The Fashion Knowledge Report
I’m super excited to have Eduardo Aguire, who co-founded Designing A Difference , a really interesting non-profit organization in San Francisco to share with us on this issue of The Fashion Knowledge Report™! This regular publication will provide you with ideas, strategies and information to help you succeed in your fashion business.
1) How did you come up with the idea because you are in real estate business?
Actually, fashion is where my real passion lies. Real estate is my day job that allows me to volunteer and continue serving our community. Rebecca Cahua is responsible for creating the concept of what is now Designing A Difference. In 2013 Rebecca started monthly homeless outreach events as #HashtagLunchbagSF, a movement dedicated to empowering and inspiring others to give, through the power of social media. Volunteers gathered to prepare and distribute lunches to those in need throughout the entire Bay Area and we continue our outreach to this day and have made over 20,000 meals with over 1,100 volunteers. In efforts to continue making a difference but with a more powerful and long-lasting outcome, Rebecca created a sustainable way to close the loop of homelessness and help the dying apparel manufacturing industry in San Francisco. As a fashion designer, she struggled finding where to have her designs made and this is when DaD was formed. Collectively we organized the complete start-up of the organization to what it has become today. DaD is creating employment in the apparel manufacturing industry in San Francisco by developing an apparel manufacturer and contractor service that employs the graduates from the training program. I joined Rebecca in 2014 as her executive assistant and together we are Designing A Difference.
2) How do you train them and how long do they stick around?
We developed a Workforce Training Center that provides training and employment services in the manufacturing and retail industries. Students enter an immersive 7-week training program that teaches them hands on training to advance in the workforce. These students we work with come from programs that have already helped them through rehabilitation, housing, and are now on their way to improving their lives. As of now have conducted two successful training sessions and 100% of the students were placed in a job or are continuing their higher education.
3) What is DaD currently making and what’s next?
This Fall, we are conducting a new training session with mentally and physically disabled youth and we plan to continue expanding our mission and assisting others in our community. We opened our manufacturing facility in April 2017 and we are now officially taking cut & sew contractor orders. Currently, we have 10 designers manufacturing with us and we always welcome new orders!
4) Can you name an obstacle in establishing DaD and how did you solve it?
Despite repeated requests for funding, DaD is a nonprofit that has never received support from government or private entities. Fortunately, our community loves what we do and they see the real value we bring in designing a difference. Our volunteers, sponsors, and partners collaboratively have helped us become who we are today. Rebecca and I did not do this alone, dozens of individuals that care and want to make a difference have joined us and carried the mission as if it were their own.
5) What are your top two goals you want to achieve with DaD?
We will continue our efforts making a difference and helping all individuals prosper in our community while advocating for sustainable change in our industry. We understand there are many dilemmas in the fashion industry and we hope to be able to make an impact towards a more positive ecosystem by influencing our generation and the next by leading by example. Currently, we specialize in cutting & sewing knitwear and screen printing. In the future, we plan to expand our locations and specialties to include teaching the skills required to creating jobs that are becoming obsolete. It is societies instinct to love fashion but we now need to consider producing what we purchase more ethically.
Thanks Eduardo !