Rossbelle’s first collection was upcycled from factory wastage, 60% of the collection is upcycled.Thasneem Masood
Eco-fashion is in vogue and people are looking out for more sustainable and eco-friendly options to clothing and skincare. Thasneem Masood, Founder of Rossbelle, along with her team has been ardently working towards ensuring that the once niche market of sustainable fashion is available to everyone, moreover, they make it a point to educate consumers on the need to switch to eco-friendly shopping habits. Thasneem is passionate about what she does and is constantly working towards making sustainability the more desirable option. Rossbelle has beautiful collections of clothing that are trendy and in fashion and most importantly, eco-friendly! Lets hear more about her journey and her brand from Thasneem.
What is Rossbelle? Tell us about your brand.
In a world full of fast fashion and chemically aided beauty products, ROSSBELLE chooses the path of nurture. Backed by extensive research and development, our mission has always been to offer eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle products for the carefree, confident and curious woman. We want to focus on efforts that have the biggest impact- Product, People, Planet and Progress. We strive towards building a circular ecosystem.
What made you start Rossbelle? What is the story behind it?
We aspired to launch a label for women, something similar to our personal tastes. The aim was to connect and provide to women who wanted to be simple yet sophisticated and holistic and the best source of inspiration was none other than Mother Earth. The initial researches taught me the impact and rising concern of fast fashion. Thus, the brand Rossbelle was born – the vision was to create ethically sourced and manufactured eco-friendly products by remaining in vogue and not compromising the quality while the mission was to create minimum impact – lesser carbon footprints, minimum wastage, a sustainable environment for the maker and the consumer.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before Rossbelle?
I was fascinated by the fashion industry at a very early age, and decided to graduate in Fashion Technology. During my final semester, I was placed with ‘Fabindia’, and that’s where I fell in love with fabric and block prints. Even when I was in college I would go shop trims and laces and handcrafted fabrics from the market near my college, irrespective of whether I would bring it to use or not. Apart from the design and fabric, Fabindia helped me in gaining perspective about the textile industry. During my stint at Fabindia, I got married, had a baby, took a break and later joined a company called Evolv.
Evolv was a multi-designer outlet and that’s where I got an opportunity to learn the nuances of back-end and retail marketing. Since it was a multi-designer company it gave me a platform to connect with the designers I was fascinated about. While I was working with Fabindia I knew I needed something of my own, a label which will be completely natural and handmade.
And then I gradually moved to an e-commerce company called Cbazaar and somewhere in 2013, I decided to start Rossbelle.
Where is Rossbelle based? Why do you think this is the best place for you?
Rossbelle is based out of Chennai. This is the best place because it is home and there is no other place like home.
There are quite a few eco-friendly brands in the Indian market today. What makes Rossbelle unique?
Most of the eco-friendly brands create a new collection from scratch and focus on one category. Rossbelle’s first collection was upcycled from factory wastage, 60% of the collection is upcycled. The biggest problem lies in the irony of the fast fashion system, which is one that’s still rooted in consumption. Buying more clothes — no matter how “sustainable” they are — won’t help the environment. As a brand we evolved from producing products to a community where we educate consumers on sustainability and promote homegrown brands. At ROSSBELLE Community we constantly promote homegrown brands and conduct events educating consumers on the impact of mindless consumption. As a brand we want to create a circular economy.
What were the challenges you faced while setting up an eco-friendly brand? Do you think it would have been easier otherwise?
The challenge was to keep abreast of the trends set by fast fashion. There is an immense commitment to research because you are always searching for the most earth, and people friendly options. First, when we launched, we were educating consumers on sustainability because it was a very niche segment then and we wanted to cater to the mass. As humans, it is difficult to change our habit patterns and shopping is one such habit. We are so lost trying to be affordably trendy all the time that we forget to reflect upon the impact of the choices we make. And, even if we are educated on the facts, we still choose to ignore it because we are not directly affected by it.
Second, we had to ensure setting a sustainable supply chain. As much as our raw materials were sustainable, we had to make sure the factories that produced it followed ethical practices and were transparent. As a new brand unless you are giving a huge order you are in no position to dictate terms with the factories on policies or you should have your own facility that is capital intensive to ensure ethical practices are maintained. Again, factory is just one aspect of the supply chain. Production has different phases like dyeing, printing and washing and these are sub-contracted by another unit all together. People involved in the entire supply chain is also a factor to be considered in the supply chain. These are ongoing challenges.
Rossbelle doesn’t just stop at clothing. What are the other products you offer?
We are working on launching an ethical beauty line now and also working on launching India’s first ever Pre-loved Marketplace where people can buy and sell directly. We are super excited about this because we all have so many unused clothes and need to wait for someone to host a swap event or pre-loved sale every time. With the current pandemic such physical events have become very uncertain. This marketplace would be seamless, you just have to upload and sell your items.
We are also working on setting up an online academy where we would train and mentor anyone who wants to create a sustainable brand.
People are more conscious of their carbon footprint and their choices that affect the environment today. Have you seen an increase in customers over the years?
Yes, definitely from when we started off there has been a significant increase and it’s a good sign that more and more people are becoming conscious.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
We have a young dynamic team. Most of them started as interns. We regularly work with and hire interns who are passionate about sustainability. We have been very fortunate to work with some amazing souls who are very hardworking and dedicated.
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