#222 - How Can Circular Fashion Reverse Climate Change? with Shamini Dhana, Founder and CEO of Dhana Inc. [REPOST]

April 26, 2022

#222 - How Can Circular Fashion Reverse Climate Change? with Shamini Dhana, Founder and CEO of Dhana Inc. [REPOST]
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In our last episode for the Earth Month celebration, we bring back this fantastic conversation with Shamini Dhana from October 2020. This interview was also chosen to honor Fashion Revolution Week (April 18-24, 2022) and the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster (April 24, 2013).


In a time when humanity struggles to avert a climate crisis, there’s a glimmer of hope for the fashion industry to be able to contribute to saving the environment. With the help of the right people and technology, being both environmentally friendly and fashionable at the same time can be achieved.

In our last episode for the Earth Month celebration, we bring back this fantastic conversation with Shamini Dhana from October 2020. This interview was also chosen to honor Fashion Revolution Week (last week) and the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster (April 24th, 2013).

Shamini Dhana is the founder and CEO of Dhana Inc., a fashion tech brand that believes in always paying it forward. Dhana Inc. was founded in 2008 and it aims to transform customer experience from zero-waste designs to social and environmental impact through circular fashion. Dhana Inc. is a certified B corporation and an active participant of the 2020 Circular Fashion Commitment.

In this episode, Shamini shares how circular fashion can reverse climate change and transform the customer experience. She explains the great benefits of repurposing and recreating deadstock clothing into a new garment and fashion piece, giving customers a choice to reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry on the environment.

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🗣 TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • The story of Dhana Inc. and how they empower people to choose zero-waste fashion designs
  • How the fashion industry impacts the environment
  • The four strategies in the circular fashion system
  • How Dhana Inc. addresses the need for greater brand transparency
  • The creation of the world’s first “circular memory jacket”
  • Creating more memories with the clothing through technology
  • The future of the fashion industry


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Transcript

Shamini Dhana  0:00  
There are cities in the world that have committed to Circular Economy. There's generations in the world that are now devoted to that in every industry. So you have plastics, you have food, circular food, you have even toys now going circular, right? So it's a mindset shift and the mindset is, if we can extend the life of a product as long as possible, then we should.

Cory Ames  0:31  
Hey, y'all, it's Cory here with the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. As always so grateful to have you listening in. Today we're digging up one more episode from the archives here the month of April. A special one a partner who has been near and dear to us here at grow ensemble Shamini Dhana from Dhana Inc. In this episode, we talked about how circular fashion can reverse climate change. All this quite timely both for Earth Month and the climate conversation, but as well, previously, a week before the release of this episode, it's Fashion Revolution week. And then as well on April 24, it was the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. So these are many things that a Shamini and I talk about in this conversation. 

This is the last episode we're digging up from the archives here for a bit. I appreciate everyone and perhaps and maybe listeners who have heard these episodes before - appreciate your patience. My wife and I just welcomed our first baby in March. So this is a bit of a reason for the hiatus and the new content for the podcast. So that's what's going on in my life and why the podcast has been the way that it has for this last month or so but this episode - really a fantastic conversation offered with Shamini Dhana, excited to play this one back. But before we jump in, I want to invite you to sign up for my better world weekly newsletter weekly newsletter that I write curate and publish myself send out every single Monday. Join in on that discussion of all things building a better world at growensemble.com backslash newsletter again, that's growensemble.com backslash newsletter. Alright y'all without further ado, here's Shamini Dhana, episode originally published in October 2020, on how can circular fashion reverse climate change?

Shamini Dhana  2:39  
So Cory, first of all, full gratitude for you been inviting me to be on this and to share what we do in this part of our company. So I'm the founder and CEO of Dhana Inc. Dhana Inc is a certified B Corporation. And we're a fashion tech company transforming customer experience. With zero waste design, and social environmental impact through circular fashion.

Cory Ames  3:10  
Can you say a little bit more about the definition of fashion tech.

