Interview for Cemeli - a fashion company based in NYC

Publications & Interviews – 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 and managed 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 of 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 every DGR creation. Our turtle logo represents 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 made carefully and 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 customization 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 to the environment. We want to keep the Greek tradition of knitting alive. Our knitters have learned the craft of knitting from their mothers and grandmothers. As our knowledge of sustainable practices increases, so does our vision for DGRwear.

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

We would say that we do not regret not investing in 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?

A woke 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 honored to be featured at the online boutique.


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