A conversation with ethical design luminaries Byron and Dexter Peart

For more than 20 years, twins and business partners Byron and Dexter Peart found acclaim in the fast-paced fashion world. Now they’ve pivoted to create a curated online platform for responsibly produced handmade goods. At Goodee World, the brothers are fostering a slower, more intentional approach to making home. 

The children of Jamaican immigrants, the brothers feel blessed to have been able to form a deep sense of belonging at home their entire lives; today they are working to help others form that same sense of rootedness and connection in the places we spend most of our days. 

In this interview, Byron and Dexter spoke to us about the influence of their parents, following the natural rhythms of craft, and their twinship as a superpower. 

On growing up in an immigrant family from Jamaica
It was very important for [our parents] that we had a relatability and a connection to our roots and our background. Jamaica is a country that does a lot of woodcarving, woodworking, and furniture production. We have vivid memories of the scent of mahogany growing up. These are the types of things that are in our own homes now: a balance of new technology and treasured items from the homeland. I think it’s a common story for immigrants, to find that connection between your current home and your spiritual past home.

On creating a gathering point for diversity
Dexter: We live in a complex world. People are different all around the world, but the one thing that really stuck out to us is that design is a universal idea, even though it might not be seen the same way universally. I’d like to think it’s where the future is going, where you’re going to have these various points of view. Some of them are going to be easier to get to, and some of them are going to be harder, and you need both to get something that feels more diverse.

On working with time, not against it
Byron: We see time as a metric or an arbiter in the making process. Not just slow living but actually slow production. So we’re not going to put pressure on our suppliers to produce things in mass quantities when we know that it takes time to make something well and in time-honoured traditions. When the product starts to move, we don’t rush things overnight, like you might do on Amazon and have next-day delivery. There’s a sustainability impact just from how long it will take.

On the power of twinship
Byron: I do believe that we have a secret weapon, in terms of how we see the world. A lot of people feel that they have to lift everything on their own, and that becomes very challenging. The way that we’ve been raised is that we recognize the power of our twinship and that we can do more together. Collaboration and cooperation have been foundational to us from a biological standpoint, but it’s also how we run our business.

On protecting the human element of craft
Dexter: When Byron and I were in Burkina Faso, we went to a weaving centre where the women would come in and they’d bring their kids. There were spools of yarn in random colours all around, and they would just start making fabric. We sat there for hours, and these women were working and sometimes dancing. They were creating these visual tableaux that were as beautiful as anything I’ve seen in design schools around the world.

That human element that you can never reproduce is so powerful. You see these items and sometimes you think, “It’s someone’s art,” or “It’s handmade.” But it’s really someone’s life. It’s someone’s story.

Read our full conversation with Byron and Dexter Peart in our eleventh issue New Times, available for order online in the BESIDE boutique.

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