Shamini Dhana  3:13  
So for the past 12 years, I've devoted my life towards a sustainable and ethical fashion. And we're a fashion brand ourselves used to be from babies all the way to teenagers, and we've moved up to adults. Today, we are also a fashion technology company unleashing a new technology platform at the end of October. And this fashion technology platform will enable the customer now to be given a choice to be the solution to climate change. And the way we do this is to empower them to be able to design clothes with zero waste, be able to pull materials that are overstock fashion, or what we call deadstock fabric. And then in the meantime, this is all happening before this point of sale, be able to look at the environmental impact of those fabrics that they're about to choose for their Zero Waste designs, be connected to the people who are going to be making the clothes, right, and then sharing their creations on a platform that will celebrate them being the change solutions that we need to happen in the world today. 

A little bit about background on fashion today. It's mind boggling to think that every second, a dump truck full of clothing heads to the landfill on this earth. Yeah, that's every second garbage truck full of clothing. heads to the landfill on this earth. You know that we have a problem. Right? This is a $3 trillion - almost $3 trillion industry where over 70% of it ends up in the landfill or is burned. That's over 10% of all carbon emissions today on this earth. And if left unchecked, it's going to go up to 50%. So what we've decided to do, and Dhana, the meaning of Dhana is offering, we're offering our new way of looking at connecting to people and planet through the medium of fashion, right. And this fashion technology platform that we're unveiling allows us to tackle that one issue, which is global textile waste. We used to when we launched, only draw from sustainable fibers, which is organic fibers for our clothing. And we're a Fairtrade certified brand. But since 2017, we pivoted to not extracting any more from our resources from the earth because of the calamity, and the abundance of overstock material and this textile. And this will be called deadstock. Right? So it was my conscientious effort to pivot, joined a group of organizations who were very keen on moving the dial, so that we can address this huge problem in the fashion textile world. But also, there is a consortium called the global fashion agenda in 2017 that announced to the world that we have this problem, and we can't just talk about it, we should do something about it. And so that initiated the whole entire 2017 call. And it was called the 2020 circular fashion commitment. About 90 brands joined in. And we're one of them. This year is the final report that's being issued at the end of November, I believe, and how each and every brand is taking measures in the area of cyclability. Right. So it's circular fashion. And I'm happy to go into what that means as well.

Cory Ames  7:25  
I would love to because I'm also curious, starting to think about, I guess, like the end ambition. You know, are - has, has enough clothing been produced, has enough of what we need for the textiles been extracted to where if we are creating a circular fashion economy, do we have everything that we already need to close the world already in production? I guess but I'd be curious to hear a bit more into that of explaining the commitment. And you know, what you mean by measures? Like how ambitious those are in making this this circular fashion commitment?

Shamini Dhana  8:00  
Thank you for the question. So I want to give credit to Ellen MacArthur Foundation, right. That was the foundation that called for change. Circular fashion is one of the strategies of circular economy. Right. And that's what this whole entire initiative is about. It's actually a lifestyle. Right. And there are cities in the world that have committed to Circular Economy. There's generations in the world that are now devoted to that in every industry. So you have plastics, you have food, circular food, you have even toys now going circular, right? So it's a mindset shift. And the mindset is, if we can extend the life of a product as long as possible, then we should, so it doesn't end up in the landfill or get burned, right? 

In the circular fashion world, we have what we call four strategies. The first one is you designed a piece of clothing, with likeability in mind, the ability to disassemble, right, the ability to use materials that have already had been in the system, right. So these are what you call designing for cyclability. The second strategy is take back so the brands take back clothing, empowering the customer to when the life of the clothing is done, then you know your boy call and have a read the Take Back program and we're doing that as well. The third one is using the current garments, right. So your secondhand clothing and having a resale to that so you may have noticed the spike in the Gen Z, in the millennials, all wanting to, you know, wear vintage clothes and they're shopping in thrift stores, it's a $51 billion market, believe it or not, and really pushing, right? That's the third one, you know, you're using garments and you reselling it. And then of course, the fourth one is what we call recycling. You're taking the deadstock, or we're taking the fabric as feedstock, putting it into a machine, right? Using new breakthrough technology and a new fiber comes out. Right? So again, you're not extracting from the Earth. Now that has just happened within, I would say, three to five years, there's some new breakthrough technology happening. And so during the 2017, Copenhagen fashion Summit, these 90 brands that signed up for the 2020 commitment, we were asked to just do one of the four, right, Dhana chose to do all four.

