DDR: Amen! Sustainability is so complex, and as a brand, it’s quite difficult to explain to your end consumer the steps that are being taking in that direction, toward being a more positive and responsible impact on the industry. Double D is fortunate to have such an open dialogue with our customers and for them to have the opportunity to ask those questions, but even then, it’s a full-on conversation; it’s not as simple as ‘are you or aren’t you?’
Sonica: Absolutely. I think Double D has a really loyal following. And it’s funny, right, one minute you’re talking about the origin story of your brand and why you do what you do and how you do it, and the next thing you know, you’re impacting people in so many ways, because fashion is cultural, it’s religion, it’s politics, it’s all of that. We find ourselves in really strange times; what we say about how something is made is really loaded. It isn’t as simple as American jobs versus Indian or Chinese jobs; it’s about who can make what. The ladies in Peru who are knitting those sweaters for you, the ladies in India can’t do that. We have to realize that clothing involves so many textiles and techniques that you have to go to the place where it originates sometimes, because maybe the guy doing the beading or printing in India is equipped for it, but maybe we’re not equipped for something else. Not every country can produce everything, that’s why fashion requires globalization. This whole ‘Make it in the US, not in India’ is completely out of context. So, we have to be really careful and we have to use our position of connection with the customer to really educate them. And I think you guys do a brilliant job of that.
DDR: Well, thank you; a lot of credit goes to our customers and their desire to be informed, it’s not helpful or educational if it falls on deaf ears. We’re really lucky – and the McMullen sisters have worked really hard – to have that dynamic and that relationship with our customers.
Sonica: And with their vendors as well. I know they’re a family business, and it’s a family business on my end also, because my father and my brother are both involved, and we’ve all sort of met over the years, but we feel like an extension of their family because they treat us as such. My sense is that they understand that how they connect themselves with their vendors has consequences, which a lot of brands often don’t realize; that if you pull business or you cut prices or you don’t pay companies, you are effectively putting them out of business, because now nobody has any financial cushion. From the bottom of my heart, I’m just so grateful for them as a brand, because they have remained steadfast in their business dealings with us, especially through COVID, when our circumstances were extremely dire.
DDR: As if you haven’t said enough inspiring things already, we always like to ask the people we speak with whether they have a motto or a mantra that they live by or that guides them, their rudder that keeps them on course.
Sonica: What I live by – especially in my profession where there is so much smoke and mirrors in the supply chain – is the motto, ‘Do the right thing, even when no one is looking.’ Because we live in an industry where so many brands are now forced to make demands of suppliers, and there is ‘ok, I’ll try and be more sustainable’ or ‘I’ll try and be more transparent’, and a lot of it’s just lip service. I’ve now been working in fashion for 20 years, and our role in this is that we’re very steadfast in what we represent. My needle does not move on our core value system and how we go about our approach to business; our thing is we built a sustainable business, we built a responsible business that keeps its people well-paid and offers opportunity in a diversified way that makes sense for people from rural backgrounds as well as women, and we continue to build it in this way, regardless of if a brand asks it of us or not. So that’s something that I live by.
You can learn more about Sonica Sarna, her organizations and artisans on her website: SonicaSarna.com and we encourage you to follow all that she’s doing on Instagram: @SonicaSarna.