26-year-old fashion designer Phoebe Dahl may feel familiar because of her last name –"Dahl," as in Roald Dahl. (The Twits is Phoebe's favorite of her grandfather's novels.) Or, you may recognize her face from adorable Instagrams of her and fiancée Ruby Rose.
But if you don't really know who Phoebe Dahl is or what she's up to, you're missing out. Dahl is behind Faircloth & Supply, a utilitarian fashion line that's advancing a cause that's Dahl's greatest passion: the "economic empowerment of women worldwide." To do so, Faircloth & Supply matches every item of clothing sold with a school uniform donation to girls in Nepal. They also provide supplies and scholarships to the girls in Nepal, and this week, Dahl's premiering a new initiative, selling scarves to benefit India's Women's Weave, which revives the lost art of hand looming while empowering women with sustainable income and life-skills.
1. BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE
When Dahl began working with Women's Weave, she realized she was going to have to make concessions. From her very first sewing project as a child, a fuzzy ball-topped cap she made with her grandmother, Dahl's designs have always been very neutral toned. Yet, the scarves sewn by these women in India are bold and bright.
'It was really difficult for me, because my color palate is typically white, black, and blue,' Dahl tells me over the phone from her family vacation in Martha's Vineyard. 'But I thought 'Why not throw in something different?' Even though the reds are not what I'd normally go for, they're stunning. I know the attention and the detail and the love that go into these scarves. They have so much good energy and karma.'
2. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A SOLID SQUAD
From the grandmother who inspired her to work with linen, to the five friends whom she's convinced to accompany her in the fall on her next mission trip to India, to partner Ruby who supports her on the daily, Dahl attributes a lot of her achievements to the strong women in her life.'I'm so lucky to be surrounded by powerful and strong...headed women (laughs),' she says. Dahl's step-aunt put her in touch with the head of Women's Weave. By the way, Women's Weave operates out of Maharashtra, a village of rural India that actually worships women.
'They had a woman ruler in the 1800s and since then they've respected women, and this is unheard of in India. It was like a utopia and when I found it and this booming business supporting women, I was like 'Oh my God! Perfect!''
When seeking advice, Dahl calls on her mother, Ruby, and various members of her family, including her aunt, Ophelia Dahl, a social justice and healthcare advocate. 'Stick with other women,' Dahl says. 'Women have to stick together.'
3. GOT HATERS? PROVE EM WRONG
Dahl says she's been fortunate enough to avoid discrimination as a result of her gender or sexuality. 'I'm so lucky to be able to say that, because I know so many struggle with that,' she says, 'But I don't even let it cross my mind. I've created such a team of powerful women doing such good things, there's not very much a man or anyone can else can say. My advice is absolutely prove the haters wrong. Be a powerful woman and stand true in yourself.'
4. SELF-CARE ISN'T SELFISH
Every morning when Dahl wakes up, she takes some time for herself. 'I think it's very important to pause and say 'thank you' for being alive and having everything you have before you even look at your phone or whatever,' Dahl says. She also enjoys spending time outside, taking her dogs for walks, or sitting in her backyard to think. 'Once you go in the morning, you don't stop. For some people, taking time for you feels like a chore, but they should switch their mindsets. Fully focusing on you and your thoughts can be the best part of your day.'
5. REALLY, ACTUALLY GET INVOLVED…AND DO SO IN THE SMARTEST WAY POSSIBLE
Many celebs are involved in sustainable clothing and 'clothing with a cause' efforts, but their 'raising awareness' is often a one-time, superficial thing. Dahl actually gets her hands dirty.
'India was my first time to a third world country, and I was in shock of how the rest of the world lives,' says Dahl. 'I'd heard about it. Everybody's heard about it, but seeing it firsthand...you can't un-see things.' India inspired the trip to Nepal which then motivated the trek back to India for Women's Weave, which has now motivated Dahl to continue traveling back and forth until the working conditions and improvement opportunities for women across the globe match those of the rest of the world.
But sometimes that also requires stepping outside of yourself to look at the larger picture, and how you can really best serve your overall objective. When the earthquakes hit Nepal just days after her visit, Dahl's gut reaction was to return immediately. 'The human instinct in me was like, 'go! go! go!' but I had to let go of what I thought and listen to everyone around me,' she says. A phone call with Aunt Ophelia convinced Dahl that she could do so much more from home through raising awareness and funds. 'She said, 'Go back when you can bring something back with you – besides just your working hands,' Dahl says.
Through the supplies and scholarships Faircloth & Supply provides, Dahl's doing just that.
From the editors of ELLE.com