And as of last year, as of this year, you know, our, our product, which is the first product of its kind in the world, the circular memory jacket, it's a first of all, many designs to come out, actually takes into consideration all four. We designed it such that it was taken into consideration. And so, so far we've had the number of customers that just love, they are the second memory jacket. And why because we can go into that for sure. And this is just an incredible amount of stories that people can talk about when they send their own clothing in, right. And then the best part, it's, it's a learning curve for a lot of people, what we doing is co-creating with value. And then we have a very important partner, which is Worn Again Technologies, you know, the fourth one I talked about, which is the feedstock and a new one. So Worn Again Technologies is based in the UK, and they have this breakthrough technology. And we're hoping that the way I see it in the future, companies like this will be the solution. And every continent in the world will end up having a factory like the Worn Again Technologies because feedstock will be part of the equation just like corrugated box factories, right? So there's one I believe in Staten Island, you know, many actually, where you can take paper and make it into boxes. Well, guess what you take clothing and make it into new fiber, right. So if you look at what's happening in the next few years, if this were to be predominantly in every continent, then that closed loop system, right, will enhance our lifestyle, because we don't have to extract more, our carbon footprint will definitely be reduced. So those are the four strategies of the circular fashion system that we've adopted, there is a huge component to awareness building, as well, education of customers. And for us. At Dhana, we believe that co creation with value is the fundamental underlying principle of every human being.

Cory Ames  13:27  
So along those lines, particularly, I mean, as it relates to this newest platform that you're coming out with, like obviously, the need for it, given the concerns of climate devastation are so acute. And you know, we're well aware of that. But your method in intimately involving these these potential purchasers in that process, why was that the method that you've chosen to go with? Because when you explained it earlier, it seems so well connected. The potential buyers, so well connected with the process from every end of it, what's the methodology behind that?

Shamini Dhana  14:03  
Right? It's stunning. But Cory, you as a person, right? You have a conscience? We believe everybody does. And that if you were told that there was some sort of exploitation that happened either on the personal side, that means the people the human component, or that we were given your data that, you know, your clothing was made, and here's the impact and you showed visually of you showed the amount. You probably would have a hard time sitting with that correct? 

Cory Ames  14:23
Definitely. 

Shamini Dhana  14:24
And so, this is what we call brand transparency. And it has shown over and over again, from the time the Rana Plaza disaster happened, which was fundamentally a pivotal time in the History of fashion. That was 2013. And back in Bangladesh when a building basically collapsed and killed over 1300 people, right? And understand that the United States develops produces over 95% of all of its clothing outside of the US. So the global supply chain is outside. A lot of them were in these developing countries, right? The question was starting to be, how could this possibly happen? Because the health and safety of the workers were undermined, even though they were told over and over again, that was an issue for the building. And then it just had a ripple effect in terms of voices not being heard for the workers to living wage, and then the rippling effect. And that happened with a huge explosion, a campaign called what we call: hashtag Fashion Revolution; hashtag who made my clothes- right? So people wanted to know, okay, so now with 200 million people every year, across the globe, on 24th of April, which is marks the anniversary of this calamity, this disaster, hashtag who makes my clothes? And it's a huge global movement, so that brands can, can really adhere to what consumers are wanting to know. Right? What is the social environmental impact on my piece of clothing that I'm about to purchase? Right? 

