Doa’s commitment to sustainability is more than just a token speech; we strive to implement more sustainable practices at every stage of the production line. We take a hands-on and honest approach, acknowledging that becoming a sustainable brand is a continuous journey, rather than a quick marketing decision.
Katie Robertson-Macleod, the founder of Doa, bears sustainability in mind right from the very beginning. From the recycled and repurposed materials used to make some of the products, to the plant based fabric dye chosen for designs, to the packaging that items are sold in; every decision has been weighed up and considered, so as to have the lightest impact on our delicate planet.
What we have already achieved:
  • Our swing tags, care labels, business cards and all other packaging are all made from recycled materials.
  • We use surplus cotton fabric, which reduces waste which would otherwise head to landfill
  • We offer carbon offsetting to our customers through Greenr
  • Doa works directly with the artisans, ensuring that all employees are paid a living wage and work in respectful conditions
  • We source local products and materials to reduce our carbon footprint
  • We use reclaimed brass for our jewellery,
  • Doa supports the charity Pankaj, a charity who support communities in Kenya’s lowest income areas, as Doa places just as much importance on social sustainability, as environmental sustainability.
Our next steps:
  • The goal for the next collection is to work with 90% eco-friendly fabrics such as; Tencel and Kenyan grown Eri silk.
  • We are looking to develop more gold and silver pieces through the Fairtrade Gold Network in Africa for our next collections
Q & A
Do you use eco-friendly materials? If so, which ones?
We only work with repurposed metals, glass and hand-picked local semi-precious stones so far to limit our environmental impact and imported materials. The mining industry for both precious metals and stones is well known for its damaging effect on the natural environment, therefore, at Doa we prioritise using materials that have a gentler footprint on the natural world.
Where are your collections made?
All of our collections and items are made Kenya, specifically in urban and rural low-income areas. This allows Doa to provide employment and support communities, while at the same time having close involvement to ensure that production happens in the most circular and sustainable way possible.
‘Sustainability’ is a fashionable buzzword at the moment, how do you feel about companies that ‘greenwash’?
Interest in sustainability and care for our planet has skyrocketed in recent years, particularly within the younger generations. This has been inspiring to see, and has inevitably led to many companies following suit, providing customers with more ecologically and socially sustainable products to meet demand. Sadly, however, cases of ‘greenwashing’ are also becoming more common, where companies create a green façade in order to please their well-meaning customers.
At Doa we strive to hold sustainability at the heart of every decision, however we do acknowledge that it is a difficult task to have a complete balance between environmental, social and economic sustainability. For this reason, we have teamed up with Greenr, a carbon off-setting enterprise, giving our customers the option to offset the carbon footprint of their purchase in an easy and transparent way.
How do you justify the use of cotton, which is a water intensive crop?
At Doa we are aware of the resource exhaustive nature of cotton, which is therefore why we strive to only use off-cuts of cotton fabric to create our designs, cutting the fabrics carefully to ensure maximum usage. This reduces waste from the fashion industry, and as cotton is a natural fibre no harm is caused to the environment when the clothes are washed (unlike synthetic fibres such as polyester, which release microplastics into the water cycle). We also design our dresses using linen, which requires less water and pesticides to be grown successfully.
How do you avoid Doa’s involvement in the fast fashion industry?
At Doa we endeavour to create timeless designs, creating high quality garments and items with style that will be worn and loved by our customers for years to come, rather than following the short-lived trends of the fast fashion industry.
There is a lot of talk about environmental sustainability, tell us more about how Doa is socially sustainable?
At Doa we work with local Kenyan artisans from urban and rural low-income areas, empowering to the community, preserving of traditional skills, and offering long-term incomes. There is no middleman, which means as a small business we are able to ensure that everyone we work with is paid fairly, treated with respect, and is proud to be part of Doa’s journey.
We also building a relationship with Pankaj, a charity who focuses on providing everyone in Kenyan slums and other low-income areas have access to the essentials they need.
Becoming a sustainable company is a journey, what would you like to focus on next?
We have been looking into the most transparent, ethical ways to source gold, which is a challenging task as there are many social and environmental sustainability factors to consider. However, we are confident that with enough thought, we will find the right supplier and exciting new designs will soon be in the works for Doa!