Thasneem Masood and Adveta Dwivedi are founders of Rossbelle, a brand that produces sustainable women’s wear and other eco-friendly products.
Sustainable fashion has come a long way from the ‘hippie’ trends of the 70s where eco-friendly meant tie-dyed fabrics and loose-fitted clothing patched together, which could never find a place on any runway.
Today, eco-friendly fashion has come of age. It’s chic, stylish, and ethical. It’s kinder to the environment without compromising on quality, feel and look of the products. And it is cutting-edge, and making a splash on runways too. Green definitely is the new black.
Two young fashion enthusiasts turned their fashion choices into a business proposition by creating Rossbelle, a brand that produces sustainable women’s wear and other products with eco-friendly material, dead-stock fabrics, and re-purposed vintage fabrics.
Thasneem Masood and Adveta Dwivedi met while working for one of the world’s largest Indian ethnic wear brands. A common love for holistic fashion inspired them to launch Rossbelle in 2016, with a vision to create a fashion trend that had a minimum impact on the environment, a lower carbon footprint, minimum wastage, and facilitated a sustainable environment for the maker and the consumer.
Thasneem operates out of their office in Vepery, Chennai. With a background in apparel production and branding, she is involved in every step of the production process, right from selecting the designs to choosing the fabrics and appointing the tailors. Adveta who calls herself a ‘digital guru’ looks after online marketing, sales and branding from Dubai. The two visit each other often and are in sync with different processes, through constant online interactions.
“At Rossbelle, it’s more than just creating beautiful clothes. We understand the impact each garment has on the environment. We offer a range of tunics with different prints, shirt dresses, kimono tops, and have recently launched a new collection of throws. We also have a range of handmade soaps, eco-friendly totes, pouches and laptop sleeves made from leftover pieces, thereby doing our bit to reduce the number of fabrics reaching landfills,” says Thasneem.
Rossbelle garments are made from fabrics that are ethically produced by following environment-friendly practices. These are mostly handwoven and natural-dyed organic cotton and linen. They also purchase old, remaining, and over-requested fabrics from different fabric distribution centres. Each design is unique and a sketch turns into a dress in about a month.
A bootstrapped company, Rossbelle operates with a team of five in Chennai and two in Dubai. They claim to have steady sales of around 60 to 70 orders, including some B2B orders in a normal month. Sales increase by 30 percent during festive seasons.
“We have an active Instagram account and all our sales is done online. We also do B2B orders and gift boxes for our new product line of organic and natural cosmetics,” says Adveta.
According to the founders, sustainable fashion is still to find acceptance among the fashion-conscious. “Acceptance is our primary challenge. The allure of ‘fast fashion’ is appealing as the up-front cost appears to be cheap. However, because fashion trends change so quickly, the up-front cost is masked by the need to spend more to stay trendy and replace poorly made clothing that falls apart quickly. When you purchase sustainable clothing, you are making a conscious decision to purchase recycled clothes or an ethically manufactured piece that may cost a little more, but its impact on the environment is favourable. What’s important is that the consumer needs to be educated on making sustainable choices,” states Thasneem.
As part of their commitment to reduce textile waste produced by fast fashion, the duo also organised an event in Chennai in association with Fashion Revolution called ‘Swap your clothes’, where people exchanged their old, wearable, clothes, accessories and shoes with each other. Those that could not be exchanged were kept aside for recycling.
“Our aim is to stick to our core values of sustainability as we do business. We will do less, but do good,” says Adveta, signing off.
If you are looking for clothes with a conscience, embrace sustainable fashion. The world will be better for it.