Alumni Spotlight: Dylan Patterson

September 7, 2020 by

Fresh out of SMU, Dylan Patterson launched her bathing suit line Born From A Wave. Her brand is all about sustainability, ethical practices, and adorable styles. She shared with me her tips for entrepreneurs, living a sustainable lifestyle, and more. Keep reading and it will be clear why your next suit should be from her brand!

Hailing from the West coast of Florida, Patterson studied general business with an entrepreneurship concentration and fashion media during her time at SMU before graduating in 2019. She grew up by the water and was particularly bothered by trash and items washing up on the beach, which was part of the inspiration for her brand. She decided to start her brand during her sophomore year after she was shocked to learn about the negative effects of the fashion industry on the environment in a fashion media course.

“Born From A Wave is a sustainable women’s swimwear company, our main focus is making sure everything is completely sustainable and ethically made,” Patterson said.

In her mind, it is just as important to be ethical with sourcing her labor as it is to be sustainable. Patterson discovered when searching for a factory to produce her swimsuits, vendors and merchants weren’t always honest with her. She traveled to Bali twice to ensure that her swimsuits were produced by a factory she could trust, and also treated their workers with compassion. It was definitely a long process for her to find a manufacturer that she liked, but once she settled on one in Bali she was set. The factory that she uses helps women earn fair pay, and that they are in a safe working environment. During her trip, she went to the factory and was able to tour it and meet some of the workers.

“I actually got to go into my factory, tour it, and meet some of the people making the suits, they all seemed very happy,” Patterson said.”In Bali, public education is not completely free, and those costs fall on the woman in the family to pay for that. My manufacturer tries to hire women in the area, and pay them above living wage so they can support their families.”

 

“Some fast fashion companies and how poorly they treat their workers really stuck with me… these companies that can totally afford to do things the right way and choose not to really bothered me,” Patterson said.

Patterson uses a fabric called ECONYL, from the company Carvico for her swimsuits; It is made out of recycled plastic fishing nets, bottles, and other post-consumer waste products. She chose to use this fabric because it helps rid the ocean of waste, and has a multitude of uses. The material is also infinitely recyclable, which led her to start a recycling program with her suits as well. 

Patterson’s brand was curated towards her own friends, and she is always looking for feedback from her customers. My favorite part of Dylan’s business besides the morality behind it all was that when you speak to customer service you are directly speaking to her. She cares deeply about interacting with her consumers and finds joy in being accessible to them. She is always open to feedback and encourages everyone who purchases her suits to reach out whether there be a sizing question or an exchange needed.

“I love it because I get to talk to my consumers directly, which is honestly one of the other main differences between shopping a large brand versus me. You get to talk to me directly, and if you love the suit but want a different style or color I can probably make it happen,” Patterson said.

When I asked her for advice for entrepreneurs at the beginning of their process, Patterson told me consistency was key. Remembering why her vision matters and the end result helped her keep going. Her drive and work ethic is inspirational and has definitely made me think about starting my own business. I can easily say she was so humble and pleasant to talk to and can be a great role model for any young entrepreneur.

“Definitely stick with it, and even when it is hard keep going and remember why you wanted to start your brand,” Patterson said.

Best of luck with all your future endeavors Dylan! We need every suit in your collection!

– Maddie

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