So Dhana, in 2018, launched a campaign called Wear Our Values. I made the statement, and that is "what we value we protect," right? What we value we spend time, energy, resources and money on, right? But what we value takes the form of matter. And that could be piece of cloth, right? And so when we wear a piece of clothing, it's actually an extension of ourselves, because we want to demonstrate either an expression, its performance, its functionality, it's serving a purpose, right. But if we use the same conscious notice that we have and say, "Actually, what this clothing has, is more than just matter, it's actually vibration, it's energy, it's the person behind it, it's actually connected to the planet," right? Then we start realizing what we value fundamentally goes in every single form. So in 2019, we published this report, right? It's called the Wear Our Values report, it's free, it's downloadable. 5000+ respondents from 90+ countries responded. And the number one question we asked was, is their brand customer value alignment? Is there an ability to see that customers what customers are demanding today that brands are actually giving? And you know, what the result was 97% of the customer said, We need greater brand transparency, right. And so we dig deep, what they were looking for, is fundamentally just knowing who makes my clothes and what the impact is. And so we took that, right, and said, How can we make a difference? What's going on to the world today? Right? So the choice today is only after the point of sale, that you you know, you get to know what your clothing has done. Because a brand will tell you that they will tell you the information about whether it was made in a fat trade, factory living wage and things like that, right? They'll show you photographs, and the photographs of the factory hopefully, and it's certified.

I'm not talking about all the brands who don't show this. And then on the environmental side, what brands are showing that is you buy a piece of garment and this is the impact. And we went further. How can we take this further? Well, let's give the customer that choice. Right? We have technology, this is what technology is about. I mean technology is an enabler. Right? So we want to empower the customer now, to be that change agent in the world. Why? Because before the point of sale, the customer now can look at the designs he or she wants pull from materials that he or she wants be asked, "Do you want to know who is going to make your clothes?" And "do you want to know what the impact of that choice of fabric is, before we make the clothing for you?" So we don't carry any inventory, everything is dead stock. As a customer, you will be connected to at least four people on the journey of your clothing. This is the new norm. This, we believe, is the new norm of the future. 

So then the customer takes that piece of clothing, right, and be able to share it on the virtual world, because there'll be 3d rendering, be able to scan it, create your avatar, and then share it in social virtual world, what he or she has just done to impact the world. And here's the fun part, to be able to talk to the customer, now, the customer, and the worker gets connected, right? So Cory now knows who exactly made his real clothes, right. And so as you travel the journey of life, and you want to show that your customer-- that worker, gratitude? Maybe share note? You should be able to now, when you start valuing people's lives, because they just served you with a piece of cloth and now has forever changed the way you look at it right? There is going to be a fundamental shift in the way you look at life. Because now you have impacted in an in a whole different way. Right? So we akin this to, perhaps the smartphone, right? When it was a phone, that was one way of sharing with the world. But when the smartphone came out, it took it to a whole different level, didn't it - it allowed the customer to create montage and videos and you know, be able to share their memories. And so what we're saying is, create those memories with your clothing. Those are priceless, priceless memories correct. And those priceless memories connect you with social and environmental good in the world. So there's another statement I make ever since I started this company 12 years ago, and it's come to fruition now. And that is: "every day, you place a piece of clothing on yourself that has the power to connect you with people and planet through the medium of fashion." And that's that's what we're doing. We're offering you a way of connecting like no other.

Cory Ames  23:11  
And so if that is the future of fashion for us, and I'm very excited about that future, I'm interested from your perspective, where you think the gap is then between where we are now and that sort of future reality? Because I think there is, you know, I wonder as well, and maybe I just have a bias towards it, because I see it in the news - I see contradictions of you know, what, larger corporations and brands, you know, be it Nike or whomever, say, you know, for in the instance of in this year of contextually standing with social justice movements, here in the United States, but you know, not kind of walking the walk and how they are treating workers abroad, you know, in China, for example. And so, you know, my thought is, like, I see that I'm aware of those contradictions. And I think that, you know, it being published in, you know, mainstream media, The Guardian, New York Times, whatever it might be, I'm like, shouldn't everyone else know this? I'm wondering, why aren't you know, Nike's sales been hit harder? You know, maybe they are, I just might not be keen to it. But I'm curious, you know, what your thoughts are on why we aren't exactly there yet to this this future that you've described, that I would so love for us to be in?

