I love Fashion especially when it gives back. Maybe it was coincidence or just good timing but a few months ago when this whole craze of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge went viral, I came across a book called “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie best known as the founder and Chief Shoe Giver of Toms Shoes. And learned about his whole one-for-one model, which made me wonder if people had the slightest clue about the true meaning of “giving back” for a cause, and not just doing it for the sake of doing.
And shortly, a couple of months after my new found learnings from the book and brand, I came across Peace Collective on Instagram. Since moving from Toronto to Singapore a year ago, I was on the search for a unique “something” that represented Toronto without the souveniresque feel to it. Kind of like my Blue Jays snapback, but somehow for whatever the reason, I am just not that into birds (sorry Jays fans!)
Then low and behold Peace Collective, a new lifestyle brand, and when I learned of their Vision and Mission statement I was completely inspired and determined to support such an amazing cause. So getting the opportunity to have a one on one interview with the founder of Peace Collective and learning that he was so inspired by the same book that I had just read recently, quickly garnered my interest and where I got to learn more about the super chill and down-to-earth Canadian Designer-Entrepreneur, Yanal Dhailieh.
Here are 10 interesting facts that I learned over our mini Q&A session;
MsYL: Can you share a little about who is/are behind Peace Collective? Name, Age, where you were born and raised, currently based out-of, and what made you launch Peace Collective?
Yanal: “I am the founder of Peace Collective, 24 years old, born and raised in Toronto, where I am also currently based-out-of and consider as one of the greatest Cities in the World. I don’t have a typical background for someone trying to launch a clothing line or a lifestyle brand. I went to school for biomedical science, graduated and then immediately started working in business development for a software company. But in my day to day life I always felt as though something was missing, like I wasn’t expressing the highest version of myself. I always believe that creation is the highest form of spiritual connection an individual can feel. I always envied painters, photographers, designers.. really anyone that actually created something and put it out for the world to see. Starting a clothing line is something that I have always wanted to do, but always ended up stopping myself because I felt like I didn’t have what it takes. I had pretty much given up on the idea until one day when I read a book written by Blake Mycoskie the founder of Toms Shoes titled “Start Something That Matters.” The book opened my eyes to the limitless possibilities of giving back, and the concept of the “One For One Model.” A model that I strongly believe every company should incorporate to their social responsibility. The one for one model entails donating a product or a tangible item for every product that is sold. Reading that book renewed my confidence and I decided to just go for it. That is how the Concept of the Peace Collective was created. It is a collective of individuals who want to chase their passions and dreams while giving back to those in need.”
MsYL: Where do you get your design inspirations from?
Yanal: “When it comes to design I try not to think too hard and over-complicate things, I let inspiration and ideas come to me in their own time. I am not a big fan of sitting in front of a computer and forcing new designs, I have Peace Collective in the back of my mind pretty much 24 hours a day. I carry a little notebook with me at all times, people definitely think I am crazy when they see me take a notebook out and start jotting notes down madly. Sometimes an idea hits me when I am at the movies, or walking in the park, Sometimes I can be in mid-conversation with a friend and a flash of inspiration will pop in my head. When that happens I have to jot it down right away. At the end of the week I will review all of my notes and see what sticks, and what doesn’t.”
MsYL: How would you describe the person shopping Peace Collective?
Yanal: “This is a great question and I have never really sat down and thought about it until now. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about it, is that the person shopping at Peace Collective is someone that cares – cares about making a difference, cares about supporting something local, cares about supporting a good cause, cares about finding a way to do better and be a part of something bigger. This is really important to me.”
MsYL: Can you tell me a little more about the cause in which you support? What made you decide this specific cause, how we (the consumers) would be contributing, and what is the percentage of the proceeds /or/ what is the $ that it takes to provide for one child? (“For every piece that we sell, one child in need will be provided school meals for a month through The World Food Program USA”)
Yanal: “Right now the organization we partnered up with is The World Food Program USA. The reason we chose this cause specifically is because it fits with what the brand means to us. To me, Peace Collective is the representation of the idea that you don’t have to settle for what you think is realistic to accomplish. The idea is to chase our passion while providing kids in poverty the opportunity to continue their education and one day chase their own dreams. In many countries school meal programs are the only reason parents will send their kids to school, so it allows them to get an education. In many countries, where hunger and poverty is greatest, the WFP steps in to provide meals to around 22 million children in 60 countries, often in the hardest-to-reach areas. The WFP has been operating school programs for more than 50 years and is the world’s largest provider of school meals.”
MsYL: I love the simple minimalistic designs behind each piece, what is the story behind that decision?
Yanal: “I am a very minimalistic person in everything I do. I am pretty crazy about minimalism and lifestyle design, and in the way I live and the way I think, so naturally the designs are very simple and minimalistic, I let the quality of the garments and the brand speak for itself. It’s like the Bruce Lee quote “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” that I incorporate to my own lifestyle.”
MsYL: In your own words, how would you describe your local style scene, and does that make or cramp your style? If not the local scene, what other Cities/Countries inspire your own personal style and why?
Yanal: “Style is an individual expression. It is a way of telling your story to the world without saying a word – a silent but confident statement. One of the best things about Toronto is it’s multiculturalism, everyone has their own style and image. So just taking a walk outside and people watching is so inspiring. I love traveling somewhere far away where I don’t know the language or the culture. I love learning new styles of fashion and then incorporating little things bringing them back home with me.”
MsYL: What is next for Peace Collective?
Yanal: “There are more opportunities coming to Peace Collective! We are about to unveil a line of beanies and toques in the next few weeks, that focuses around the concept of Wanderlust and Travel. I am really excited about the collection! Long term what we want to start doing is collaborating with local artists to create pieces that reflect their individual passions while giving back to causes that the local artists care about. We also want to venture a little bit away from Toronto Centric Designs and create garments that are more global and universal.”
MsYL: What is one random / interesting fact about you?
Yanal: “I am not that interesting of a person! Hmm… I know 4 languages? English, French, Arabic and a little spanish. I absolutely love traveling so learning languages is important to me!”
MsYL: Which of the pieces is your personal favorite? And why?
Yanal: “I really like the “Home is Toronto” piece. I love how simple and eye capturing it is. I have seen it styled in a variety of ways. I saw one customer wearing it over a skirt and tights. She was wearing a fur jacket on top of it and a beanie as well. I thought the fur jacket on top really brought the outfit together.”
MsYL: You are changing the game to ‘souvenir apparel’ and making it look urban cool, if there is one celebrity or public figure that you would love to see spotted wearing a Peace Collective design, who would it be and why?
Yanal: “I actually thought about this the other day, and a personal confession is I am absolutely in love with Rachel Mcadams. She is from Toronto, so if I ever saw her wearing one of our pieces ot would be a big win for me personally, haha.”
So now that you got to learn a little more about this cool guy – the best part – which I saved for last; is that you won’t need to break your bank for these minimalistic cool designs, and for every garment sold a month of school meals are distributed to a child in need through the World Food Program. So now you can be fashionable and contributing to a great cause.
And to show his appreciation for helping him spread the word, Yanal and his team at Peace Collective are offering a generous discount for my readers. Check out all of the details below!
And just to be crystal clear, this is not a sponsored post. The style you see me wearing on the picture inset above is called “Home Is Toronto” Croptop Sweater, which is my own personal purchase, because the cause is so much more significant and meaningful than a sponsor. I love the minimalistic design particularly of the sweater I am wearing, the message was meaningful to me since I am currently living abroad and it feels like I have a piece of home with me when I am wearing it, and the contribution it is putting towards the help against world hunger, there really is no price tag for that.
Thanks for reading!