Sustain Talks To Pana Mina About How They Are Setting The Standards For Slow-Fashion
Sustain talks to sustainable fashion brand Pana Mina about how making clothing out of deadstock pushes their creativity and the proximity they work with all elements of their business, ensuring they are maintaining the highest standards in ethics and sustainability.
What inspired you to take the leap and create a sustainable fashion brand?
If you’re starting a business in 2020, you have a certain responsibility to the earth, to your employees, and to your consumer, to offer better quality and higher standards. Pana Mina is a part of a larger movement that’s shifting consumers from fast fashion with zero transparency to small, sustainable brands that you can trust. I think it’s a welcomed change and I know it’s where the industry is headed, so that made me more confident in moving forward.
What are your personal views for the future of slow-fashion?
It doesn’t feel like a trend—it’s here to stay. Keeping up with fast fashion trends is so exhausting…I don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve wasted in the past shopping at Forever 21! Consumers now are looking for high quality pieces that are versatile and made to last. It makes sense on so many levels: financially, time spent shopping and getting dressed, eco-impact, etc.
Tell our readers how Pana Mina goes above and beyond to be both ethical and sustainable in the competitive industry of fashion.
We built the company with sustainability, ethicality, and inclusivity at the heart of everything. But I think what separates us from competitors is that Jay and I, as Co-Founders, are there for literally every step of the process. We know our workers are treated well because we talk to them in-person and know them by name. We know the dyes are non-toxic because we see them mix the colours, and we help them print. Not many Western brand owners that manufacture overseas are this involved in creation and production, and I think it sets us apart.
How easy is it to be creative when designing garments that are to be made out of ‘dead-stock’?
In many ways it forces you to be more creative. You go in with one idea in mind, but then it morphs because you come across an unexpectedly amazing fabric or trim or buttons. It’s feels like treasure hunting. Our most original, unique pieces are constructed from deadstock.
Tell us about your friend Lakshay’s toxic chemical-free fabric mill, and how it improves the quality of your garments and is beneficial for your customers?
Chemical-free fabric has a more natural feel, touch, even smell. This fabric mill has been in his family for generations, and most of their older, traditional techniques simply don’t need toxic chemicals. It’s so refreshing to see their business run efficiently and sustainably. I never feel like I have to sacrifice function or style when purchasing from them.
From reading your website, you seem to have a really close relationship with every garment of clothing you make, from personally choosing the fabrics to hand-painting the buttons, how does this make your brand shine amongst your competitors?
We can personalize size/colour/fixtures easily, which is exciting. But more so, none of our pieces feel manufactured, they feel handmade and one-of-a-kind. It’s a certain charm that’s hard to describe on paper.
What is your personal favourite garment in your collection right now?
We have a grey-blue kaftan coming out this summer that’s just stunning. It’s made using a plant-based rayon that drapes beautifully. When you’re wearing it, you feel like a movie star on a beach vacation.
Part of your brand’s ethos is to “never sacrifice sustainability for style and function”, what is the process you use to test your fabrics?
After initial selection, we make a first round of samples in my size so that I can test them. I’ll wear them for errands, long walks, and a night out for a little dancing stress test. Sometimes we’ll find that a fabric is too wrinkly or the fit is slightly off, and then we’ll make adjustments from there. We’re learning as we go.
Are there any other brands that you personally look up to in terms of their actions towards sustainability?
Good question. Christy Dawn, out of California, was part of the initial inspiration to use deadstock. She makes simple, bohemian-style dresses using 100% deadstock. Lush was also way ahead of its time in terms of sustainability: tin containers, bar soap/shampoo/conditioner, minimal packaging. They’re a progressive brand with some killer products. Their Jungle conditioner bar is a God-send if you have curly hair.
What's next for you personally and Pana Mina?
Personally, once COVID-19 settles down, I’ll be heading back to the US to visit family and host a few Pana Mina trunk shows. Being a small business owner is honestly nerve-wracking in times like these, but Jay and I are keeping each other motivated and positive. There is a light at the end of this all!
How can our readers find you on social media?
Our Instagram and Facebook Page is @shop.panamina. If you found us via this article, send us a message and we’d be happy to gift you a discount code 😊