An Accessories Brand Created in Dubai and Empowering Women Around the World.
Accessories brand Dans le Soleil, French for ‘In the sun,’ embodies the pure joy of being in the sunshine. All the brand’s handcrafted pieces, from the pretty straw bags and stylish hats to the unique jewellery line, brings a little sunshine to each customer that purchases a part of the collection and the artisans that make each distinctive piece. The chic, bohemian-style, rustic designs are all lovingly made by artisans across different parts of Asia, and you can see the love and attention to detail in every accessory made.
The refreshing brand was brought to life in 2021. At a young age, the founder had acquired a taste for fashion. Born in India, her work took her to Paris and other parts of the globe. For over five years, she has called Dubai her home. Through her passion for fashion and the environment, she recognised the fashion industry's impact on climate change and its unethical labour practices. Determined to make a difference, she actively researched and set the foundations to create a brand that incarnated values of sustainability and femininity, whilst also being luxurious. As a result, Dans le Soleil was born – handcrafted fashion accessories that are ethical, eco-friendly, and sustainable.
As the founder says, “Each piece is created with integrity and incorporates high quality materials such as jute and water hyacinth (straw). These beautiful pieces are handcrafted by skilled artisans living in India, Bangladesh and Thailand using age-old techniques passed on through generations.”
All the products are Earth friendly materials. They only use vegetable dyes from plants as well as making sure each product is eco-packaged, so the boxes are biodegradable for minimalist waste. Suppliers they choose are carefully selected, making sure they are in line with the brand's long-term sustainable and fairtrade beliefs. Dan le Soleil only works with those that follow the same ethos. After long conversations around quality, sustainability, and principles of protecting the most vulnerable in the fashion chain, partnerships are made.
They work with non-profit organisations certified by World Fair Trade Organisation, who work closely with the rural communities, employing mainly women who haven't had the privilege to be financially independent. The entrepreneur says, “By working with us, women have a chance to be paid fairly, learn a new skill, and create beautiful pieces, which empower women by gaining respect in society. It also gives them the opportunity to provide education for their family and lift their standard of living.
“We are a small brand starting from very humble beginnings. We have a long way to go and with every sale we make it gives us the courage to continue to give back and be grateful. Let's put it this way: every sale is like funding our dream to succeed and help support communities,” she adds.
With over 500 clients, already the founder of Dans le Soleil has been making an impact in the fashion and sustainable market. I particularly love my pretty pink vegetable dye straw bag that has travelled with me around the Middle East and parts of Asia. It’s so sturdy and doesn’t lose its shape. I can literally load it up with about 2 kg worth of goods. There’s a lot of love and care put into every detail from the production to the end game. When I received my bag, it came with care instructions saying, “Apply a little wood polish or oil to the bag, adding moisturiser when needed; vacuum clean is the best way to keep it dust and grime free; store upright or lie the bag flat to preserve the shape; keep indoors in an air-conditioned room.” It’s a thoughtful brand and you see that every step of the way.
I spoke to the founder to find out more about the brand:
Q: Tell us the journey of Dans le Soleil? How did this begin?
A: A few years ago, I became consciously aware of climate change and environmental damages. Since then, I became dedicated to learning more about its effects and I wanted to make personal life changes to support a more sustainable lifestyle. But I always wanted to start a business.
Over the last five years I dedicated most of my time towards self-growth, new learnings and dabbling in small business projects which finally gave me the courage to launch and work on building Dans Le Soleil. During the years, like a student, I’ve learnt so much about entrepreneurship.
Why fashion? Simple, I have lived, worked, and loved fashion all my life. I’ve always been fascinated by how brands create their status, value, and image. I wanted to take the positives, the beauty of art and self-expression that fashion is, and combine it with sustainable pillars and humble roots.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What's your background working in the fashion industry and what inspired you to work with artisans around the world?
A: I come from a very non fashion family background, but I learnt early on that I enjoyed fashion, so I decided to study in Paris and gain insights on how luxury brands built their age-old history and discover the art of French fashion. After working there for a bit, I moved to Dubai and I started working in the online luxury e-commerce industry, which gave me the confidence to venture on my own.
I have this simple belief that first and foremost I’m a human being, that's my identity so I feel the need to help human beings anywhere in the world and that's what initiated this business, especially wherever artisans are preserving age-old craft and being paid fairly for it, with fair conditions. I have personally visited 80 per cent of my supplier sites and in the future, we aim to make it 100 per cent. I'm also a solopreneur, with friends helping and a few freelancers that I hire, as and when needed.
Q: Where do you make the products? Which countries and communities are you working with?
A: We currently have suppliers from India, Bangladesh, and Thailand. All our products are handmade, which entails using age-old techniques, employing local communities, creating employment opportunities, harnessing craft, and creating more mindfully.
I like to think of artisan-made products as being a unique imprint from another human being. To create one bag, first the plant is grown and cut, fibres are then extracted, followed by a drying process, which takes so much time.
We love showing behind the scenes imagery of how our pieces are made. As the brand expands, you will see more of this in the future. Our customers have all voiced that they would love to see how our pieces are being crafted. It’s then our responsibility to treat the work they make with love and care. We also have donated to a few initiatives during our journey and plan to do it more frequently in the future.
Q: Who is your typical customer?
A: At Dans Le Soleil, we believe our customers create our brand and story. A DLS femme is harnessing her feminine energy and hasn't forgotten about that power – even through the daily hustle of everyday life which can make us embody so much masculine energy. We love collaborating with women who have the same essence and want to educate our growing community with the same philosophy. I truly believe the more we harness our feminine energy the more we feel connected to Earth and in turn we become more environmentally conscious.
Q: Where do you position sustainable fashion in the region?
A: Every society needs early adopters to formulate and trickle down to the masses. It's something we are seeing with NFT's and metaverse. The early adaptors are pushing us towards making Web 3.0 profitable and successful.
Dubai stands somewhere in the lower spectrum for consumption of sustainable fashion in comparison with top cities for fashion, but the appetite to grow here is great. People in Dubai are open to it and are now quite quickly changing their consumption habits. I can't predict numbers, but we can say for sure that within fashion this is one of the key growing trends.
Q: Tell us about your collections? How do you decide what to make next?
A: I have worked in fashion across India, France, and Dubai to understand more about consumer trends. I know my target audience; I am my target audience and that makes it easier for me to define the aesthetics. Our collection highlights slow living and feminine energy – an essence of which you will see in all our products and more and more in our future collections.
Q: What are your best sellers?
A: Our best sellers are our Vegetable Dyed Mini and our newest addition to the family the Cosmos ring.
Q: What are your future hopes for the brand?
A: We have a lot of amazing things that are going to happen. We're working on a new collection, and we have shared some stories around it on our social media to ensure that our customers feel that they are part of our journey.