This Young Champion of the Earth Makes Sustainable Clothing Rad
Image credit:Cam Hilts edited by @erikjrojas
NOVEL SUPPLY CO. is a clothing company based in Vancouver, Canada that focuses on sustainability. After Novel Supply founder Kaya Dorey realized just how much material went into landfills in the making of clothes, she decided she wanted to create something better for the Earth. Parvati Magazine sat down with Kaya to talk about how natural and organic can be stylish.
Parvati Magazine: You mention on your website that Novel Supply is inspired by the “West Coast Lifestyle”. What does the West Coast lifestyle look like?
Kaya Dorey: Here on the West Coast, we are nestled between the sea and the mountains and many of us enjoy weekend ski trips, paddleboard adventures and day hikes up many of the surrounding mountains. We appreciate the local landscapes and epic views where we live, and because of this, we care about protecting it. There is a growing movement to support rad local businesses with a purpose and that is why I love calling this place home. This to me, is the West Coast Lifestyle.
PMAG: How important is social media for a new brand?
KD: Social media is imperative to my brand. It is the face of my business as it is primarily an e-commerce business. Instagram is the way I speak to people and tell them about new collaborations and it is how I sell my kids apparel. This could change, I know, but for now, it has been working well.
PMAG: What new lines do you have coming up?
KD: I am working on my next artist collaboration and should be launching this for spring. It will be a limited edition run. I am also working on designing a few new products for my line, and am looking into collaborating with a natural dyer to do a limited batch of naturally dyed sweatshirts.
PMAG: Has starting an eco-friendly clothing line always been in your mind? If not, what made you want to pursue it?
KD: I didn’t even attend fashion school. I always thought I would be in sales of some sort, but starting my own business wasn’t even a thought until about three years ago. I did a project on textile waste and I learned all about how much fabric and clothing was being thrown into the landfill. I realized we had a major problem on our hands and I was driven by the need to do something about it and solve a problem. Having been in retail for ten years and having gone to school for tourism management, which was essentially business with a tourism focus, I had the necessary skills to do it.
PMAG: What is the most surprising thing you have learned about how clothing is made?
KD: The most surprising thing to me was how difficult it was to find a local manufacturer. There are a few in Vancouver but most of them are extremely busy and don’t have the time to take on a small order or walk you through the process. It’s an intimidating process and isn’t just about learning the technical aspects of how it all works, but more so about learning how to negotiate and be fearless.
PMAG: You were one of six winners to receive the UN Young Champion of the Earth prize. What was that experience like?
KD: It’s still so crazy to think about, especially with our trip to Germany this month for a week-long entrepreneurship training by the DO School. I feel hopeful that the UN recognizes that fashion is one of the biggest issues that we need to deal with. It means we’re getting somewhere. I’m grateful that they have put their faith in me to be a leader in this movement because a major reason I created my brand was to make people more aware of this issue and create an option for people to make a better choice.
Kaya Dorey, is the founder of NOVEL SUPPLY CO., a sustainable apparel line made in her hometown of Vancouver, BC, Canada. As a Young Champion of the Earth, she is striving to create a zero waste, closed-loop model that takes responsibility for the products she creates.