Δημοσιεύσεις & Συνεντεύξεις – Cemeli/ A Fashion Company based in NYC

Meet Joanne & Sonia | Two Sisters Revolutionising Fashion with their Brand

DGRwear sets the paradigm of how a slow fashion modern brand should navigate the industry. Based in Greece, it’s a company that produces 100% handmade clothes and accessories with high quality materials and techniques. Introducing Joanne and Sonia, two sisters aiming to revolutionise fashion via their fresh brand vision.

Please tell CEMELI followers a bit more about yourself and how the brand came about?

We are two sisters born and raised in Greece. Joanne has a background on psychology, communications and strategic management and Sonia on mechanical engineering, product and project management. Our passions combined are: the sustainability mindset, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, ethical fashion, nature and music. When we were young we made handmade jewellery for our friends and ourselves. Fast forward, we are now designing handmade jackets, coats, scarfs and bags. All DGRwear products are made in Greece from the USA where we are studying and working.

Please tells us about how your designs came to represent something extremely bold and hopeful amid these uncertain times (pandemic etc..)?

Hope dies last. Our colourful designs and cozy textures allow our customers to feel warm and stylish, while being patient and hopeful for the future. Through our social media, we try to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable fashion and the increased knowledge on the issue during these last months. Customers are getting more familiar and companies are incorporating sustainable practices, so we are hopeful for a more sustainable world and want our designs to manifest this at every stage.

 What was the inspiration and vision behind your designs?

Nature. We get inspired by plants and animals. From our “Owl” coat, “Hedgehog” Handbag to our “Leopard” bracelet and “Turtle” logo, we believe that nature can teach us incredible lessons and provide us with endless creativity and inspiration. Our passion for creating something authentic, made with love, and by hand is found behind any DGR creation. Our turtle logo represents the slow but steady growth.

Sustainability and responsible sourcing are a strong priority for CEMELI and also for the world nowadays. What steps do you think the fashion industry needs to take to become more sustainable?

The industry has to become more accessible to new designers that may not have the typical “fashion school” knowledge, but have passion and a strong sense of ethical responsibility towards people and the planet. Governments have to play a crucial role in creating laws and regulations that support a sustainable fashion industry.

How are your designs favouring sustainability?

DGRwear encourages customers to “buy less, choose well, make it last” as the famous designer, Vivienne Westwood has said. DGRwear products are carefully made with love. Our products guarantee longevity. DGR believes in slow fashion and normalises the repetition of the same outfits. We design products with classic and endless style. We also offer the option of customisation and provide alterations and repairs that vary from a loose sleeve or fixing a hole, to a more substantial change of the jacket’s old sleeves or the bag’s strap (in the same or different colour). We don’t believe in using machinery that can be harmful for the environment. We want to keep the Greek tradition of knitting alive. Our knitters have learnt the craft of knitting from their mothers and grandmothers. As our knowledge around sustainable practices increases, so does our vision for DGRwear.

What has been the most surprising thing that you have learnt about running your own business during such challenging times?

We would say that we do not regret investing on physical retail stores worldwide. Retail will never go back to the way it was and now new brands have to learn to establish themselves solely with an online presence.

If you could describe your brand in five words – what would they be?

Authentic, Handmade, Ethical, Biomimicry, Longevity  

How do you envision your ideal customer?

An alert human being, a conscious consumer. A bold, agent of change that wants to make a statement by shopping responsibly.

How do you feel about being featured at the online CEMELI boutique?

We are very grateful to be part of a community of Greek female entrepreneurs that never want to give up. We believe in the mission of CEMELI and are honoured to be featured at the online boutique.

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Δημοσιεύσεις & Συνεντεύξεις – Pace University / Lubin School of Business

Zip-lining for three hours straight requires a lot of courage and focus – so does being an entrepreneur, moving across the world for a graduate degree, and starting a student club on campus. Joanne has done all of these things and even more, proving that she is a go-getter. As an international student from Thessaloniki, Greece, she has taken full advantage of various Lubin-oriented opportunities and services, including our Graduate Assistantship program, guest speaker events, and the Entrepreneurship Lab. 

Συνέντευξη για το Pace University

You got your BA in psychology and communications. Why did you decide to enroll in business school and why did you choose Pace University for your master’s degree?
I realized that I needed some more business skills and exposure to business concepts to understand my professional path after college better. I find that Pace’s location is ideal for me since it is close to the headquarters of some of the best companies in the country. Pace also has a great alumni network, which I am looking forward to joining once I graduate! 

You have a passion for entrepreneurship and sustainability. Tell us about where that journey started and the business that you’ve created by combining the two.
While I was attending high school in Greece, I spent my summers in the USA. I got to participate in multiple summer programs on sustainability and entrepreneurship. I was fascinated by the complexity of businesses and the importance of sustainable practices at an early age. Inspired by my love for fashion, I started a company called DGRwear in 2017 with my sister. We are now using the company’s social media platforms to educate more and more people on sustainable fashion. Our company focuses on creating 100% handmade clothes and accessories made in Greece. 

This journey has allowed me to meet amazing people worldwide that use fashion as a platform to make a change. I am also Head of Strategy for Fashion Revolution Greece, a local chapter of a global organization that works towards making the fashion industry more sustainable. Additionally, I am working on building the first sustainable fashion school back home in Thessaloniki, projected to be up and running by the summer of 2022.

Tell us about your experience at Lubin; what resources have you been taking advantage of here?
Although I started my first semester virtually, I managed to gain plenty of experience at Lubin. First, I became a graduate assistant and had the honor of working with Professor Tarique, a professional I admire very much and from whom I have learned a lot. I have attended various online events with great speakers and alumni hosted by Lubin or student organizations. The Entrepreneurship Lab is always putting together amazing events, too! Last, for me, the alumni connections have been a great highlight this past semester. Through the Pace Mentoring Program and reaching out to alumni directly by utilizing LinkedIn or being referred to them by Pace’s staff, I have met inspiring and motivating alumni who want to give back. 

What has it been like to start a brand-new graduate student organization on campus and what are the club’s goals?
I like creating community wherever I go; connecting with like-minded individuals always motivates me and helps my vision grow. I had started a club at my high school too called NGSW (New Generation Sustainable World), and that experience gave me the confidence to create something at Pace. With the encouragement and help of Professor Tarique, I founded the Strategy and International Business Club (SIB). I am very grateful to the executive board we have formed for this organization. We have bonded very well and are continuing strong this semester! The club’s goals are to provide a safe space for students to interact, debate, and discuss current topics on a global scale, from the pandemic and globalization to sustainability and the legalization of marijuana. This semester we have planned more networking events, and we are very excited to welcome more people to join us. 

What are your future goals for your career?
Eventually, I want to work in international business, give back to my country and to people in need, and always strive for a more equal world. 

What does #LubinLife mean to you? 
#LubinLife is the New York City experience, a multicultural adventure filled with high energy and vibrations. 

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