Today we’d like to introduce you to Alana Mayer.
Hi Alana, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an intensity for resourcefulness and been drawn to building something where nothing existed before. Even as a kid, I remember trying to saw and piece together found materials from the garage to build a backyard treehouse. I was set on making it happen! Later on, I stumbled into and found that I loved working in start-up environments, where I could be hands-on in building community and working with others that were equally inspired to connect people and ideas– and where it was scrappy.
After college, I also started teaching yoga and questioning what types of substances I was putting in and on my body, as well as what types of food and consumer systems I was supported by buying into certain products. I soon got obsessed with researching the nitty-gritty of where things, like our food and clothing came from and the impact it had on our shared earthly ecosystem. I researched material development, the chemicals and water used in different processes, how fibers are grown and how dyes affected the Earth and our bodies alike. I dove deeeeeep and talked to a lot of people in many interconnected fields along the way. Eventually, I found myself in need of a pair of actually sustainable undies and I couldn’t find ones that checked all the boxes for what I was looking for. That’s how I ended up starting The Dawn Studio, making truly ethical undies that honor your story and return to Mother Nature respectfully.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has definitely been a bumpy ride! For one, a lot of people years back — mostly guys, I have to say — simply did not see the need for close-to-nature underwear, meaning undies that are super breathable, comfortable and not processed with tons of chemicals. There were a lot of questions centered solely around the costs of materials and of producing things ethically as if it was a naive thing to do rather than a deliberate stance. I second-guessed myself so often, took countless business classes, went back to school for sustainable entrepreneurship, volunteered, got different jobs, all to build the confidence to step out and start my own company. Looking back, I had all the skills and vision already, I just struggled with doubt and entrusting the expertise of those that couldn’t see what was to come.
The more I talked to women and people who saw beyond a company’s bottom line, people started to open up about their own needs and health struggles to find the right undies and wanting to invest in essentials that supported their values, and I felt a stronger need to bring these pieces into the world. But it was a struggle that took years. We had giants like Victoria’s Secret in the market and it was just really the beginning of showing unedited/ un-photoshopped proud and real bodies when I started. I faced a lot of skepticism, especially as a young female, from so many folks and older business-minded teachers, facilitators, even friends and family that couldn’t yet see that there was a need and a desire for what I wanted to birth. Throw in the pandemic, shipping hold-ups, health scares and natural disasters for our partners abroad and for a bit, it felt like an uphill battle to keep things going and everyone safe, but I feel stronger than ever and more connected to everyone who I’ve built relationships with throughout.
We’ve been impressed with The Dawn Studio, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Dawn Studio is a company based here in LA birthed out of the lack of actually sustainable undie options. We create with absolute intention and work with devout respect for Mother Earth and her loved ones. Every material– take our ethical silks, for example — are chosen to because they are as close to nature as possible. We’ve even partnered to engineer our own to the elastics to safely biodegrade at the end of life, which a lot of other “sustainable” brands overlook. I’m so proud to get caught up in the details, to produce slowly and to reintroduce a collaborative process to making quality pieces. It takes so many partners, hearts and thoughtfulness along the way. I’m also proud to have chosen to grow organically and allow our community to be a part of our growth process.
We work with the ethos of “all boats rise,” so to us, the more sustainable and options made with care and fair wages that are on the market is a win for us all. We’re all in this together and we all deserve safe, beautiful essentials.
I am looking forward to continuing to grow our radiant community and continuing to be inspired by the women, men and humans we collaborate with. On a more specific note, I hope to introduce new styles, like boxers, unisex options, barrettes and maternity bras down the line. Big things are coming!
As the holidays and next year rolls around, I’ll be planning for more in-person events, opportunities to connect and pop-ups where we can support other local and woman/non-binary-owned businesses and bring attention to more circular systems of consuming. Think dinner parties and brunches highlighting the work of local female chefs and creatives where we use food scraps to naturally dye pieces on site. That’s just one example, but stay tuned!
- Thongs $52-$62
- Undies $78-$98
- Plant dyed silk scrunchies $22
Monica Henriquez @monica.henriquez