Christy Dawn On Not Taking The Easy Way Out + Healing The Earth

We’re big fans of Christy Dawn here at Team GG. Not only are her dresses beautiful and ethereal, but they serve the greater good as well. Christy has been one of the pioneers of using “deadstock” fabric when creating her pieces. Her love of vintage dresses and modern styling along with a deep passion for Mother Earth, birthed her brand that is founded on the same values. This Earth Day, we’re excited to introduce you to Christy and her mission to save the earth through beautiful design.

We’re big fans of your brand, Christy Dawn. What values do you hope people take away from purchasing from the Christy Dawn collections?

The value of honoring Mother Earth, of course! This is always at the forefront of everything I do and every decision I make, whether for myself or for Christy Dawn. I hope people reevaluate the way they shop and the way they look at fashion, and I hope they value sustainability over the ease of fast fashion. And I do think we’re all getting there, which is a beautiful thing to see.

Tell us about your journey with sustainability. How did it become a passion for you?

I grew up shopping vintage and scouring thrift stores in my hometown of Placerville, CA. It didn’t really click to me that this was sustainable until I moved to Los Angeles and saw the alternative—so many big-box fast-fashion brands just churning out poorly made clothes, season after season. Everything clicked into place for me once I began my modeling career, and saw the waste of the fashion industry firsthand. I knew when it came time to launch Christy Dawn that I would do it differently, valuing sustainability over profit.

We started producing our dresses with deadstock fabric—the leftover fabrics of other fashion houses. In general, larger brands who are manufacturing their own fabrics over-order by about 10 percent. This fabric usually ends up in the landfills, but we started rescuing them and giving them new life as beautiful dresses.

As we’ve grown, we’ve discovered that sustainability isn’t enough. Deadstock isn’t enough. We need to do more. We have to be an even bigger part of the solution.

So last year, we began growing cotton regeneratively on a plot of land in India. We’re creating a fibershed supported by a small community of artisans who are deeply skilled in working with the land. Together with them, we’re going to produce our first collection of regeneratively grown cotton dresses soon! Growing regenerative cotton actually heals the soil by sequestering carbon. And by healing the soil, of course, you heal Mother Earth.

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What is the biggest challenge of running a sustainable business?

Not taking the easy way out! There are so many things that would be easier if I just did it the quickest way, but the quickest way is almost never the sustainable way. And it can be hard to stay on that path, day after day, where so often you’re out there in the front, really paving the way for people to follow after you. But with our India fibershed, for example, that’s exactly what we want to do. We want people to follow us, copy us, use our mistakes and our triumphs and do the exact same thing we’re doing! The more people who grow cotton regeneratively, who take the time to truly honor Mother Earth, the better. When Mother Earth wins, we all win.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations both personally and professionally?

I’m always inspired by women who have the balance down—life, family, work. My friend Julie O’Rourke of the children’s clothing brand Rudy Jude is the perfect example of this. These strong, powerful women who are just forging new paths and charging forward fearlessly—they’re incredible! I feel lucky to know so many women like that, and call so many strong, powerful ladies my close friends.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

Braiding Sweetgrass, a photo of my sons and usually a leftover mug of chai.

If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Definitely a Dawn Dress and Converse—my daily outfit. :)

Current beauty obsessions?

I really love Rituel. It makes a serum and a face mist that are pretty much the only skincare products I ever use. The products are also made incredibly ethically, with regenerative farming at their core.

What are your all-time favorite, must-read books?

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a favorite. There is so much wisdom and knowledge within its pages. I also keep a book of Animal Medicine Cards with me and often find myself reading from there. I love that every animal you pull has a positive message to be found—even spider medicine is so powerful!

What does your ideal Sunday look like?

There’s definitely a long, quiet bath in there for mama, but my Sundays are mostly about my sons, River and Sage. I like taking them out into nature. We go for a lot of long hikes and we’ll stop wherever and have a picnic. Just getting them into a deep communication with the world around them is something that’s so important to my husband and me. I want my sons to grow up loving their home!

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How are you taking care of yourself during this time when we’re all staying home? 

Meditating, always. We have a meditation altar in my home, and my practice is twice a day, going as deep as I can, and truly trying to find the peace and beauty in each day. I’ve also been collecting fresh herbs and flowers on my daily walks and using them in my bath each night. My sons love helping me with this, sprinkling the petals into the water. It’s a detox for your body, your mind, and it also helps me sleep better.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yes, I’m unstoppable at mini basketball!!

What albums do you have on repeat?

Malena Cadiz, all day, every day. She has such a hypnotic, entrancing voice. I could listen to her forever.

Where is the coolest place you’ve ever traveled?

I went to India for the first time this year to visit our fibershed, where we’re growing cotton regeneratively with a small community of farmers. I’d always wanted to visit India, and it was so inspiring to see it this way, with real people and real artists living and thriving off the land. So much of this beautiful country has turned to toxic, modern ways of farming, and seeing the land begin to heal with the regenerative farming was incredible to witness.

What do you do when you’re feeling creatively burnt out?

I usually get quiet, meditate and do some yoga. I try not to ever force anything, and usually I have the space and time where I don’t have to rush to get anything done. It’s a privilege to be able to take that space, too, and remove myself from the project for a while. That way, when I come back to it, I’m doing so with a fresh perspective, feeling restful and ready.

Favorite quote? 

“Right here. Right now. You’re free.” This is one I come back to all the time. It reminds me to stay in the moment, to breathe, to feel into the power we all have at any given time. It’s a good mantra to keep handy.

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Author: Samantha Welker

Samantha Welker is the business manager at Glitter Guide. She has an Master's in Corporate Finance & Sustainability from Harvard Business School but prefers working in the creative industry. She also hosts a weekly business podcast for creative women called Pretty Okay Podcast. She loves spending time with her husband and her son, Rocky, in sunny San Diego. Follow along on Instagram