Dominique Chanel Drakeford is a leader of ethical fashion public relations, environmental education, and community advocacy. Working over 5 years in fashion, Dominique specializes in designing and implementing public awareness campaigns and social conscious marketing. Her expertise is demonstrated by her diverse audience and dominating partnerships.
She began her career in Oakland, California as a teen, and now lives in New York City where she worked with luxury ethical designers and learned the various challenges of entering a fast-fashioned market, acquiring hands-on experience in marketing, public relations, corporate sponsors and investor relations.
Dominique continues to pioneer ethical luxury fashion with her volunteering, partnerships, and insatiable passion for sustainable lifestyles.
Tell us about your brand Drakeford PR
Drakeford PR is a continuously evolving brand that creates public relations and creative communication services to luxury and affordable luxury sustainable brands and businesses. Much like traditional PR companies, I work with clients in branding and media relations. However, what ethical/conscious/ sustainable fashion is lacking the most is quality brand imagery. By working with a photographer, we push key messaging through amazing visuals. Overall sustainable designers and organizations need credibility and exposure that will not only generate revenue, but also ignite AWARENESS.
My expertise has been demonstrated by reaching diverse audiences and creating partnerships wita variety of organizations and businesses to help leverage these brands. I am also Chief Curator Melanin & Sustainable Style, a blog launching Spring 2016 and a member of the Ethical Writers Coalition and the Conscious Community
Can you give us a sneak peek into what you’re working on for 2016?
There is an iconic narrative focusing on people of color, sustainability and fashion that is lacking in today’s discussions.
I will launching a new blog platform called Melanin & Sustainable Style (M.A.S.S) – it is an evolutionary platform that discusses the issues and celebrates the success of People in Color in the Sustainable Fashion Industry. We envision M.A.S.S as the “Black Girls Rock” of Conscious Fashion, in which we are pulling from the various embodiments of style to redefine our origin of what it means to live a sustainable lifestyle.
Platform interviews “melanin” visionaries and cultural influencers who are creating a positive impact in the fashion industry. Through our conversations, we shed light on dynamic and driven ‘shakers & doers’ proving an authentic platform for change.
I have substance, unwavering determination and an “out-of-the-box” style of thinking that is paramount to formulating new approaches enhancing the lives of people of color in the fashion/sustainable fashion space.
I’ve very excited to discuss issues such as environmental racism, lack of diversity in fashion, cultural appropriation but also pay homage to the INNOVATORS, DISRUPTORS, VISIONARIES and INFLUENCERS who have melanin and are sustainable!
What is the key purpose you hope to achieve through Drakeford PR?
Drakeford PR was founded on the basis of giving fashion a BOLD voice of change. In order for a brand to have a pulse, it has to stand for “something”. With compelling evidence that the fashion industry has one of the most densely negative environmental footprints, that “something” can be sustainability and social transparency.
Sustainability in every sense is driving new excitement and fueling this fresh wave of enthusiasm and passion for fashion. With compelling evidence that the fashion industry has one of the most densely negative environmental footprints, sustainability and social transparency are imperative. My goal is to help build a platform where in the U.S. we no longer make sustainable fashion the exception, but it instead becomes an ideal that designers incorporate in their everyday design ethos. We use the culture and content of sustainability as an industry and community access point.
Additionally, it’s extremely important to have a voice that perpetuates style. Sustainability no longer needs to have the taboo of tree bark and Birkenstocks (although I have several pairs). Sustainable fashion is sexy, edgy, modern … it’s extremely eclectic as you can see with all of the emerging designers all over the world.
What made you go down this path?
I’ve always been into the environment. In high school my absolute favorite class was AP Environmental Science. Once I went backing in Yosemite with Big City Mountaineers, I completely fell in love with and gained such an appreciate for nature and how we fit into it’s system. I remember in 2010 I go the opportunity to be part of the Pacific Forest & Watershed Lands Stewardship Council where I was part of an advisory board where I reviewed grants for environmental-focused nonprofits and I realized that in some capacity I had to be part of preservation and conservation of the environment. I’ve always loved fashion (with an emphasis of thrifting) but the shift in sustainable fashion took place in college when I applied for the student post contest for the Association of Environmental Professionals. Everyone had science based projects and my presentation was on a Sustainable Fashion Modeling Agency and people were completely blown away as they never honed in on the connections between the fashion industry and the environment and social welfare. This was the beginning platform that I used to apply to Graduate School at NYU in which I received my Master’s in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Fashion.
I guess I’ve always been earthy at heart looking back at my journey thus far but what made it different is that I was always fashion-forward, had a unique sense of style and really had a vocal personality.
Additionally, I speak to a lot of youth groups, schools, non profits about sustainability, leadership and character building. The talented and spunky youth are a constant inspiration for me!
Main source of inspiration?
Culture. The beauty in culture is what keeps me going. Indigenous cultures in particular are the nucleolus of fashion, beauty, architecture, etc and in order to sustain its beauty we have to sustain nature and it’s creators. I’m so inspired by herding traditions in Mongolia, Embroidery techniques in Africa, the use of land in the Caribbean and the list goes on and on. This is what gives me life and what continues to give my purpose life. I’m well aware of the role that fast fashion plays on garment workers and we have to find a way to make a human welfare a priority. I’m infatuated with redefining style for future generations and leaving behind that legacy that focuses on the triple bottom line.
Social entrepreneurship is challenging and I’m constantly re-inventing myself to make sure that I stay mission-driven.
What action do you take everyday to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?
NO plastic bags, I despise plastic bags unless there’s a dire need. I stick to homemade or organic beauty products, with Cali’s water crisis I try to be extremely mindful of water consumption. I don’t leave chargers plugged in the wall. If I have the financial means, I try to be extremely mindful when purchasing products and really think of it as an investment.
What are some of your favourite brands in the sustainability community?
Accessories – Bottle Toppers
Food – Natasha James’ Raw Cells (Organic Vegan Treats)
Who do you think are the top influencers in the sustainability community?
Rosario Dawson – Studio 189
Tengri – London-based Yak Wool Collective
Sass Brown – FIT Educator
Images Courtesy of Drakeford PR