From Clothing to Conversation: The Rise of Slow-Fashion Apparel Brand Dazey LA
It’s been years since I’ve personally done a fashion feature on a brand I love. Now, don’t get it twisted. This gal still collects fashion magazines, loves a good sale, and has an affinity for collections on Instagram — it’s like Pinterest but, more aesthetically pleasing to my eye. So, when I came across the empowering apparel brand, Dazey LA, I was mesmerized.
Not only were the designs gorgeous and thoughtful, they were based on the art of conversation. Danielle Nagel, owner and designer, was doing a self-proclaimed challenge #dazeyeveryday where she would wear one of her own pieces every single day. Styling it with other pieces she carries in her shop — more on that later — and making sure to include why she designed it.
You know me. I love to know the why behind the business and the content. I was sold! Literally.
I purchased the “Speak Up, Speak Out” tee in a season where I was finding my voice was stronger, louder, and I wanted to amplify it for the right causes. This t-shirt reminded me that I still had other stories to tell, stories that still hurt, and stories that would help me heal.
On March 4th, 2018, Dani challenged all the women following her brand to share a story about a time where we felt silenced. The very next day, I posted a photo with the following caption:
#TriggerWarning // To the men in the pickup trucks who drove by my 13 year old frame walking to school to honk and holler, you made me feel unsafe and unprotected. To the elderly white man who grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go, you paralyzed me and made me feel like a stranger in my own body. To the men who follow me around stores and curse me out and degrade me when I act like I cannot hear you, you silenced my voice and had me say “all men are trash.” To the two older men in the mall who harassed my best friend and I, even after we told them we were lesbians just to get them to go away, f*ck you. To every man that has tried to own my body and claim it as a space he can dictate for his own pleasure, for his own twisted fantasy, f*ck you. To every man who has blown off my opinions and my knowledge as “oh that’s cute, you think you can do this”, f*ck you. It’s my turn to talk and I’m saying f*ck you to every man who has ever made a woman scared to live her life. The man who made her feel stupid for having an opinion and a dream bigger than being his trophy wife. The men who made her paranoid to walk down the street of her own hometown. It’s #ourturntotalk ladies. What will you say? // challenged by @dazey_la to speak up and speak out.
Dani’s comment was “TIME IS FREAKING UP” with clapping emojis, a crying emoji, raised hands, and a red heart. I remember comments from other Dazey ambassababes who felt the sting of the times when are lips were sealed shut because we’ve always been told to “stay safe.” Others felt their adrenaline level up and others just loved that I said something like this.
But, it’s not just messages like #TIMESUP that Dazey advocates for. Dazey LA also advocates sustainability, self-care, and sisterhood.
Dazey is a female-owned, eco-conscious, slow fashion brand that’s made right in the heart of Los Angeles, California. Dani isn’t hesitant to take you behind the scenes and answer questions regarding their practices. The most common questions I’ve seen are why are prices so high and will her business carry larger sizes. Dani pops on her stories to explain the cost of being sustainable and that the profit margins are fairly low considering everything that goes into it. She’ll also show you where the clothing is made from time-to-time and I can’t help but love seeing her production team smile as they show off what they’re working on.
But, Dani is still human. She still suffers from burnout, anxiety, and lows in her journey. With that knowledge in mind, her team launched the Self-Care Summer collection in June of 2018. The conversation then turned to how when she started Biz Babez with co-founder Taryn Rasgon (yes, of the incredible, Vegetaryn), she started working with their community manager, Kasey Drier. Kasey also just happens to be a brilliant self-care coach.
Dani quickly found herself saying “no” more often to things that didn’t serve her so she could conserve her energy. Determined to remind others that “you are enough”, the collection centered around messages like “stress does not equal success” and to “surrender what doesn’t serve you.”
But wait, didn’t you mention size inclusivity?? I’m not seeing it! — I did!
Dazey LA collaborated with the bad*ss women leading the She’s All Fat podcast to bring the “Allies of All Size” campaign. A new graphic that ranges from size small to size 4X and will directly fund the expansion of their sizes for all of their items. In short, this was necessary move in the fashion industry and women’s apparel.
And, while it doesn’t include people of all sizes, it aims to get Dazey there little-by-little. Dani is constantly taking feedback from her customers, her peers, and wants to make sure to let people know “hey, representation maters.” I could tell you more about it myself but, there are words better than mine to explain how this truly changes the conversation. They’re from Dazey’s photographer, Naomi, straight from the boss blog.
The Allies of All Size design is a collaboration between the body posi queens Sophie and April, who coined the phrase Allies of All Size, and Dani, the designer behind Dazey LA, who created the artwork. This artwork includes a disabled person using a cane (inspired by Selma Blair at the Oscars), a person with a single mastectomy showing only one nipple, and a variety of bodies and body types. As a whole, this graphic aims to promote inclusivity and show women proudly celebrating their bodies.
And no, the conversation doesn’t stop there. In my eyes, Dazey LA is just getting started and so is Dani. While she’s not perfect, she is trying to do better in a world that constantly makes us feel like we can’t, like we’re less than. She’s a disturber of norms and paves way for people where others were unsure. Take her ambassador program, for example.
With her boyfriend, Phillip Butler, Dani created a program for women who want to make money while advocating for the empowerment of women, sustainability, and shopping small. No, there’s no purchase minimum to become an ambassababe and I’ve seen ladies of all shapes, colors, sizes, beliefs, etc be accepted. Think about it. You get awesome discounts to purchase clothing that is good for the environment, make money every time someone shops through you, and connect with like-minded women from all over the world. Who doesn’t want that??
In fact, I wanted exactly that and so I applied. Needless to say, I got in and am actually one of the OG ambassababes. I don’t know what year I’d technically be the class of but, either way, I’m always excited to see new faces join in! If you’re into the same things, I strongly urge you to apply. The Dazey ladies are incredibly welcoming, in person too! I met a few of them at SMADCON last year, as well as Dani, however, that’s a different story for a different day.