Meet Dominic Nowell-Barnes, Founder of The Giving Movement

Lindsay Judge   |   08-05-2023


Just three years ago Dominic Nowell-Barnes Founded “The Giving Movement”, a Dubai-based brand that would put sustainability and charity at the forefront of fashion, giving back to those in need through the products it creates and shifting the culture from fast fashion to conscious consumerism.


For every item purchased, The Giving Movement donates a proportion of the amount to charity and has so far raised over four million dollars. The money goes towards children’s education and improving the lives of those less fortunate. On top of that, the company’s mission to commit to sustainability is something to truly admire. While it is not 100 per cent sustainable yet (something that’s virtually impossible in today’s culture), they are well on their way. Producing their own sustainable materials locally in Dubai is a great start! 



The Giving Movement’s products have become instantly recognisable thanks to their eye-catching branding and simple yet edgy design. The brand’s core collection focuses on leisure or fitness wear, but more recently they have branched out into modest wear, formal wear and even kidswear. It really does seem like the sky is the limit for this movement. As TGM continues to grow, we spoke to the Founder Dominic Nowell-Barnes, to find out what have been the greatest achievements so far and what’s next. 




How would you describe the universe of The Giving Movement today?


Our universe belongs to every member of the movement. The way that TGM has been created is through collective effort, and it makes us happy to see that we’ve crossed $4.5 million in money raised for charity, simply through the contributions of every person who interacts with and joins the movement. It’s a reminder that together, anything can be accomplished, whether it’s helping put an end to the vicious cycle of poverty or championing conscious consumerism and sustainability.



What do you think makes TGM movement different from anything else out there?

There are a lot of brands doing incredible work and we salute them for their contributions to society, we need as many as we can get. For The Giving Movement, our focus is on our motto; “Humanity in Motion” – it makes the causes of charity and sustainability a constant that never stops, as we focus on transparency, being interactive with members of the movement, and showing the difference that people’s purchases are making.




Let’s talk a little about the charity element of the brand – can you tell us what you have achieved so far with this? 

We work with Dubai Cares and Harmony House India – two organisations that focus on education as a way to put an end to poverty. We commit $4 from each item sold to go towards charity, which by itself can be enough for a lot of essentials: a week of milk for a baby, a week of three meals a day for a child, a hygiene kit for a family of four, a vocational training kit… and the list goes on. Through this, the $4.5+ million that the movement has raised so far has made an incredible difference for the communities in India. The wonderful team behind Harmony House India has managed to build 2 new centres, an Early Learning Wing, the Hope at Harmony House special needs wing, expand to have 1,000+ students, provide 3 daily meals for each student, have over 250 graduates, provide surrounding communities with weekly rations and medical care, and help women become independent through vocational training courses. It’s really inspiring and motivating what can be done when our communities band together to help one another.



You have diversified the collections over the past few months – how far would you like to take it in terms of the offering?


Our expansion has been based on the community and the region. We have a heavy focus on modest clothing, for example, as the women in the region inspire our collections. We introduced TGM kids and baby and have most recently dived into Formal collections. At the end of the day, we are working towards shifting the culture from fast fashion to conscious consumerism, and that’s what drives our collections – hand-in-hand with innovation. The movement is more than closet essentials, it’s about pieces that do good and feel good, as well as updating our closets.




What are some of the key pieces or collections we should know about now?


The heroes of TGM are always the Lounge Collection and the Active Collection. They’re the collections we launched with and continue to be at the core of TGM. Their ultra-soft textures, sustainable materials, and local production are what make them the streetwear essentials that have taken over.



How do you ensure that your products are sustainable?

Sustainability is a journey and always calls for improvement, so getting to a stage where TGM is 100% sustainable is something that we’re still working towards. Innovation defines our approach to the materials we use, so every season, every material used in every collection is innovated in-house, meaning that we take care of the process from A to Z. Whether it’s sourcing the raw materials that we need, working with certified suppliers, or manufacturing things locally, we rely on growth and development to continue our promise of creating sustainable collections. This also means ensuring that the trims and extra detailing in each piece are sustainable.



Can you tell us a little more about the materials and what they are made from? 

Our collections are centred around recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and organic cotton. The Lounge collection of hoodies, jackets, and joggers is made from an Organic Cotton Blend of 60% organic cotton and 40% recycled polyester. Our Active collection is made from the signature Softskin100© which combines 80% recycled polyester and 20% recycled spandex. Shell, one of our top 3, is 100% recycled nylon and was the first streetwear collection to do so. We use various types of recycled materials and update our fabrics every season, and we rely on transparency to build trust with the community. Our goal is to remove any recycled synthetics from the supply chain for biobased alternatives that are slowly coming into the market.




In this issue, we are talking about success stories born in the UAE and yours truly is that – to what would you credit the success the brand has had so far? 


The success of the brand is two-fold: one, the commitment of our community in the UAE and the GCC towards being eco-friendly and charitable, and two, creating a business model that places giving back at the centre of the strategy.



What do you think are the prerequisites to creating a brand that will stand the test of time in today’s environment?


You must be ready to experiment, to be reactive, and to see what your audience is looking for. We’ve entered a new decade that is constantly changing, evolving, and developing, and without incorporating these things into your strategy, it’s quite difficult to maintain a strong presence.




As an entrepreneur what is a piece of advice you would give to others?

I would share a piece of advice that has changed my own approach: “if there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.” It’s a lesson on the importance of having a strong mindset, setting your standards, and knowing them inside and out… which makes your foundation impenetrable and your resolve iron-clad regardless of external factors.



What have been some of the biggest challenges along the way and how did you overcome them?

The general industry’s struggle with being sustainable in today’s world is difficult to navigate at the beginning stages, we are working towards being sustainable and featuring biobased materials. Eco-friendly materials aren’t readily available, which makes it difficult to find and source cost-effective ways to be eco-friendly. Thankfully, one of our goals is helping the industry evolve, and as the world becomes more aware of consumer habits, the negative impact of fast fashion, and the importance of sustainability, they’re contributing towards higher demand which would ultimately make these materials more available.


Another challenge is pacing the company’s growth – there’s a lot we want to accomplish and change and contribute to… and it all takes patience to ensure that it’s accomplished well, rather than making decisions that aren’t supported by the necessary research or data… or even strategy.



What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt?


I think one of the biggest lessons any entrepreneur and start-up faces is adapting to fast growth and ensuring that you scale your team of experts as you scale the audience and the products. It requires a lot of skills in strategically putting together the next steps, and it all comes down to the team dynamics, working with talent that you trust, and believing in what we’re working towards.



Is there anything you would like to do that you haven’t done yet?


I’ve committed my career to helping those who are in need and seeing the feedback and the collaboration that we’ve received from the community and from the movement only expands all the goals and things that I want to do, whether in charity or sustainability.



What’s next for the brand over the coming year? 

As we enter our 3rd anniversary, the next year carries a lot of exciting moments, from store openings to new collections and campaigns. Stay tuned!