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Fashionpreneur Thasneem Educates Us On Ways To Lead Eco-Friendly And Fashionable Life

  • IWB Post
  •  February 17, 2018

Rossbelle is a fashion brand based in Chennai which was started in 2016 by two fashion enthusiasts – Thasneem Masood and Adveta Dwivedi. If you think it’s just another brand that has popped up, let me hold your thought there.

This is a sustainable clothing brand that runs on zero-waste principle and works with only fair-trade communities, small artisans, and sustainable enterprises. From clothes to bags to soaps, every item is produced with all things natural. Not to forget, the bags and other accessories are made from the leftover wasted fabrics. Running on the motto of recycle and reuse, Rossbelle is a bootstrapped company operating from Chennai and Dubai.

“First and foremost my suggestion for everybody is to stop buying unnecessarily. And, think thoroughly about how many times you can wear that particular garment,” suggests Thasneem on leading an eco-friendly life.

Read more from our conversation with her in the excerpts below.

Let’s begin with the friendship between the co-founders. 

Adveta and I met when we were working at an e-commerce company. What connected us was our passion for fashion and our ideas that synced.

How did you come up with the idea of the sustainable fashion brand?

Working at a brand like FabIndia in the early year of my career developed my love for the handmade craft. I have always wanted to own a fashion brand. Also, both of us lead a nature-loving life personally. While I am into Ayurveda, Adveta is a vegan by choice.

We realised how fashion is one of the biggest sources of pollution and we wanted to begin something that promotes a zero-waste, fashionable lifestyle.

You and Adveta work from two different countries. How do you maintain the long-distance relationship – both friendship and business? Any tips that you’d like to share?

So, I operate from North Chennai and Adveta operates from Dubai. I take care of the design and production part and she handles branding and communication. The key to run a successful long-distance relationship, be it personal or professional, is to connect a lot on daily basis.

Adveta and I e-meet once a week, fly back and forth on a regular interval, and most importantly we are in constant touch with each other. We both are on the same wavelength, share the same goal, keep each other updated, and maintain the trust factor.

Coming up soon in our next collection. Donned by @highonstyl . DM us to reserve for you. #dubai #uae #chennai #muscat #bangalore #bangalorefashion #chennaifashion #dubaifashion #dubaibloggers #happy #sustainabledubai #sustainablefashion #sustainability

72 Likes, 2 Comments – Rossbelle (@myrossbelle) on Instagram: “Coming up soon in our next collection. Donned by @highonstyl . DM us to reserve for you. #dubai…”

Those are some very insightful tips! What was the challenge in launching a sustainable start-up and how did you overcome it?

Because artisans have a set way of designs and patterns, it becomes difficult to explain few things to them. The other thing is explaining to customers about the justified prices. It gets a bit difficult to educate and make them understand what goes behind.

Constant communication is the key, for us. Also, we’re launching smaller, upcycled collections that will be priced low.

How are you achieving the fair trade and are you also focusing on empowering women?

Umm, so there are certain collections that we only buy from certified organisations and mills. We never negotiate with the workers and manufacturers and make sure they get paid what they totally deserve. At the same time, as we understand the process we ensure to maintain the two-way profitable road.

Talking about women artisans, the current NGOs and organisations we are working with have an all-women artisan team. Apart from that, we also want to give them vocational training and more opportunities in the near future.

That reminds me of the beautiful quote that I saw on your Instagram page which conveys that what you’re wearing is not beautiful if people behind it are unhappy. How can we as consumers change artisans’ lives?

#Repost @fashionrevolutionindia (@get_repost) ・・・ #Repost @fash_rev (@get_repost) ・・・ Today is the last chance to pre-order the second issue of the bi-annual Fashion Revolution fanzine! LOVED CLOTHES LAST explores the issue of waste and mass-consumption in the fashion industry, and hopes to inspire you to buy less, care more, and know how to make the clothes you love last for longer. Be quick to pre-order and receive a free Fashion Revolution patch, produced by @avydenrbis and made with up to 90% recycled yarn. *while supplies last The proceeds of this non-profit fanzine will go towards creating more inspiring and informative resources like this zine in the future and helping to grow the Fashion Revolution movement.👇 www.fashionrevolution.org/fanzine2 (link in bio) #fashionrevolution #lovedclotheslast ———————– Poem by the brilliant @holliepoetry ✨#holliemcnish #poetry

24 Likes, 2 Comments – Rossbelle (@myrossbelle) on Instagram: “#Repost @fashionrevolutionindia (@get_repost) ・・・ #Repost @fash_rev (@get_repost) ・・・ Today is the…”

Consumers can be a part of this movement just by reading labels carefully – the components and shelf-life of fabrics. Do a little research and you’d be able to take better decisions. Ask designers about the process, how it is made and remember that they’re responsible to answer you. You can also buy directly from the artisans which will give them a better income. From generations, they have followed the same technique, pattern, and design and when you suggest them to do something differently that will broaden their creative space and help them grow.

