As granddaughter of renowned children’s author Roald Dahl ( “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) and cousin to British model-turned-writer Sophie Dahl, fashion designer Phoebe Dahl has a storied heritage.
”Our whole family is incredibly supportive of the arts and being creative,” says the 26-year-old Los Angeles native. “I first started sewing when I was 13 or 14 years old, and it actually happened by accident. I got grounded and my mom took away my phone, my computer, everything. l was very grumpy about it at first. Then she said, ‘Do you want to start sewing?’ So I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll try that.’ Her friend came over with a sewing machine and taught me how to sew and I pretty much haven’t stopped since then.”
After studying at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in San Francisco and the London College of Fashion, Dahl worked in Amsterdam as an assistant to Dutch fashion designer Jackie Villevoye of Jupe by Jackie before returning to Los Angeles in 2013 to launch fashion brand Faircloth & Supply.
Handcrafted in downtown Los Angeles from 100% linen, the line was inspired by the linen fabrics and utilitarian styles that Dahl discovered on a business trip to Japan in 2012. And the aesthetic is all about relaxed dressing: easy dresses and button-front shirts, bomber jackets, drop-crotch “britches,” coveralls and bloomers.
On Friday, seven pieces from Dahl’s first Faircloth & Supply collection, some in exclusive colors, relaunched in Urban Outfitters Urban stores and at urbanoutfitters.com. They include three pants, a blouse, two dresses and overalls ($159-$300).
“This is exciting for me because it allows us to reach out and share the brand’s message with so many more people and also with a younger demographic,” says Dahl.
For each item sold, the company has pledged to donate two school uniforms, school supplies and a one-year scholarship to a girl in Nepal, working in partnership with nonprofit General Welfare Pratisthan. A goal of the organization is reduce the number of Nepalese women and girls trafficked into the sex trade and forced labor. To date, Faircloth & Supply’s campaign has assisted nearly 1,500 girls throughout Nepal.
“My company started with the cause of women’s empowerment,” says Dahl. “Through my research, I found that the root of [empowerment] is education. One of the girls told me that she wears her uniform around her village even when she’s not going to school. Because if you are wearing a uniform, you are telling everyone that you are educated and that you have hope ahead of you, so the traffickers just won’t approach you.”
The clothes themselves are freeing, Dahl maintains.
“My designs aren’t fitted and are meant to be worn oversized, which adds another layer of empowerment to the brand, because it’s more about clothing that is actually comfortable to wear and works for women of all shapes and sizes,” she says.
Last year, Dahl created exclusive designs for L.A. brand Toms online marketplace, dedicated to socially conscious products. Later this year, Dahl plans to team again with Toms to create an exclusive capsule collection of dresses, scheduled to debut in July 27.