• Westen MacIntosh

Sustainable Slow Fashion with Dilli Grey

Updated: Aug 15

Dilli Grey was created in 2015 as an ethical slow fashion brand. Its goal as a sustainable company is not only to create great, long-lasting clothing but to ensure that the company is a net positive for the planet and its people.


Dilli Grey Dresses


Introduction to Dilli Grey


Dilli grey was founded back in 2015 by Vickie El-Rayyes After 20+ years in the fashion industry.


With an early childhood in Hong Kong and the Middle East, Vickie grew up with a constant desire to learn and travel. As a modern Silk-Road explorer, Vickie is drawn to the far east which can clearly be seen in Dilli Grey's products.


Every one of Dilli Grey's items comes from ethically sourced materials, and each item is hand-made by one of their artisan partners based in India.


Dilli Grey - Vickie El Rayyes
Vickie

Sustainability Pledge


Since its inception, sustainability has been at the core of this slow-fashion brand. As a Zero-Waste company, they are setting and following multiple industry-wide best practices. This ensures that they have the highest positive impact on people with the lowest possible impact on the planet.


A few of their best practices:

  • They have undergone a 3rd party assessment with an emissions agency to help track and offset their carbon footprint

  • All dresses and sleepwear are made from organic cotton

  • Excess fabric from the clothing lines is reused to create - bags, tickets/receipts, journals, and patchwork quilts

  • They removed 90% of their supply chain plastic in 2020

At Dilli Grey, there is a conscious focus on not creating more clothing than needed. This has the added benefit of clothing selling out without the need to heavily discount items at the end of a season which has a tendency to promote the 'throwaway fashion mentality'


By the way, have you read our excellent blog post on why more and more brands are choosing to donate instead of discount?


If you would like to read a little more into their sustainability pledge you can find it here.


Zero Waste Retail

 

Charitable Giving


Charitable giving is not new for Dilli Grey and has been part of their ethos from the start. With strong charitable efforts supporting not only their artisan partners but also the communities where they live.


2020 - Indian Covid Relief Fund


When the pandemic started there were major disruptions in the fashion industry. This caused many large retailers to mass cancel orders which had major implications for the artisan makers and garment factories in Jaipur.


Many of these artisans and suppliers were considered to be partners and friends of the company, so Dilli Grey worked directly with a local food bank raising over £10,000 to help the community with emergency financial aid, food, and medical support.




2021 - Summer of Love Product Campaign


Money was raised for the ongoing Covid crisis in Rajasthan in India. Over £800 was raised to support those in need with emergency food and medical supplies.



Chsrity Giving Shopify


2022 - Ukrainian Humanitarian Aid - Red Cross


After the Ukrainian invasion, Dilli Grey was quick to support running a flash campaign with 50% of sales supporting the Red Cross Humanitarian Relief Fund. This campaign raised over £11,000 to support Ukraine.


 

Q and A with Dilli Grey


Can you please tell me about the origin of Dilli Grey?

Dilli Grey came about organically, after 20 years as a buyer for high street fashion brands

I was regularly asked by friends and family to source traditional block print quilts when I

was in India and bring them home with me... soon I was getting ‘orders’ and gradually

the range grew into sleepwear and in 2018 womenswear as a whole.


We now design all our own ranges in-house, working with our amazing artisans across Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to create collections that showcase the incredible heritage skills of India, including hand-block printing, chikankari embroidery and kantha stitching.



Why is sustainability important to Dilli Grey?

Having worked for large retail brands I had seen how using the excuse of ‘it’s just

business’ allowed brands to justify huge over-production, unfair pay, wastage and

constantly prioritise efficiency over respect for people and the planet.


When I launched Dilli Grey, I knew I wanted to create something slower, more meaningful and heart-led.



Why have a Dilli Grey Ethical Manifesto?

Sustainability and ethical practices are never going to be ‘completed’. We have just

appointed a Sustainability Officer to help constantly drive new and innovative ways we

can be better as a business but for me the basic tenets of being an ethical business

never change – it’s about being fair, honest and transparent on a really human level.


Our ethical manifesto lays out our beliefs and aims of what we hope to be an ethical fashion brand means and how we work with our artisans so customers can understand fully the impact of their purchases.



What is a fit survey, and how do you use it to better support your customers?

As a sustainable brand returns obviously have a huge impact on our carbon footprint.

We are passionate about educating consumers to buy consciously, take their time to

measure themselves, ask questions around fit and be sure before they buy.


It’s a very different mindset to fast fashion of impulse buying and returning but our goal is for every piece we make to be in people’s wardrobes for as long as possible – they are all

handmade and deserve to be treasured!


Our fit survey also allows us to connect with our customers to hear from them. We talk a

lot within the team about ‘good mood dressing’ – we want our pieces to make people feel great when they wear them so they become wardrobe staples, so understanding what our customers love to wear and their buying habits help us create the designs they love.



Obviously, you are setting the bar for a socially and environmentally conscious brand. Why should other retailers online follow your lead?

I would love to demonstrate that being an ethical and sustainable brand doesn’t have to

come with an unobtainable price tag.


Our prices are comparable with many high-end high street brands, but you are buying a hand-made, limited edition design made using organic fabrics. If we can do it as a tiny 5-person team that is wholly self-funded, then I hope it inspires other small brands to see it is achievable – just one change at a time builds up to make an amazing impact.



 

How are they fundraising with Virtue?


Currently Dilli Grey has a new portion to their sustainability pledge. While many stores will plant a tree with every order, Dilli Grey has taken it a step further and is working with us to plant a tree with every product sold.


Tree planting is one of the best ways that a brand can make an impact, and to date, Dilli Grey has already planted well over 2000 trees for their efforts.


 

How to Get Involved?


If you would like to learn more about Dilli Grey you can do so directly on their website or check out their wonderfully curated Instagram.


In addition, if you would like to reach out directly you can email them at hello@dilligrey.com


For Brands


If you or your online store would like to learn a little more or would like to follow in Dilli Grey's footsteps for a giving campaign you can contact us at support@virtueimpact.com


Or if your brand is built on Shopify you can install Virtue in 5 mins with our Shopify app.


For Charities/Causes


If you are a cause and would love for great brands like Dilli Grey to support you please send us an email at support@virtueimpact.com. We would love to hear from you!


Virtue Social Impact