Something we're passionate about here at Golden Edit (aside from feeding our souls with travel) is partnering with brands that create special and timeless pieces while also making a difference through careful production, sustainable practices, and empowering the artisanal communities where they work. We believe that's the future of fashion and a combination that makes everyone happy.
Dana Arbib, A Peace Treaty founder and designer, has been doing just that for the past decade. Born in Tel Aviv and raised in Toronto, Dana launched APT with scarves and jewelry in 2008 with the aim of providing sustainable work and wages to craftspeople in war-torn regions. At the time, there was a lack of artisan made accessories in the luxury fashion industry. Since then, Dana has hopped from one exotic corner of the globe to the next - from India to Pakistan, Peru, Afghanistan and Turkey - in search of rare, luxurious textiles and the most talented craft masters.
The brand recently expanded into ready to wear and we couldn't be more thrilled - the collection includes vivid colors, vibrant prints and lightweight, easy separates that are oh-so vacay worthy.
We're so excited to have A Peace Treaty join Golden Edit family!
Dana, your background is fascinating. Tell us a bit about growing up in Tel Aviv and then Toronto
My parents met in Tel Aviv in the late 70s. My mother is Canadian and was there on vacation; my father was a refugee from Libya. They settled in Tel Aviv and had my brother and I and I lived there until I was eight years old, before we relocated to Toronto, my mother's hometown. I think growing up in both places has made me appreciate various climates and natural terrains. I love the beach as much as I love the forest, the snow as much as the extreme desert heat, and I love a cabin as much as I love a boardwalk. It's made me flexible in my living conditions.
What made you want to get into design?
After I graduated from high school, I went to the University of Toronto to study English Literature and Philosophy. These were the subjects I excelled in during high school, and I always assumed that would be my path. I realized after the first semester that I was not passionate about what I was studying. I thought to myself, instead of focusing on what class I was best at, what was it that I actually enjoyed the most? And that was Communications Design, which was our version of Graphic Design. The fashion part came later. It was an innate situation as my mother and father are both very immersed in fashion, so handmade and quality goods was something I was surrounded with.
You develop your own fabrics and prints - how does the process work?
First, we think of an inspiration for each collection, then we think of what fabrics would make sense for that season and what the artisans we know specialize in, and the process starts from there. I think some of my favorite patterns are the earlier ones we developed with block prints.
You work with artisans from around the globe, what is your design process like?
We first come up with three directions as inspiration. It usually is a moment in history connected to a specific place - for example, Marrakesh in the early 70s, or Los Angeles in the early 80s. It could be anywhere really. Then we collect inspiration usually using Pinterest or going to the public library and looking at back issues of Vogue from those years. After that, we narrow it to one direction and once the direction is narrowed, we make a physical mood board which we continuously pin images to throughout the design process. I watch a lot of movies, listen to a lot of music form the time of the inspiration and that usually feeds heavily into the design of the collection as well.
What we've always loved about your brand - aside from how feminine and breezy your collections are - is that it truly champions slow fashion. Why is that something you feel so strongly about?
It's what I grew up around. My father used the same tailor that his father used, and my brother uses the son of my father's tailor in Rome. It's handcrafted work that is passed down through generations. It ensures that these processes are not only preserved, but also loved in the same way the artisan did while producing it.
Your current collection looked to modern art of the 1970s for inspiration, as well as the masters who contributed to the movement. Tell us about some of those artists that inspired you and how you translated that into your pieces.
Artists including David Hockney, Frank Stella, and Morris Louis. The geometry and abstraction found in their work inspired our patterns. Their color palette also played into the overall colors of the collection.
The color palette is a dreamy mix of blue, pink and yellow hues. What's the process like, especially for the fabrics that are handwoven in the town of Phulia in West Bengal, India?
We send them fabric swatches to match to and they send us a spectrum of choices for each color for us to approve. It sometimes take a bit of back and forth to reach the desired color.
Where do you travel to for the best textiles in the world?
The best artisanal knits are in Peru and Nepal and the best handwoven summer fabrics are in India.
Where is the next place on your travel wish list?
I would like to go back to Morocco and explore the possibility of producing there further.