Shamini Dhana  24:28  
Well, there's a real calamity and tragedy in our system, our economic system, and that is the profiting that is going on, right. At the expense of, you know, social environmental good, right. It's a fundamental flaw, for sure. And hence why sustainability has just, you know, taken off in the fashion world. Because with COVID, we've seen that it's one of the number one issues now, right. So, in the fashion world, it's a $3 trillion industry, right? Some of the top billionaires in the world, if you want to take a look at the top 5 billionaires in the world, I would say at least 200 of them are the fashion industry. There's a lot of issues when it comes to diversity and inclusion. In the fashion industry, only 14% of all major brands in the world are women, let alone a minority, let's not even go there. It's driven by what we call the shareholder economy, which is to show profit quarter of the quarter at the expense of people and planet, right. And so we have to think, first of all, the internet, and the mobile phone, for giving safe haven to some of the workers to be able to highlight how they're being treated. And even though they have mobile phones, do they have a place of, you know, safety to actually upload that? Or will they be axed from their jobs? So the other laws in place today, that fundamentally protects the rights of humans, in any workspace, let alone country, right. In the United States, we may have that we can talk about, you know, how employers treat employees, you know, there are platforms where that is being told the same way in terms of food reviews, and things like that, we need to up the curve on this one for fashion. Right, that needs to come out.

It is an issue. It really is. Nike, you know, $30 billion company, big company. Again, you you have to give them kudos, because they're also one of the circular fashion brands in the world that signed up for that. Right. But there are degrees of how we disclose information today. I believe that we're coming to a focal point in humanity, where consumers now have more power than ever, to demand. And they should, right? Because if you can, if you can endorse a brand, the way that you can today, then it's showing that a brand needs to respond accordingly. Nike has a custom your own shoe platform. Right? It's the only one of its kind. I think, I mean, six years ago, I believe it's, you know, maybe five things you can customize. I think now it's almost 17. It's a very expensive platform, to build. It's what we emulated to be for the apparel world. Right. So this is what we're doing. You can actually customize it from the get go design. But coming back to your your question, Cory. Why? Because I really believe people can isolate. They can compartmentalize, right? There's no flow here, right? There's no roadmap. And so what if there was technology to showcase for every garment that is created, that there is a map of all the people who touched it? Right? Then there is technology that, you know, you can show what the environmental impact is, and from which part of the world? The industry is actually looking at traceability like that.  

I was just in a conversation this morning with a woman from MUD Jeans, and they're looking at traceability within jeans. And as you reuse it, how many times it has been reused. Right? So those are technology, again, as an enabler. But I really do believe that if we again, we have to value this word comes back again, right? What is it that we value? Or how do we value a person from what they do in life? And so for us, I often tell my team, you know, be ready to speak up. Video may not be your choice of medium. But I might be the founder and CEO of Dhana Inc., but everybody should be known what they've contributed to this platform, how they've contributed to this platform. Right? I want the world to know that we honor every person along the way. This is the issue. We don't have a voice even in the developed country. Right? And so when you honor people along the way, you're actually honoring yourself and you're honoring the elements. The wisdom of the ages will tell you that is the human spirit in itself, right? Because you see in others what you can and cannot see in yourself, sometimes. It-- to build a new culture, a society that is, you know, connected not just on phones, but at a human level, right, is something that we all aspire to be. I truly believe that the medium of fashion can do that. We're hoping that we can look at fashion and we can look at our clothing and saying, You know what? I went to that rock concert, I bought that T shirt. My dad's swimming trunks. Oh, wow. Now he's passed away. I took that dress and went to that bar mitzvah. Right? You know, that was my grandmother's scarf. Now taking all of that those memories, using technology, right? Putting that into a new piece of garment, holding it very dear to oneself, being able to tell stories in a whole different way. 

