Fashion is a form of expressing ourselves. Our style is represented in all sorts of clothing, accessories, furniture and more. However, many fashion brands do not consider the importance of sustainability and fair trade as profit is their primary focus. This is not the case for Haus Dahlia – a fashion brand lead by students of the University of the Arts, London. Their handmade fashion is not only sustainable but also creative, inclusive and made for every body type.
How did you come up with the name Haus Dahlia?
“Haus Dahlia was born through two things. Haus refers to the drag term, which defines a group of people that are like family, which we use to encourage cooperation between practitioners. The spelling is not symbolic but is simply aesthetic. Dahlia is after the dahlia flower itself being a symbol of change, creation and inner strength which goes hand in hand with our tagline ‘inclusive, creative, sustainable’ “
What makes Haus Dahlia stand out from other brands?
“Dahlia, at its core, is a slow fashion sustainable brand. We are very transparent with pricing, materials, content creation and use our following to help us design more intelligently.
Our romantic designs also give a nod to classic period pieces, from Victorian to the 1970s, but with our own unique twist. One final way in which we stand out is that our service is purely made to measure for better inclusivity of all bodies, which was a main reason for starting this brand!”
The designs are based around nature – botany and wildlife . The simplicity of the prints creates a unique style that can be worn by anybody.
Sustainability continues to be a pressing issue in the fashion industry. But what does sustainability mean? It indicates that the materials used, as well as the production and distribution of clothing, are environmentally friendly.
For example, the material polyester, which is typically found in clothing and other products, is known to be unsustainable. The industry uses this fibre mainly because it is cheap, strong and prevents wrinkling. Nevertheless, polyester is petroleum-based, and even the production is not sustainable, as Forbes reports:
What materials do use for Haus Dahlia and where are they from?
“We mainly use an organic cotton from the Organic Textile Company as it is comfy, high quality and sustainably sourced. We also use bamboo silk for similar purposes, and during the summer we used bamboo jersey which is super soft and really beneficial for the skin! We make sure before buying fabrics that they are sustainable and ethically sourced, we try and buy locally within the UK to reduce carbon footprint, and we buy our trimmings, so zips and buttons from small local sewing haberdashery, to make sure we are giving back to the small business community. “
The industry is incredibly competitive. Time management and a flow of exclusive ideas are essential. However, being a student makes this more difficult as the work for the university degree takes the upper hand.
“It sometimes does prove difficult with deadlines and creative blocks or sometimes just the unforeseen circumstances that get thrown our way. We try our best to work as a team which we have found is the most important part of being in a partnership.
I think we have a good dynamic and have evolved quite quickly given we have very little experience.”
Being part of the industry gains a lot of experience and knowledge. How does Haus Dahlia benefit your career and personal life?
Emma says: “Haus Dahlia really benefits my skills, since starting the brand I have seen the biggest improvement in my sewing and pattern cutting skills. I have also learned skills I wouldn’t have learnt at university, and I am using fabrics I had never heard of! And in personal life, I do feel like Dahlia is my creative diary, whenever I have a design idea or get inspired I will try and incorporate it rather than ignore it and push it to one side because I am too busy with uni! So it’s definitely taught me to hone my personal creativity.“
Ben: “For me, it will allow me to develop my printing skills and help me develop my ability in designing prints. Dahlia helps me to keep creative and see where I can improve and move forward with my work. “
The pandemic creates another pressuring factor. Many have to fight their own personal battles during isolation. Even creativity is tested to its limits. However, Haus Dahlia was born during the lockdown. What benefits and problems have you encountered during coronavirus?
“I think we should start by saying lockdown has not been an easy adaptation for anyone, we have found that daily calls to check on things and plan are very useful. We both had a hard adjustment period where neither of us had seen each other for a while, so making and creating fell solely on Emma, which was by no means easy. Now we are both back in London things are slightly easier because we can travel and create together in a studio. We are looking at a bright future and are learning something new every day.”
Emma adds: “Yeah having daily calls, rather than texting all the time was definitely better, but it was still difficult because we couldn’t see each others work in 3D, so it was hard to critique or understand because it wasn’t physically with us.”
The Haus Dahlia online shop features amazing t-shirts and accessories, like these berets:
Great things are planned for Haus Dahlia. The fashion brand recently announced a new project called “Rebirth” The new project focuses on “God’s versus nature, sustainability and tradition”. How will this concept be displayed in the products?
“We have taken some design inspiration from natural elements such as botany and combined it with traditional and often religious imagery. Our designs themselves often are inspired by period pieces themselves. Sustainability is one of our key pillars which is shown through the sustainable materials we use all throughout the process of creation. The concept will be mostly visible through our use of print and design silhouette, but we want the concept to be more of a feeling, a stand point of where you are in the world.
The project will be launched on February 14th, 2021 – Valentine’s Day. Does this holiday play a unique role in “Rebirth”?
“It has romanticism connections through the style of the designs, and we may be working on printing a similar concept. The choice of day was also because we wanted to make something for a reason and what better reason than to spoil the one you love.“
Emma : “Yes, and also what better day to release a Greek god inspired collection than on Cupids special day.”
What are you goals and wishes for the future?
“To be able to make made to measure a normality as a solution to the lack of body diversity in the industry today. Also bringing it into the High-street setting without making it off putting.”
Haus Dahlia sets a remarkable example for the new era of fashion. They not only offer amazing designs but also take a significant weight off the shoulders of our environment.
If you would like to read more about Haus Dahlia, make sure to visit their online shop on https://hausdahlia.com and check out their products. You can also find them on social media! • Instagram: @hausdahlia_london
A big thank you to Emma & Ben for talking about their brand.
Links used: • https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/12/03/making-climate-change-fashionable-the-garment-industry-takes-on-global-warming/?sh=2c348e979e41#7b4156ed778a • https://www.kleiderly.com/our-blog/fabric-series-all-about-polyester