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Tell us a bit about who you are, what it is that you do and how you got to be where you are today?
We are Diane and Lena, Mauritian twins and the pioneers of a movement promoting sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry, in Mauritius. We are the co-founders of the social enterprise D&L working to co-create on-demand and custom-made solutions hand in hand with the fashion industry stakeholders to solve their circular fashion problems. We wish to contribute to making the circular fashion industry accessible for all in Africa. We are also the Country Coordinators of Fashion Revolution in Mauritius; a global movement present in more than 100 countries working towards a fairer, safer, cleaner and more transparent clothing industry.
What was your inspiration and reasoning behind starting D&L?
Our journey began on a travel adventure together to Vietnam in July 2018. The True Cost documentary (a must-watch documentary on Netflix) was also eye-opening. We discovered the hidden facet of the vulnerable yet exploited fashion industry which is too often unknown to the rest of the world. As a result, we wanted to propagate our new discoveries and create awareness about this harmful industry. We started to change our shopping habits which in turn inspired others, thus a series of events started to contribute towards the success of our journey which led to the creation of our social business D&L. We envision a world where every single human would be able to dress up in clothes made in dignity not in misery while ensuring earth’s resource regeneration and not depletion.
Why is sustainable fashion so important to you?
The clothes we wear communicate who we are, they are our chosen skin. However, our generation is facing an identity paralysis. We are drawn to brands that make us feel how we want to feel about ourselves, even though how we want to feel about ourselves is often nothing more than how we want to be perceived externally. Knowing the destructive social and environmental impact caused by the fashion industry, we want to empower people to move from constantly looking for products to satiate their social proofing to start wearing their values and conviction. We want to empower them to embrace their differences, as being different is the new norm. We all wear clothes, we could all be Fashion Heroes.
What empowers you as women?
Empowered women have empowered us. We are beyond grateful to have been guided, coached, and supported by a diverse and unexpected group of women who have been in our place before. Each one, teach one. This principle is implemented by these women and in this sense, we never feel alone.
What are your thoughts on the growing movement to empower women and give them an equal voice?
We believe this growing movement to empower women is fundamentally essential for the wellbeing of our society and nature. Women have been silenced for far too long. It’s time for us as women to stand up for each other and reconnect to our masculine part - the determined, business-oriented and independent part. Every human being is made up of masculine and feminine, therefore, rather to put men aside, this movement should also invite them to reconnect to the feminine part of themselves - the sensitive, intuitive and genuine human connection part. And only then will equality be sustainable.
What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of starting their own company?
Stop thinking, start doing. Build your self-confidence and just do it. You don’t need to have it right and ready to start a business, you will learn along the way. Starting your own business is the best school you can invest in, the school of life. You will learn who you are, how to create quality relationships, how to embrace change as well as so many other skills that will help you become the best version of yourselves.
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