THE DALSTON JOURNEY
At Dalston we pride ourselves on being a small business committed to producing quality ethical fashion that stands the test of time.
We are a small and dedicated team making clothes in our local workroom here in Auckland, New Zealand.
We partner with small owner-operated and family run local businesses to help us produce our garments. We love that we are helping to keep the local fashion manufacturing industry alive in New Zealand.
Our makers and suppliers are all within a 15km radius from our Grey Lynn store, so we visit them frequently.
Being a small business means we have lasting relationships with our various suppliers and makers – from fabric merchants, to pattern-makers, cutters, machinists, printers & distributors – we love our team!
Dalston is 100% co-owned by Julie Clark and Monique Jarvis.
We work with a small team in the store and encourage the unique skills they each bring to Dalston.
We provide a safe and inclusive workplace in which they can feel empowered to do great work and share their creative skills.
Open, honest and respectful relationships with staff, suppliers, manufacturers and customers.
We pay our staff, at the minimum, the NZ living wage.
We provide a fair and friendly workplace, family-friendly, fun and supportive.
Availability of part time roles, job share opportunities and flexible working hours. Our staff are an extension of our families and we care deeply about their mental health.
We create garments ethically at a fair price providing good value for the end user and ensuring everyone in our supply chain has protected rights and quality of life.
We have created a brand that staff and suppliers can be proud to be associated with.
We are on our journey to being more a sustainable brand and store.
From fabrics and trims to transport and packaging, we consider everything we do and how we can do it in a better way for the environment.
Transparency is important to us and we like sharing information. We have begun adding fabric origins and certifications to our product pages. We strive to use more accredited and certified fabrics.
DELIVERY & PACKAGING
Local delivery: if you live locally to Dalston we will deliver by foot, pedal bike or by car if we are passing in the course of our day.
If you package is being sent we pack sensibly in a re-used box of appropriate size ( as small as can be) or a compostable courier pack.
If we can fix it we will – bring your purchase back into the store or send us a photo and we can discuss what we can do. Mending if free of charge.
Wherever possible we re-use:
- Swing tickets; when we sell a garment instore we remove the swing ticket and re-use it again and again
- Plastic Bags; it is rare that our international brands send stock in plastic, YAY, but if they do, we re-use it
- Paper printing; we avoid printing if we possibly can, and if we can’t we use both sides of the paper
- Plastic coat-hangers; we use these over and again, dropping ‘empties’ back to the presser
- Fabric cut-offs; we reduce waste by making off-cuts into masks, scarves, little purses and bags, and donate to local community groups and home-crafters.
Where we source our fabrics
We made the decision to buy our fabric locally from what is known as ‘deadstock’. This is fabric that has either been made for a larger designer or production house, or the mill has made extra while the machines are running. The leftover fabric is available for a smaller design house like us to buy. This means we are using existing fabrics rather than increasing our carbon footprint by making more. Our small batch design runs, with Brian our cutter overseeing the pattern makers, result in negligible fabric waste. What we do have left over gets made into scarves, bags and purses or other accessories, or we donate it to Gladstone Primary School.
Some of our knitwear styles are made by ethical factories in China. We work with Darren Elliot, a Melbourne-based agent. This allows Dalston to add on to his bigger production runs and gets Dalston a “foot in the door’ to larger companies who would not normally produce small runs of knitwear.
The factories Darren works with all have international accreditations to ensure the factories are following these guidelines:
Signed commitment to social requirements (social management system)
Workers involvement and protection procedure
Freedom of association and collective bargaining policy
No discrimination policy
No child labour policy
Protection for young workers procedure
No precarious employment policy
Code of conduct document
Dalston hasn’t yet had the chance to visit these factories in China. The quality of our knits is superb and we often chat by email with Cherry who is production manager at the main factory producing our knits.
MINDFUL FASHION NZ
Dalston is proud to have teamed up with Mindful Fashion NZ
Mindful Fashion is a New Zealand industry collective that aims to strengthen the local clothing and textile industry by promoting long term sustainable growth through responsible business practice and industry investment.
The collective was launched in March 2019 to unite the New Zealand clothing and textile industry to create an innovative, full-circle and thriving future.
Membership is open to all members of New Zealand’s clothing and textile community whose values and actions align with the Mindful Fashion mission.
Here is the Mindful Fashion New Zealand Code Of Conduct that all members must sign.
Mindful Fashion supports all industry participants from designers, fabric suppliers, makers, cutters, button-holers, pleaters, embroiderers and more to work towards the following -
- Create relevant, useful and measurable benchmarks for ethical and sustainable production practices to ensure that New Zealand Designers can confidently say their product has been made ethically.
- Act as a united industry body to be able to work with Government to ensure the industry is supported effectively.
- Potential to push for development of a greater variety of sustainable fabrics.
- Support the training of new and established local makers.
- Potential for collective purchasing power with fabric suppliers.
- Potential for global marketing of our industry collective leading the way to change for good.
- Continue to support Made in New Zealand and the future of our industry.