At Dylan Lex, we are forever inspired by humans that continuously push for change and strive to help our planet and community become a better place. One of those humans is Alnea Farahbella, founder of Nana Atelier, an LA apparel service manufacturer that focuses on fair labor, quality, and sustainability. Alnea Farahbella founded Nana Atelier after traveling the world and discovering the poor working environments and unfair treatment that garment workers have to endure. According to True Cost, a documentary that was made to raise awareness around the negative global impact of fast fashion, clothing production has been outsourced to countries such as Bangladesh, China and Cambodia, where wages are low, working conditions less regulated and factory disasters accepted as the cost of doing business.


"I need to be part of the solution rather than waiting and talking about possible solutions. I only want to take part in better practices," states Farahbella. Nana Atelier truly stands out in the way they are redefining ethical manufacturing and how they are exposing the importance of this to society. They do this by prioritizing healthy work environments and conditions for their technicians, reducing waste, and fighting low wages and unethical practices. The Dlex Wrap Midi Skirt was made in collaboration with Nana Atelier in our journey to ethical manufacturing. We (virtually) sat down with Alnea to discuss her journey in sustainable manufacturing, why it's important, and how we as consumers can be more mindful of this. The interview can be viewed below: 


  Alnea Farahbella


DL: Not only did you create Nana Atelier but you also have your own sustainable fashion brand, Toit Volant. What experiences prompted you to pursue a route in ethical and sustainable fashion?


AF: I’ve lived in many parts of the world. I’ve seen different ways of life and how the cost of living affects the livelihood of people. Garment manufacturing labor is undervalued in the US. I want to take better care of people and our planet. It’s important for me to produce locally and it was necessary that we opened our own facility to implement better practices. 


I’ve seen entire fields covered in rolls of excess fabrics that have been sent / sold to third world countries, then sold back to the US. I’ve seen truck loads of people standing in the back of pick-ups driving to their factory dorms. I’ve seen factories that don’t ever stop and have people 24/7 on the machines producing. I’ve seen our industrial practices in the US. I need to be part of the solution rather than waiting and talking about possible solutions. I only want to take part in better practices. 


 Technicians and Machinist at Nana Atelier 


DL: What is ethical manufacturing? What measures and policies does Nana Atelier put in place to practice this?


AF: We work with many organizations that educate myself and my team. We have on-going conversations with teams at Garment Worker Center (GWC) and the Mayor’s Office that help to build our measures. I surround myself with sustainable practitioners to be in the know, stay relevant, be up in the know with updates. We work with practitioners that help build our road map with my own factory floor experiences. 


Ethical manufacturing is looking at the value of fair labor, providing a healthy working environment, and fighting back on horrific oppressive practices that comes with manufacturing. It is looking at your entire design and manufacturing road map from design development, supply chain, labor values, supply chain mark-up, recycling program, working environment, and labor practices. 


Inside of Nana Atelier


DL: What is your favorite part about what you do?


 AF: I love the making part. I love working with my hands. I love looking for new approaches and discovering new techniques when creating a garment. I love challenging archaic practices and pushing them forward. I love knowing that my team and I have built out better practices in regards to the value of labor, our calm healthy working facility and creating a team that loves the making process as much as I do. Too many loves but I love for people to care. LOL


DL: In what ways can we be more mindful about our shopping habits, and what is the importance of this? 
AF: Understanding cost of labor in different countries helps to build a mindful approach to shopping habits. Looking at the product and understanding how much work went into it and how much you are paying for it. It’s so complex today because there’s so much greenwashing. Looking deeper always helps me. 
Quality garments being made at Nana Atelier 
DL: What resources do you suggest that can help consumers on this journey? 
AF: I like to read up on what is happening through various media channels but also look deeper on my own. There’s brilliant resources out there for the consumers. I would suggest signing up for those channels and be in the know. I also like suggesting for people to take a craft or sewing class. It helps to build empathy and understand the value of making. I’ve had training so I can see when a garment was made with love.  


Learn more about Nana Atelier here.





All Photos courtesy of Nana Atelier