Intro by Sean Loughran "I grew up surrounded by nature in Northern Ireland before making my moves to Paris & New York, both concrete jungles, both over-populated, and both with very different cultures. I moved to Canada as an immigrant in 2015, and haven't looked back since. I started out in Toronto and now I'm on the West Coast in beautiful British Columbia. The feeling I got when the Canadian boarder control agent said "Welcome home" when I entered Canada from New York for the first time was exhilerating for me. I truly feel at home in Canada and I've never been more proud to call Vancouver HOME."
A brand I felt an instant attraction to was Peace Collective. When I clicked onto their site, it was then that I realized they don't only make dope sweaters - they're a thriving philanthropical brand.
Founded in 2014 by Yanal Dhailieh, Peace Collective is built on two ideas. The first of which is their belief in designing products that allow Canadians to show pride in a modern, fashionable way. Even though I'm still an Irish citizen, I wear those sweaters with pride.
The second, and most important of Peace Collective's business model, every garment sold provides two healthy meals and a snack to a Canadian child in need through the Peace Foundation. The Peace Foundation focuses its efforts on empowering Canadians to chase their passions by providing the support and resources necessary to do so. Find out how you can get involved by clicking here.
Peace Collective have collaborated with activewear leader Lululemon, they're stocked at Canada's Hudson's Bay, and they've worked with the Toronto Blue Jays, all incredible successes from such a young brand. I was eager to know more.
Q&A WITH THE FOUNDER | YANAL DHAILIEH
Q1. Tell me about your upbringing and your path into the fashion industry.
It’s funny because I never thought I’d be working in the fashion industry. All of this happened quite organically and I’m so glad it did. I went to the University of Waterloo for Bio Med and after graduation found myself at a sales company. I didn’t feel as fulfilled as I wanted to which caused me to start looking for new opportunities. I knew I wanted to start a business that helped give back to the community but I wasn’t sure what.
In 2015 a few friends and I went to a Raptors game and I made some shirts for us to wear for fun. That day changed my life. TSN was making a short video on the game and we ended up getting featured on it and had a lot of people in the crowd asking about it. This is where it all started. This gave me my in into the fashion industry and finally gave me the platform to give back to the community through its sales.
Q2. You were inspired to start Peace Collective after reading Blake Mycoskie's Start Something That Matters. What were your initial goals for Peace Collective and how did you achieve them?
As mentioned previously there were a couple of different factors that pushed me to start Peace Collective. "Start Something That Matters" is one of the things that helped guide me to where I am today. I knew I wanted to do something that helped give back to Canadians. As a Canadian from an immigrant family, I know what it’s like to come to a new country. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to chase my dreams and passion and I hope through Peace Collective’s philanthropic drive that I’m able to support others to do the same.
Q3. We're celebrating 150 years of Canada, and I couldn't be more proud to call Canada my home. I'm sure you travel internationally often, but what's your favourite spot in Canada and why?
I visited Ottawa for the first time this year and it was great! It was so refreshing to see the heart of our country.
Q4. What you're doing philanthropically is incredible. Are you hoping to extend your charitable work outside of Canada?
Currently we’re focusing on Canadian communities. One day I hope we can help all over the world but it starts by helping our neighbours first!
Q5. What do you see in the future for Peace Collective?
I see us as a national brand pushing our core ideals including; chasing your passions, helping others, and showing pride in where you come from.
Q6. Last but not least, who inspires you most and why?
My dad has been such an inspiration to me throughout my life. He has instilled important core values which have translated into the way I approach Peace Collective. I understand that without his sacrifice to immigrate to Canada I wouldn't have the opportunities I have. My goal with Peace Collective is to give back to the community to allow others to chase their passions and dreams the same way I've been lucky enough to do.
My favourites - Shop the collection online!