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On Personal and Professional Growth

by Dallas Daws |

Photos by BethCath

I’ll admit it: I’m a recovering impulse shopper. In the past few years, even since starting Dallas Daws Designs, I’ve been on a journey to look at my purchases, form better habits, and think intentionally about what I bring into my life.

I used to get decision fatigue when trying to get dressed in the morning. With a closet full of clothes, I still felt like I had nothing to wear that I would be comfortable in, look good in, and feel confident in all at the same time. I let societal pressure get to me, especially while studying apparel design, seeing my fellow classmates in all the latest trends on a daily basis. With a limited budget, I shopped fast fashion, buying as much as I could with what I had. Give me all the sales and BOGO deals. 

Toward the end of my college experience, I had become interested in sustainable fashion, as well as the minimalist aesthetic, but the thrill of shopping was not in check. I was no longer making purchases from the major fast-fashion stores, but continued to purchase more than I needed, and cycling through clothing (and home décor) rapidly, even second-hand purchases. I believed I couldn’t afford better clothing, when really what I needed was less.

Fast forward a few years, to when I first moved to Minneapolis. I began working as a manager at a women’s retail store, and my habits shifted, but not for the better. I had assumed that their products were made with intention, and I tried to keep up with my coworkers, wearing head-to-toe styles from the store. It helped that the discount was fabulous. They released new clothing about every two weeks, so there was endless new product to become excited about.

It took longer than I like to admit to come to the realization that this was not healthy. And that it was going against what I was working toward for my business. I had lost touch with my personal style, become a clone for my job. I had all but stopped wearing my thrifted and handmade pieces. Retail had also begun to take its toll on me. I began to see that I was still stuck in a faster fashion loop than I believed in. With all the growing I had done over the past year, I felt like a hypocrite.

Not long after I left my retail job, I realized that almost nothing in my closet felt like me. Pieces didn’t fit right, or have the look that I felt comfortable in. Some were trendy, not timeless, and not all were quality. I’ve since purged about 90% of the clothing I bought from my retail job by selling, donating, and consigning. The few I’ve kept are more classic pieces, but once they go—they will be replaced by more ethical purchases. I used to think I would miss that discount, but I honestly haven’t wanted to shop there since. It’s hard to reconcile the amount of money I wasted on those impulse purchases, only to want to rid myself of them less than a year later, but it was a good learning lesson on future purchases, and has helped me push Dallas Daws Designs in the direction I dreamed about.

Dallas Daws Designs has grown and changed a lot in the past year because of my own growth. I’ve become aware of how much I was spending, and how much I was accumulating, and in turn, how much I was creating to be consumed. What started as a desire for inspiration to clean out my closet has turned into a developing way of life. My husband and I resonated with the minimalism movement, and with his encouragement, we’ve started getting rid of a lot of our possessions, and it’s helped me shift my spending habits as well. I don’t pretend to be perfect, and there’s still items on my wish list, but the difference is that I’m not going out and purchasing them immediately. Each purchase is intentional. 

This thought shift has led to a change in the way that I design and release clothing for Dallas Daws Designs. Where I once produced four seasonal collections a year, I started releasing two—but that still didn’t align with my beliefs. I kept thinking—why should I continually push collections dated by a season and a year, making them outdated with the next collection? Then came the Linen Collection: my first set of pieces created with one fabric, intended to stick around. The collection centered around a few pieces that I knew would be hard-working, with a desire that they would be as treasured in ten years as they are today.

I had always known that I wanted Dallas Daws Designs to solve the problem of decision fatigue. My goal with this new way of releasing collections is to give you options you feel good in, that go with what you already have in your closet, and that you’ll reach for day after day, year after year. The collections themselves will continue to be limited to a handful of pieces in various colors, and over time, I’ll add or subtract—piece by piece—as it feels right. When I got over the pressure to release collections based on seasons, or even in large chunks, I really found the root of what I was trying to accomplish—which is to create clothing that is intentional, well-made, and well-loved.