So how we started that conversation? How many of us actually have those conversations within a piece of garment that we actually have memories, priceless memories that we can share? This is what we're doing. The circular memory jacket, we have testimonials. And we have case studies now. And I just did a two hour video of this boy called Adam, who took 10 pieces of T shirts from his from his family and himself and put it into a circular memory jacket and the family got together. And we were talking about each piece and what it meant. I'll give you an example. One of it was a simple blue t shirt with a big pi on it. The symbol. I said don't tell me what about-- what, what is that? Why did you choose that jacket? What do you choose that T shirt put into your jacket? He said, "Shamini, can I just tell you that was my first time I ever repeated 100 digits in PI for my class." And I said, "Oh my God, you actually did that?" He says "Yeah. And I got a prize for that." And that changed - that whole time he did that changed his life because he's now pursuing a mathematical pathway in Korea, and he wants to be, you know, mathematic professor, just like his dad going to Berkeley. He wants to do that. So you can use mathematics to help humanity. Okay, so do you see the stories? I mean, that is one t shirt.

Cory Ames  32:43  
It has me wonder, especially like with the absolute scale that - I mean, we keep bringing them up, but the Nikes, whomever they deal with - and that's such a very customized, personalized experience attached to one garment. Well, I guess it's a few that, you know, historic shirts and things that they had beforehand. But I'm wondering, is-- Can that be replicated on that level? Like does it need to be? Is that what the future of fashion should look like for us? Or inherently, I guess, on the scale in which we currently operate in the fashion industry, you know, fast fashion, or what have you, is that just inherently flawed and that it shouldn't exist? Because that's such an intimate experience that you're discussing, but currently, the fashion industry is operating at such wild global scale. You know, is it possible? Should we not have that? I'm curious.

Shamini Dhana  33:39  
Yeah, I mean, you know, that the fashion industry is a freefall now, you know, we're expected, like 13,000 stores to go bankrupt. I mean, to close, sorry - tons to go bankrupt. And one data point is there's a drop in, like $300 billion drop in sale. Right? Everybody needs clothes on to make a decision. We're gonna get what, three, four more billion people on this planet, right? So you can just imagine at least at least 4 billion clothing items to be worn every day. Can we stop this phenomena of growth? No, because we need more people. But do we need as many clothing per person? I don't believe so. But where is the opportunity in fashion then if we're slowing down our consumption, right? In buying fashion, right, because it's not serving the needs of our current value system, which is we don't really need to have a piece of clothing every two weeks. So you know, 60 pieces of clothing a year. Then where is the industry going? And I believe that there is new fashion technology coming in for entertainment of above the consumer. And what do I mean by that? It's one of the features that we are also launching in the future. 

So we have version one, for sure. But here's the projection going forward. So Cory has now designed 10 jackets, so 10 pieces of shirts online, in his virtual studio, right? He's actually collaborated with his social network and friends, to maybe even design it together. He may just purchase one. But the rest, here's the thing: He can play with it in his virtual world, in a community setting - gamify it perhaps. That's the potential because the technology is getting there whereby people just want-- the same way we do gamification, we, you know, we play games? We can do fashion shows ourselves, why not? We can intersperse photography with fashion, and come up with our own Second Life. Right? That's where we're going to. The fashion world is exploding in the virtual digital world. And with 3d avatars, right, we'll be able to do that. So the need to just show fashion in form may still always be there, but not as high in terms of fast fashion that we used to be, right. Because it's more important now to be able to show in various aspects, the connection, not only just in terms of environmental impact. You'll be getting a scorecard and how much impact you will have with all your fashion going forward. It's a given, but in the nutritional labeling of fashion is coming on board. 

But I think it's the honoring, I really believe - the honoring, right? What if Cory could actually reward the worker that worked on his last purchase? Tip, you know, maybe find out that the worker was a single mom, and, you know, putting the kid to school? What if there was an extension of that to do a micro loan? Right? There's just so many opportunities in the fashion industry that we haven't really thought about. This, I believe, is the new frontier, which is giving the consumer a lot more not just information, data, but choices. Right? That's very altruistic, for sure. And the ability to impact in a very significant way. But yes, I do believe the virtual world is actually going to take off in fashion. It's already showing itself. It was pushed to the limit because of COVID with all the fashion shows, right? And people watching it online.

