With the weather outside getting frightful here in the Northeast, I’ve been cozying up in LOTS of knitwear – from sweaters to smaller knit accessories that are warm, stylish and fairly-made.
First things first. I love brands that give back and create sustainable employment opportunities. I even wrote about it previously here. But increasingly, brands need to stand out in other ways in order to earn a feature on my blog, and that often means going above and beyond just, “We provide safe working conditions and pay a fair wage.” I mean, when a brand tells me that, it’s like…GOOD? That’s basically, you know, the bare minimum for being an ethical brand? As this space evolves, both myself and my readers are looking for more from the brands they shop with.
Dinadi is one of those brands that goes above and beyond in their commitment to fair manufacturing, employee support and beautiful products, and I’m so excited to be featuring them here today. When they initially contacted me to try some of their knitwear pieces, I didn’t know that much about them, to be honest. After being able to chat a bit with them, I am truly blown away by their work. I think you will be too.
First, a little bit about this brand. Founders Preston and Mirjam began Dinadi in 2016 from their living room floor in Kathmandu, Nepal. In that first year, Dinadi trained 40 knitters, moved into an office space and created their first collection of hats, scarves and mittens. Since then, they have trained 20 more knitters and released additional designs and colors.
Dinadi’s People Impact
Dinadi pays, of course, a living wage to all of its employees. But they also offer a host of other employee benefits that most major companies (at least here in the U.S.) don’t even offer.
For employees with children, Dinadi pays out an extra 25% of their salary towards schooling for themselves or their children. Most of Dinadi’s knitting work is home-based, so women have flexible hours. This means employment opportunities for women who may face difficulties when trying to work outside of the home. Employees are enrolled in a retirement savings program and receive robust health benefits and profit sharing. In addition, Dinadi employs a full-time social worker who conducts home visits with employees, ensuring they are healthy and happy.
Beautiful half-mittens by Dinadi.
Bringing sustainable employment to Nepal is so important. Nepal is the second poorest country in Asia, and the 17th poorest in the world. An estimated 12,000 Nepali girls are trafficked every year. The literacy rate for women is only 53%.
I admire that Dinadi not only provides employment, but offers services intended to help break the cycle of poverty. They recognize that fair wages alone can’t undo the major barriers that exist for people living in poverty.
Dinadi’s Environmental Impact
Dinadi uses 100% superfine Merino wool, and the wool that cannot be used or that is leftover is repurposed for local projects or to adhere hang tags to the final product. All of their product boxes and hang tags are made from local Lokta paper – an environmentally friendly paper made from the bark of a fast-growing bush that grows in the areas of the Himalayas not suitable for farming. Lokta paper is handmade and sun-dried.
Moody photo, or is it just impossible to shoot blog photos in the dark New England winters? A little of both – haha! I get asked this a lot, but I do have a full-time job, and blogging is simply my hobby. So in the winter, I leave the house when it’s dark, I get home when it’s dark, so photos tend to be my biggest struggle this time of year!
Dinadi aims for classic style in all of their designs, so as to discourage trend-buying and overconsumption.
As someone who is newly learning to knit, I can see that the quality of these pieces is stunningly beautiful and requires a lot of skill. I think it’s fun how Dinadi highlights who made your item, and how long it took them to knit it, when you receive it.
My Marit headband was knitted by Amrita in about six and a half hours, while my Stina half-mitts were knit by Maina in approximately ten hours. Amrita’s home was damaged in the Nepal earthquake of 2015. She’s lived in a shelter with her husband and son ever since, and her employment with Dinadi has provided her family with a consistent income. Maina uses her extra income from Dinadi to pay for her son’s education. You can see more about the talented knitters employed by Dinadi on the Know Your Knitter area of their website.
I love that the headband spices up my new short haircut a bit! I’m feeling self-conscious about it, so it is nice to have some gorgeous hair accessories. As for the half-mitts, well, I’m always on my phone (blog life…), and those touch-screen gloves never work quite-as-well as advertised. I think these are a much better solution.
Suffice to say that Dinadi is a new accessory staple for me. I also think the price point is extremely affordable for a conscious brand, so it is a wonderful way to see your purchase make an impact if you’re new to this space or wanting to make a difference on a smaller budget.
If you’re looking for any last minute holiday gifts, Dinadi definitely has you covered (pun maybe slightly intended). Are you also impressed with Dinadi’s social and environmental impact? Let me know what you think in the comments.