Dawn Denim, a specialised jeans brand founded in 2015 in Berlin, has been keenly focused on producing ethically and fairly through its factory in Saigon, Vietnam, since its early days. Today it continues its journey meant through a series of initiatives focusd on craftsmanship, fair and social aim and specific environmental targets.





Its founders Ines Rust, creative director, and Marian von Rappard, CEO, explained their aims and strategy.




What are Dawn Denim’s newest projects?
Ines Rust: Among our most recent projects for s/s 2023, we are also offering a denim jacket made from a 100% organic cotton Cradle to Cradle fabric and another made from a heavy hemp-organic cotton blend.





We have also worked at two new collaborations with artists Sofia Holt and Hirut Joseph against war, racism and discrimination.

Dawn Denim collaboration with Sofia Holt
Photo: Dawn Denim
Dawn Denim collaboration with Sofia Holt
The “Peace Please” special capsule collection by Sofia Holt combines different denim styles for a cool double denim look for s/s 2023, including bleached looks and comfy denim looks in medium and light blue and decoring elements like a white dove.






The capsule “For a World Without Borders” was designed  by Hirut Joseph, a Jewish Ethiopian artist who had to face racism and discrimination. It consists of a denim blouse in a light blue with Hirut's artwork as embroidery on the back and a pin, also with her design.

Dawn Denim collaboration with Joseph Hirut
Photo: Dawn Denim
Dawn Denim collaboration with Joseph Hirut
Most recently, you also launched the HeroINES Collection: Natsu Samue. Can you tell us more about it?
IR: I designed the pieces of this collection with great attention by me. They are special pieces that stand completely on their own. For s/s 2023, I traveled with Dawn to Japan because the oldest looms for jeans production can be found here! I have been fascinated by Japanese culture and fashion since I was a child and combined denim with traditional Japanese garment reproducing them as the comfortable jacket and pantsuits that originally come from Zen monks, but they are now worn by women and men all over Japan for different occasions. In Dawn, the vest is combined with matching pants, whose fit - high waist with a wide leg - modernizes the look. The set is made from a lightweight denim made from organic cotton and hemp in a resource-saving wash.
Dawn Denim's HeroINES Collection: Natsu Samue
Photo: Dawn Denim
Dawn Denim's HeroINES Collection: Natsu Samue
What specific achievements has your brand achieved in terms of sustainability?
Marian von Rappard: Dawn Denim is the only company so far to have achieved 100 out of 100 possible points in the Fair Wear Foundation's Brand Performance Check.





What is the “Fair Wear Foundation's Brand Performance Check” and when did you achieve these results? 
MVR: Dawn is a member of Fair Wear Foundation, which was founded in 1999 with the ambitious mission to improve labor conditions in the garment industry. It is a multistakeholder initiative, that connects  brands, factories, workers, trade unions, NGOs and other industry influencers. 





Fair Wear’s approach is to closely collaborate to build a critical mass for change, providing active and practical support to ensure that workers are in the driving seat of improving and monitoring their own working conditions. 




The Brand Performance Check, conducted at all Fair Wear member companies, is the most important element of Fair Wear’s unique shared responsibility approach to improving working conditions in garment, textile, and footwear supply chains. During a performance check, Fair Wear investigates how far brands have integrated human rights due diligence into their  business practices and assesses progress made each year in this regard, across their supply chain.





There are multiple categories in the check and each get awarded a number of points. Overall, 100 points is the highest score that can be achieved. The checks are conducted about five to six months after the annual financial year each year, which means May/June for Dawn. We achieved the highest score of 100 points for the years 2020 and 2021.

Dawn Denim s/s 2023
Photo: Dawn Denim
Dawn Denim s/s 2023
Does Dawn Denim consider itself as a completely sustainable brand?
We cannot. Sustainability is a journey, a long and sometimes steep climb. We are truly committed to walk that path to prove that a business can be sustainable in a holistic sense, considering people, planet and profit. 








What are the next sustainable goals the company has set to reach for the future?
MVR: First, we lack data to really understand our footprint. This itself is a complex problem we are trying to solve going forward. As soon as we solved that, we plan to make data-driven decision towards a smaller footprint and positive social impact.




What are the next projects the brand will focus on?
 
MVR: We are currently developing our fabrics with “Good Earth Cotton” a carbon positive cotton-farming initiative.

Dawn Denim s/s 2023
Photo: Dawn Denim
Dawn Denim s/s 2023
Is the company experiencing problems with getting raw materials, with transportation costs and energy costs?
MVR: Surely we do. At the moment we are confident to be able to “control” our production well, but it is far more planning, communication, capacity building involved dealing with the supply chain complexity.




Will you have to raise the prices because of that?
MVR: No, we plan to stick to our price range. As we are growing and can produce more efficiently, we should be able to cover increased raw material costs.

Dawn Denim s/s 2023
Photo: Dawn Denim
Dawn Denim s/s 2023
How is the market situation evolving?
MVR: Hard to answer for me. I do recognize that every brand, company, consultant among others claim to have the sustainable solution for a better world. I am worried that the consumer soon will be fed up with that and won’t be able to differ between greenwashing and real, honest efforts.



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