DAUB apparel is designed and manufactured in Vancouver, Canada, with small production runs using sustainable fabrics. Their signature limited-edition prints are made exclusively by Creative Director and Owner Lexi Soukoreff.
Their oh-so-soft activewear is actually made to move with you, with conscious basics designed to pair perfectly – think hand-dyed leggings, tanks and undies. And DAUB walks its talk when it comes to ethical manufacturing, paying fair wages, and safe working conditions.
We were delighted to speak with Lexi to learn all about DAUB, its origins, and the future of the industry.
First, some background! We’d love to hear how you got into the fashion industry.
Lexi: Fabrics, patterns, and garment construction have always fascinated me. I initially took fashion and textile design in high school and summer classes when I was growing up.
I went on to study at Blanche Macdonald Centre of Applied Design in their Merchandising Program and then carried over to Textile Design at Capilano University. I finished my degree at Emily Carr University in Fine Arts and began hand-dyeing fabrics for swimwear.
This moved into hosiery and then hand-dyed leggings, seamless undies, tank tops and then our line of activewear and sustainable basics. It’s been a long journey with a ton of growth and learning curves along the way – especially while trying to remain manufactured in Canada and environmentally responsible with fair labour, limited production and sustainability at the forefront of our values. We’re also a female-owned small business.
How do you come up with your designs – are there certain avenues of inspiration you rely on?
I really lean into colour and how it adheres to different fabrics in the dye bath. The hand-dyed pieces are really special and give us that one-of-a-kind aesthetic that we’re known for.
As an artist, I’ve had to learn to trust the process and let go of an expectation for exactly how I want a garment to look. The beauty is in the individualism of each piece – these lessons can translate into our everyday as well as we learn to trust the outcome and let go of control.
The second, equally important part is the fabrics I choose. I always want women to feel comfortable in their clothing because it reflects and inspires confidence in our everyday lives. If you feel at ease with movement, you can go about your day and focus on the tasks at hand, not worrying about what you are wearing because it is digging in or sliding down.
Our activewear stays up, feels like a second skin and is opaque. Our basics are made from bamboo and cotton with an unbelievably soft hand to them.
Many apparel brands are sticking to eCommerce; what motivated you to open the flagship retail store in Vancouver?
Clothing is tactile, and I choose fabrics that really accentuate this. Our selection of fabrics – whether for leggings, sports bras, box tees, dresses, swimwear, or tank tops – always garners comments from customers who touch the garments.
We hear “it’s so soft… it’s unbelievably comfy” all the time. It’s challenging to communicate this online. I also felt like people were ready to have in-person shopping experiences again. I saw the location available on South Granville, my home neighbourhood and one of the best shopping districts in Vancouver. The area aligns with our local boutique values and is central to our clientele coming from all over the Lower Mainland.
We want a place to foster community and allow our clientele from across Canada and the U.S. to come shop while visiting Vancouver. We have a huge following from Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton, who also visit when they’re in town. It’s a great experience to invite them to our flagship
We hear a lot these days about fast fashion. Was it always happening, or have things worsened in the past decades?
Fashion is both glamorous and ugly at the same time, and historically has always been like this. Fashion is emotional and is how we represent ourselves as humans. It’s up to brands and consumers to make choices that support a cleaner, responsible way of producing.
On the one hand, you’ve got so many incredible smaller labels focused on made-in-Canada, local production. These fuel our Canadian economy, and many of us are focussed on sustainable fabrics and reduced levels of production. At DAUB, we try to produce mindfully and only what we need per season. We try to gauge what customers want to avoid overproduction.
Overseas production (and some local) can try to push you into deeper discounts for higher minimums. We pay higher wages already and work in smaller production runs. It reduces our margins overall, making it challenging to compete in a competitive, highly discounted, free shipping society.
We try to run pre-sales where possible to ensure we allocate the proper number of sizes and colours for production. When we are dyeing fabrics, we exhaust the dye bath to ensure little to no excess dye particles go down the drain. We use non-toxic, home-friendly dyes and fixatives.
On the other hand, you’ve got huge companies like Shein, popping up and creating thousands of new styles per day. Amazon gives a convenience that we cannot compete with. As much as it is great to have whatever product we can possibly want delivered immediately, we really have to ask ourselves what the cost of this is on the environment and the humans producing the garments. When things come at such a low cost, there are corners cut somewhere.
That can be everything from wasteful dye practices, toxic chemicals used in dyeing or farming, not allowing land to rest and recover between harvests, long hours and low pay for workers, unsafe working and living conditions, excessive carbon emissions, overproduction of garments that end up in landfills…there are so many aspects that really need to be examined.
These are the realities of the fashion industry. Greenwashing is real, and the consumer needs to do their research and really consider if they need that item or if they want that item.
What’s your take on the industry’s future / where do you hope we are headed?
I would love to see consumers become more considerate in their purchases. Look at who you are purchasing from – are they supporting their local economy by hiring locals to run the business.
Not everyone can produce locally, and I understand that. But what are their values as a company? Do they give back? Are they aware of their position as a brand, and what are their brand values? Do they walk the walk or just talk the talk?
When I look up companies, I want to know who the founder is. I want to know who I’m supporting and why they do what they do. In this day and age, we have so many choices of how to spend our hard-earned money. Spend it wisely.
Support local. Look at what materials are used and where items are made or imported from. Look at the cost and values of the supplier or brand. The boutique experience is different but extremely rewarding to know who you are supporting.
Thank you Lexi. And finally…why are your clothes so darn soft?!
DAUB is focused on creating a feeling of being comfortable in our clothes, bodies and lives. I want to inspire movement and confidence in our clients. We choose quality, super-soft fabrics to do this.