Cory Ames  38:05  
You mentioned for earlier that I think maybe 90, 95% of the supply chain for the fashion industry in the US is abroad, right? And as well Dhana is a Fairtrade certified brand. I'm wondering then, what is the ideal because there is as well, this priority of of having all goods, not just clothing items, you know, some preference to it being produced locally or regionally or just closer in proximity? I'm wondering in this future vision of fashion, in your opinion, like what is the idea of that, you know, especially as it relates to honoring those workers. But is it to look as I mean, obviously, it doesn't look as it does now in the realm of how well these workers are treated. But I guess in the placement is that still you know, in Southeast Asia or China or where they were, they are currently is that what you see the future of fashion remaining to be?

Shamini Dhana  39:04  
It will be localized. I mean, in a nutshell, it will be localized a lot more. Pandemic has forced, because of global supply chains being cut or temporarily being impacted, to look at local options and solutions. I truly believe that more jobs will be generated here in this country using already supply from overstock materials, overstock inventory - there is a huge propensity to move towards regional and local in the US. And we're hoping-- all our clothing today is made in the United States with materials found in the United States. For people in the United States. Yes, you know, we would, if somebody you know, wanted it from abroad - from London or Netherlands or Japan and wanted one of our clothing, and they want to send their clothing - Yes, you know, it's possible we would. We would relate to them that, you know, its carbon footprint that you're adding, even though you're using deadstock. So, and one of the things that we would like to do is to say, are you prepared to offset that yourself? Right? And we would give them the opportunity to do that. But yes, I do believe and then with, of course, the new technologies, we're talking about, like Worn Again Technologies, Vinted Sell and renew - all those technologies coming in, which will allow then localized factories, right. So using feedstock, I don't believe it's going to happen overnight. There is going to be a gradual shift. And I hope, that gradual shift will be exponentially looked at because of the up and enabling technologies as well. 

I would like to say that there is another opportunity here, and that is resources that is considered waste being turned into fiber. So it's not just clothing. Today, you have resources, such as pineapple waste being turned into fiber, there's food being turned into fiber, there's grapes being turned into fiber after they make their wine, right. So there's new technology over there, which we're in favor of, as long as you know, it can be utilized that way. And so there is this, this enormous opportunity to think outside the box. Even in here, in the Bay Area, you know, there's a great company called Bolt Threads (I'm sure you've heard of them), in Berkeley that is using-- they're inspired by nature, just like looking at that spider silk, and making it in the strength, just like spiders, and then like mycelium with mushrooms. And that-- and then of course, there's the new meat, you know, so using leather, you're using lab grown technology. So we haven't even touched that. But that's also another opportunity of growth within the country. Right? And I think, you know, one day you and I will, will share in each other's experiences. What fabric do you have there? Over and above what memory it holds. So I think, for consumers want different sort of choices going up in the future. But it really does pertain to adhering to what we need most in life today. And that is the human connection to people along the way, as well as understanding our environmental impact.

Cory Ames  42:42  
Certainly, well Shamini I really appreciate your time. Would you mind if I asked you a few rapid fire questions before we finish? So let's get started with a morning routine or a daily habit, what's one that you absolutely have to stick to?

Shamini Dhana  42:56  
So one of my things that I do is I meditate in the morning, and I breathe with from the top and going all the way down to my to the earth and giving gratitude to the breath, which joins all of humankind. And we engage on our life because of breath, water, and heat.

Cory Ames  43:27  
Sounds lovely. What's a book that you always recommend? Or maybe one that's that's recently impacted? You?

Shamini Dhana  43:37  
Oh, wow. So many. But the one that I, I love, you know, is Jonathan Livingston Seagull. It's a very old book - a book that talks about looking outside of the norm. And, and looking at human potential. Right? It's - it was it was I think it was created like, maybe 40 years ago, but it's still relevant every time I read it over and over again, it makes me think of something else.

Cory Ames  44:19  
Well, we'll make sure to have that one linked up. And then is there any particular organization or business perhaps in the fashion industry that you've really admired recently? Who's whose work you've really appreciated? who's worthy of getting a little recognition here?

