Everyone in the digital fashion space has deemed LA-based fashion label Christy Dawn the “It,” the “Cool Girl,” the “Dress Every Girl in LA Is Wearing.” And they’re not wrong.
But they’re not entirely right.
That’s not the whole picture.
It'd be hard to flub your fashion in a Christy Dawn dress or sweater (recently launched!!), from both a fashion POV to an ethical one to yes, even a spiritual one.
The breezy Cali brand sources deadstock fabric, manufacturing is done locally, they pay their sewers a living wage (15+ an hour), host a ping pong lunch everything Friday at 3pm, and just got everyone who works for them health insurance. “Christy Dawn isn’t just me,” the founder and lead designer says. “It’s every person who puts energy into the garment.”
This is the pulse that beats through the company. “It’s not hard to find good people,” she says, “ if you treat them well.” As a business owner she says treating her workers well is a “non-negotiable.”
One such person is Pedro Trujillo, the company’s production manager who has been Christy Dawn’s sewer and sounding board from the beginning. Christy and Aras Baskauskas, her husband and biz partner, used to work from his couch. He used to tell them, “Most of my clients don’t usually come down here.” But working from Pedro’s couch gave Christy insight into the people side of production. “Pedro paid people so well,” she says, “it was a priority for him.”
Years of modeling also gave her insider info into her priorities. “I knew how to make an e-commerce site survive. I gathered so much data from jobs,” she says. “I asked so many questions.” She also gathered information ”No one ever mentioned the artisans,” she says of doing e-commerce every single day for four years. “There was no respect.”
As Christy Dawn grew, so did the need to find a space. Last January Christy and Aras made the decision to really go for it— they signed a lease in the Arts District, but shortly thereafter they knew it wasn’t right. “For us, the space is super important,” she says. And they made the decision to forfeit their deposit, instead moving into the 12,000-square-foot factory in downtown Los Angeles. It’s bright, clean, with a fully built out kitchen, and on tap kombucha and coffee.
It’s a place you’d be proud to work at. To show your fam. And it is a family affair at Christy Dawn.
Pedro’s daughter Valeria is the company’s production coordinator, whom they recently gave her first raise. “We told her, we’re going to give you what you ask for.” And they were true to their word. Last year Christy and Aras also called up Pedro one day and told him and Valeria to meet them at a Toyota dealership. They bought the father and daughter matching Rav 4s, so they could get to work safely. “Our company is growing,” Christy says, “but we don’t need 20 million dollars. We want every one of our sewers to be able to afford what they’re making. Money is just multiplication. It’s just numbers. It’s just energy.”
It’s an energy in each dress, blessed by Pedro’s wife Teresita, who does all the finishing work. “She’s the last person who has her hands on every garment,” shares Christy. A little while back she saw Teresita talking over the garments. She asked Pedro what his wife was doing. “She was blessing each dress,” says Christy. “We had no idea.”
What she does have an idea about are her hopes for the brand's longevity, commitment to deadstock, and sustainability. “There’s nothing timeless about a trend,” she shares of her hopes for the brand’s longevity. “I’m not afraid anymore if it’s a ‘success’ or not. Abundance,” she shares, “is about so much more than money.”