Coming back to Rossbelle, how do you ensure the entire production is waste free?

The production happens in our presence. All the leftover pieces are sent to us and then we audit how and what can be used. We then convert them into bags and accessories and also give it to women who stitch from home.

Rossbelle @ Evening Bazar today! This is what it looked like. Bunch of new collection of laptop sleeves and tote bags! #sustainablefashion #green #greenfashion #fashionrevolution #fairtrade #ethical #ethicalfashion #gogreen #chennaifashion #chennai #change #sustainability #sustainablefashion #bangalore #dubai #dubaifashion #abudhabi #abudhabifashion #fashionblogger #fashion #clothing #classic #photography #new #printed #myrossbelle #blogging #blogger

78 Likes, 5 Comments – Rossbelle (@myrossbelle) on Instagram: “Rossbelle @ Evening Bazar today! This is what it looked like. Bunch of new collection of laptop…”

We sit with tailors and guide them how clothes can be saved.

What’s your mood today? 💁🏼 Geometric print is the new trend this season! Choose from our latest range of geometric printed throw-overs to complete your look. DM us to get your hands on these beauties. #myrossbelle #mood #fashionrevolution #fashion #fairtrade #ethicalfashion #ecofriendly #morning #womensday #chennai #oman #muscat #dubai #blogging

44 Likes, 2 Comments – Rossbelle (@myrossbelle) on Instagram: “What’s your mood today? 💁🏼 Geometric print is the new trend this season! Choose from our latest…”

What about online delivery? 

So, this is one part that we are still trying to figure out, but trying our best to use minimal plastic, we pack in paper (cardboard) boxes.

Give us examples of reduce, recycle, and reuse, used in your business.

We reduce by not making a lot of garments. Most of our collections are capsule collection. The leftover fabrics are recycled and reused by converting them into accessories and using in other collections.

And, is your personal life a zero-waste lifestyle, too?

Well, that’s what I aim to. For example, I haven’t shopped in like three years. I mean, it happens once in a while when I buy basics. I try avoiding using plastic as much as I can. I give away the shampoo and other used bottles to kabidiwalas so that they can get upcycled.

Step towards sustainability #fashionrevolution 👗 #fashion #ecofashion #ethicalfashion #gogreen #change #sustainability #chennai #chennaifashion #dubai #fashionblogger #environment #loveearth #myrossbelle #rossbelle #inspiration #sustainablefashion #Tips #lovefashion #ethical #betterfuture

44 Likes, 2 Comments – Rossbelle (@myrossbelle) on Instagram: “Step towards sustainability #fashionrevolution 👗 #fashion #ecofashion #ethicalfashion #gogreen…”

What is on your design mood board for summer 2018?

There are two moods. One is Boho and the other is plain solid colors with slogans. The slogans are of women empowerment that focus on standing up for yourself. Which is done in a very subtle way. They are printed on the neckline, cuff, and hem.

How would you describe your style based on the folowing quote, Dress The Way You Want To Be Addressed?

We believe clothes aren’t going to change the world. Women or men who wear them would. What are your #lifegoals? #ecofashion #ethicalfashion #gogreen #change #sustainability #chennai #chennaifashion #dubai #ethical #sustainablefashion

37 Likes, 3 Comments – Rossbelle (@myrossbelle) on Instagram: “We believe clothes aren’t going to change the world. Women or men who wear them would. What are…”

My style is comfort. I like skirts that are classic, comfy, and not fancy. So, ya, that’s how I want to be addressed – comfortable, classic, and basic.

What are your tips for us to reinvent old clothes? Give us one example from your wardrobe.

First and foremost, my suggestion for everybody is to stop buying unnecessarily. And, think thoroughly about how many times you can wear that particular garment. There are so many ways of reinventing a garment like maybe making a patch out of few, reusing as a cover for few things, so many. There are few different 5-min-craft handles that teach some wonderful ways. My personal way is to use my husband’s shirts.

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