of many people and the planet. Each piece of every Dhana collection is designed to further this connection.”

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Children who are differently abled
  • LGBTQ or non-binary individuals
  • Religious minorities (non-Christian)
  • Low-income communities

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Community Development and Empowerment
  • Education

Year Founded

2008

Project Stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Through the We're Wearin' the World campaign, our youth learn about how they can make a difference by simply changing their mindsets, behavior and celebrations in life in connection with the clothes they wear.

There learn five ways by using the acronym W.O.R.L.D which stands for:
W : Wear With Worth
O: Observe, Organize, Overhaul
R: Rethink, Reflect, Reach Out
L: Love, Live, Like
D: Disseminate, Distribute and Discover

These simple tools and techniques empower our youth to stand up, speak out to how fast fashion is not the solution towards a sustainable future and how their own well-being can be impacted on a daily basis by making small incremental changes.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 2015, Dhana generated information, content and organized events surrounding the True Cost movie to bring awareness to the impact of fashion on people and planet. As associate producer of the True Cost movie, we were able to screen the movie in Mill Valley, San Francisco Bay Area and invite our youth to watch and ask questions about the supply chain in the apparel industry as well as the hearts and hands behind our clothes. We hope to continue these screenings to more communities and schools to launch the conversation on "What can I do to make a difference today?" in the world of fashion. We also want to talk about what the future of fashion will look like with the help of technology.

Organization Type

  • for-profit

Annual Budget

  • $50k - $100k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The brand Dhana Inc. is currently selling ethical and sustainable clothing online. A portion of this monies will be used to promote the campaign "We're Wearin' the World"

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

As a Certified B Corp, Dhana belongs to the B Corp movement and this problem is being addressed through their awareness campaigns and triple bottom line. Dhana also is a founding partner of the Ethical Fashion Forum which brings awareness on doing business better in the fashion industry using sustainable channels. There are also movies dedicated to raising the awareness on this issue like the True Cost movie which was released in 2015 and highlights the impact of the fashion industry on people and planet.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

Understanding the "global connection" between wearing a piece of clothing and the impact it has on people and planet is a paradigm shift in how we "wear" our values. One in six people work in the apparel industry on this planet. Children need to be inspired that change is happening in the world dominated by the worker abuse and exploitation of child labor. The future of fashion starts with giving children the platform to stand up and speak out to celebrate our planet and honor all people along the way. Children will be positively impacted when they know they are part of the solution.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Twitter
  • Changemakers.com
  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka, who was it? (the answer will not be public)

B the Change Media
B Lab
SOCAP

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Photo of Alison Grubbs
Team

Hi, Shamini! Thanks so much for sharing the entry with us -- love how you're using clothes to spark a discussion about ethical consumerism and instill greater self-awareness among parents and kids. Treasuring diversity is something that is core to Ashoka's definition of wellbeing; it's wonderful to see that resonate in your work.

As you continue to refine and share your model, both through awareness campaigns and B Corps, I'd love to hear more about the impact you've achieved. How are you measuring a deeper sense of community and self-awareness? Are you targeting kids or parents (or both)? What sorts of behavior change do you expect to see? What practices seems to be the most effective in achieving them? That level of specificity will make it that much easier to see how your model goes beyond sales to build a sense of global fluency among your constituents. Thanks for sharing, and keep up the great work!