FashionThe Phoenix Series

Ruchi Roy Making strides towards ensuring ‘sustainability’ is a lifestyle choice.

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Ruchi Roy’s ethical fashion brand ‘Esthetic India’ strives to inculcate sustainability as a lifestyle and natural extension of one’s personality.

Throwing the concept of wasteful living through fast fashion out of the window, we hail this new brigade of ultra-responsible entrepreneurs that are creating a buzz around minimalistic living!

What prompted you to craft a brand centered around the concept of sustainability?

For a long time I was a compulsive shopper and I really wanted to change this habit of mine. I became conscious of wanting to create less waste. This feeling was further magnified during the pandemic. Covid times have taught all of us that we can do with so much lesser in our lives. So I decided to cut the clutter and follow a much more minimalistic lifestyle.

My driver’s wife, along with many other women really felt the brunt of the financial crunch when Covid hit. They came asking for employment, so I thought why not train them up to do stitching work. I bought a few second hand sowing machines and started training these women to sow face masks. Slowly more people started pouring in wanting to join the team. Our face masks were a run away hit! That’s when I decided to diversify and add other products to our range.

What does ethical fashion mean to you personally?

When one thinks about it, every plastic toothbrush that has ever been used, still exists on this planet. Look at the sheer environmental impact a simple habit of ours like brushing our teeth has. We have to be mindful of the really small yet significant changes we can make in our lives that can reduce our footprint on the planet. The garment industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Yet most of us don’t  want to compromise on style, neither do I. I love changing my look and my outfits every day. So instead of shopping all the time why not have 10 different pieces but style them differently?

I can proudly say that I have not shopped at all in the last year.

Ethical fashion and sustainability to me isn’t just about buying from sustainable brands, it’s about extending this sensibility and mindset into one’s life. Simple practices like carrying one’s own grocery bag while shopping, reusing bags, recycling things, not indulging in fast fashion – all have a major impact on saving our planet.

Do take us through some of the wonderful products your brand Esthetic India boasts of.

We have an array of products from across the country that are unique and driven by sustainability. We had started off with bamboo toothbrushes from Kolkata. We have these intricately crafted straw bags that we source from Manipur. It’s important to me to be able to reach out to smaller households and craftsmen to help showcase their phenomenal work and encourage these small businesses. We have all our fabric dyed and printed through local artisans in Jaipur. A lot of the stitching work happens in my hometown Ranchi. So in a sense, we work with people from across the country. We have also added a range of cotton totes, net bags and cushion covers.

How does Esthetic India strive to contribute towards caring for our planet ?

I am a huge nature and animal lover! This sensibility is an extension of my personality. My brand Esthetic India is a manifestation of my passion. I am not in this line of work for profit. By god’s grace, I have other avenues of income that work really well for me. Esthetic India has come into existence with aim of giving back to communities. We are associated with a number of NGOs in my hometown, Ranchi. One of these is called ‘The Team Green’ which focuses on planting saplings across the city. They conducted a drive to plant 101 saplings and are taking regular care of these. Esthetic India provides funds for the same.

I want to make our products easily accessible to people so they feel that it’s very convenient to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

For me it’s incredibly fulfilling to empower the artisans that work with us. They are our true heroes and I want the profits I collect from this business to be distributed amongst them. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing the women who work with us really excited about a new project!

Jasneev Sidhu

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