Dubai based sustainable apparel brand The Giving Movement launched during the pandemic and still managed to find success. Its founder, Dominic Nowell-Barnes, shares how sustainability resonates with UAE fashion consumers.
Especially in this region, it's difficult to find clothing labels that implement sustainability practices into their daily operations without sacrificing comfort, style, and affordability.
The Giving Movement is one of the few sustainable fashion brands from Dubai that prioritize the environment while being comfortable and fashionable.
Dominic Nowell-Barnes created his apparel brand during the pandemic to make sustainable products accessible to everybody. He wanted to come up with something disruptive that would give back from every item sold.
The Giving Movement support Dubai Cares and Harmony House by donating a portion of the proceeds. It chose to support local charities to focus on education as well as give food and basic human needs.
"The idea of focusing on education appealed to me because if you can educate a group of children who would otherwise be uneducated for all of their life, they have a much better chance of raising themselves above below the poverty line. [...] And so my initial idea was to come up with a program or education to help younger people get the experience they need to be successful. Because I just felt there was so much that I learned at school that was irrelevant compared to what I learned in the first seven years of my career."
- Dominic Nowell-Barnes, The Giving Movement founder, as told to Bazaar
After studying business in school, Dominic Nowell-Barnes realized by 25 that money wasn't going to make him happier. So he centered the idea of his next venture around giving. He says:
"Charity is something that a lot of people want to do but maybe don’t normally do. It gets to the end of the month and you’ve got bills to pay and things to do and sometimes charity is left to the last resort. [...] I knew that it was going to be about giving back. I was looking at what was my purpose for the project was going to be."
Giving is the most important thing ever. Whatever you are looking for, if you focus on giving first, you will find it. It's the key to health, well-being, success, love, and happiness.
By giving first to other people, you will feel great about yourself. You will improve your self-worth, respect, confidence, and happiness. It's not what you give that matters but how. if you give first, good things will come back to you.
The Giving Movement separates itself from the fast fashion business model that maximizes profits with little concern for sustainability.
Innovations in the industry make it possible today to design and manufacture eco-friendly products that are as beautiful and comfortable as they are stylish and affordable.
Dominic Nowell-Barnes explains that his brand launched during a difficult time but it didn't stop him from building a successful brand by aligning his marketing strategy with his core mission. He reveals:
"Our strategy is very much based around paid advertising on social media. That’s just to get the exposure. [...] We are just trying to raise awareness about an alternative product that is sustainable, ethical, and for a good cause. And so I think that people have aligned to that as especially in this region as something that is not done anywhere else."
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About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.