In the third instalment of our sustainable style series, we chat with the Torontonian behind Tamga Designs. The company is based in Indonesia and focuses on ethically-made and forest-friendly fashion.
Arriving in Dhaka, Bangladesh, shortly after the Rana Plaza factory collapse changed everything for Yana Dales and her partner Eric. Picking apart their role as consumers, the couple was led down a rabbit hole as they educated themselves on the fast-fashion industry that contributed to the deaths of more than 1,100 factory workers.
With some of her favourite brands having been manufactured there, Dales knew her approach to fashion had to change. Tamga began as a side project, with Dales’ experience in modelling and NGOs both providing invaluable input.
“I wanted to wear clothing I knew was made ethically and suited my personal style,” she says.
Connecting with a group of fairly paid tailors, Dales began selling her lively designs internationally through Etsy. She was able to see first-hand both the demand for ethical fashion as well as the impact the work had on the makers’ lives.
“We decided to leave our respective jobs and embark on creating an entirely sustainable and transparent fashion brand,” she says. Seeking out mills and factories that work with Lenzing fibres — the most sustainable choice — Dales has Tamga now based in Indonesia. There, family-owned sewing factories produce the playfully bohemian pieces in small runs, allowing every step of production to be overseen.
“We advocate for forest-friendly fashion,” she says, “and are fighting to stop deforestation of ancient and endangered rainforests — largely caused by fast-fashion brands.” Each Tamga purchase arrives in a biodegradable garment bag, and a donation is made to replant the Sumatran rainforest.
Tamga Designs, www.tamgadesigns.com
For more sustainable clothing brands, check out part two of this series on Wuxly Movement.