Shamini Dhana  44:38  
In the fashion industry? Yep. Um, I would say the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Global Fashion Agenda for sure that we, you know, we relied on heavily in terms of our circular principles and how we've designed for circular for sure. I must give a big shout out to the Organic Trade Association for the Fiber Council who, in states the, the whole entire organic side that we grew up with, right. So if you want to use organic, they were very instrumental. And also the fair trade, Fair Trade International group that really adhered to the fact of treating people with living wages and giving them a voice. Of course, even though they're not in fashion, but we-- Oh, big shout out to the whole entire B Lab community. Right, because we're the ethos of, of Dhana is putting people, planet, same level as profits, you can do it all together to prosper and live in, you know, in live in harmony.

Cory Ames  46:03  
And then final, maybe more open ended, what's one piece of advice that you give to the the aspiring or active impact driven entrepreneur?

Shamini Dhana  46:16  
The impact entrepreneur who, who's looking at the next thing they're about to do is ask yourself, why you're doing what you're doing, how you will impact people with what you're doing, as well as how you will show respect for the environment. Very important, right? That should be in the DNA. Like how will you give voice to people and empower them? And on the planet side? How will you be able to show that it was integral to your entire business model business system? Know why you're doing this?

Cory Ames  47:08  
Excellent piece of advice to end on thank you so much, Shamini.

Shamini Dhana  47:12  
Thank you, appreciate you having this opportunity to, to even give fashion a platform and to be able to talk to here. How transformation is happening even at a granular level for all of humankind.

Cory Ames  47:34  
The absolute least that we can do here. Y'all are doing the more challenging work. So we really appreciate it. Any final places to direct folks to keep up with Dhana?

Shamini Dhana  47:45  
Yes, we will be announcing a lot more initiatives in our platform on dhana.com. So keep us in mind. And we hope that you join us as our tagline says we're wearing the world, but we've co creating with them. So thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Cory Ames  48:07  
Thank you. We'll have everything linked up in the show notes growensemble.com. Thanks again.

Shamini Dhana  48:12  
Thank you.

Cory Ames  48:14  
All right, y'all. That's a wrap on another episode of the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast as always so grateful to have you listening in. If you love the show, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts or hit subscribe wherever it is that you get yours. And as well. I want to invite you to sign up for our Better World Weekly newsletter. This is our weekly discussion with our community of social entrepreneurs and changemakers on all things building a better world does the newsletter I write and publish send out myself every single Monday go to growensemble.com backslash newsletter, to join in on that discussion, all things building a better world. Go to growensemble.com backslash newsletter to get the next one in your inbox. And finally, if you know of a company work within a company or run a company that might be interested in sponsoring the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast, we always love starting conversations with potential partners who share our vision of building a better world together. Go to socialentrepreneurship.fm backslash contact. There, you can fill out a quick form, start that conversation with us. And these sorts of partnerships fuel our mission to build a better world together. All right, y'all. Until next time.

Shamini Dhana Profile Photo

Shamini Dhana

Founder & CEO

Shamini is a fashion entrepreneur and the founder of sustainable fashion technology company, Dhana. Through her work, Shamini connects consumers to the clothing they wear and the true history behind it.

Prior to founding Dhana, Shamini worked for 20 years in international strategy and global operations. She strives to connect people to the clothes they wear and has launched successful campaigns that educate students and children about their environmental impact in the fashion industry.

Shamini is active in the sustainable fashion industry and serves as a board member for Climate Ride, Ethical Fashion Forum, and served as an associated producer of The Trust Cost film.

Shamini is also the CEO of D/Sphere (https://www.dsphere.network/), a creative fashion technology platform founded in 2020, for people to create, collaborate and story tell through the medium of fashion. D/Sphere empowers the consumer to be the solution to climate change by reengineering second life materials and recreating existing clothing into zero-waste fashion, thereby diverting the 70% of the $3 trillion fashion industry that would end up in the landfill.