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Interview with Ruchi Sahay

Ruchi Sahay
Ruchi Sahay
Co-founder and Director
Earthy Tweens
Earthy Tweens

We wish to be crusaders of eco-friendly and green clothing in India
Earthy Tweens is a sustainable, eco-friendly, kids’ clothing and toy brand founded in September 2022. The India-based company promotes sustainable fashion, which it hails as the future of the lifestyle industry. Its clothing line presents a range of gender-neutral pieces, ethically made with organic and natural fabrics, which are supplemented with chemical-free dyes. Co-founder and Director Ruchi Sahay speaks to Fibre2Fashion about sustainable kidswear and the changing trends.

How has the demand for organic clothing in India increased in recent years, and what factors have contributed to this trend?

The demand for organic clothing has risen with the progressive evolution of buyers’ dispositions and mentality. It has come out of a collective consciousness to buy clothing that does not exploit the environment. Choosing eco-friendly fashion is a modern shopper resolution. It has proven to be a sustainable trend rather than a short-lived fad.
Globalisation and Information Technology (IT) have brought into common knowledge the environmental exploitation attached to the production processes of inorganic clothing materials and the high pollution levels that emanate from them. It is one of the most important reasons for people to choose sustainable and organic wear, as it does not hamper ecological sustenance. We can say that organic clothing has become the zeitgeist of modern times.

What key elements have made sustainable clothing fashion a successful business model in the current market?

First and foremost, the customers’ interests and economic indulgence define the success of a particular business model. As per the trends and observational studies, the organic clothing market is expanding voluminously, especially in India. Urban cities and towns are buying organic clothing wear. There are undercurrents of an intellectual renaissance in the fashion and lifestyle industry across the world, and India is no exception. The insidiously growing pollution levels are alarming everybody to take stock of the situation and make small but impactful changes in their lifestyle. Just like ‘green energy’, ‘green shopping’ has also become a buzzword. People are willingly choosing to buy sustainable clothing because of their high quality and characteristics. The ideological congruency among the general masses to think of greater environmental welfare is also encouraging them to buy clothes made of organic materials.

Why are more and more new parents choosing sustainable clothing options for their children, and how do these choices benefit their families?

Sustainable clothing is reliable, durable, and long-lasting. New-age parents are buying organic clothing for their children also because it is easy to wash, delicate and does not wear down quickly; hence it lasts a long time. Organic wear is an easy-to-clean-wash-dry material. It is delicate and permeable, so it is supremely comfortable for children. Moreover, washing it is not an arduous task as stains go away quickly.
Organic wear wears down at a much slower pace than inorganic clothing. Hence it is a value-for-money investment for parents. There is also more significant ideological reasoning behind the predilection to choose organic fashion for children. Subscription to the ideology of ‘sustainability is a virtue’ among modern and independent-thinking parents is quite common, and they wish to inculcate the mindset among children right from the beginning.

How does the idea of alluring tranquillity or calmness relate to the sustainable clothing movement, and what role does it play in attracting consumers?

Sustainable clothing is a real movement. It voices out the aspirations of many groups. In my opinion, the idea of alluring tranquillity and calmness has an indirect correlation with the sustainable clothing movement. For those who think that environmental exploitation is the only vice related to inorganic clothing production methods, it is a travesty. It also has led to denouncing workers’ rights and integrity involved in the production process. Contrary to this, the production stages of organic clothing are environmentally and socially ethical. There is no exploitation of workers and the environment. High production quality standards and meticulous database management are followed during production, which is one of the most emphasised aspects of the sustainable clothing movement.

In what ways has sustainable clothing begun to dominate kids’ fashion, and how do aesthetic designs contribute to its growing popularity?

Earthy colours and windy, sunny, and flowery designs are the most popular prototype of sustainable clothing in kids’ fashion. There is a general observation that parents are looking for earthy colours like rust, marigold, deep navy, burnt sienna brown, terracotta, sage, and turmeric when they are shopping for their kids through offline stores and online platforms. As a famous aphorism goes, ‘We are also influenced by what we wear’; parents are looking for these colours as they think that they will imbue their children with Mother Earth and instil the correct values in them. Polkadots, scribble-scrabble, and funky prints are quite popular and invariably the most shopped sustainable clothing sets.

How are sustainable production practices and aesthetic designs shaping the future of kids’ clothing and lifestyle products in the market?

Kids’ clothing has become an altogether separate fashion market catering to brands operating in the lifestyle industry. Sustainable production practices are showing an alternative path to the lifestyle brands, where environmental and capitalist concerns are congruently placed, where one does not overpower the other and vice versa. It might be a time-taking process, but it is cost-efficient and conducive to the environment. Aesthetic designs are also attracting customers to organic fashion markets. Kids’ clothing and lifestyle products have an enormous scope of growth in market size as sustainable production practices and aesthetic designs gain momentum.

What inspired you to start Earthy Tweens, and how did your journey towards creating a sustainable, eco-friendly kids’ clothing and toy brand begin?

Earthy Tweens is a labour of love and dedication for the environment. The callous attitude towards the environment is a blatant indictment of human society. We have always prioritised our selfish and temporary needs over the greater good of society and ecology. As a responsible citizen, I decided to form Earthy Tweens as a facilitator of change. Earthy Tweens was founded on the principle of striking an eco-friendly balance while providing and designing fashion wear for kids. We wish to be crusaders of eco-friendly and green clothing in India. It is empowering and educative at the same time for the larger audience who are warming up to sustainable clothing wear.

How do you source the organic materials for your products, and how do you ensure their sustainable and ethical production?

We have different bases and centres from where we source organic materials. Organic cotton is the trendiest sustainable clothing wear. We ensure that there is no use of harmful dyes, inorganic and harmful fertilisers and pesticides in the production of our items and clothing, as it ultimately harms our skin texture and colour. It is our hard-and-fast rule. As we produce kids’ clothing wear, it becomes an uncompromising rule to negate the use of any harmful substances and agents.

Can you explain the process of using chemical-free dyes in your clothing line, and how it benefits both the environment and your customers?

To simplify a complex process, we use chemical free-dyes at the initial stages of production to treat the raw material. Chemical-free dyes or natural dyes are biodegradable, non-toxic, and non-allergenic in nature. It has a much lower environmental impact than synthetic dyes. Thus, it is beneficial for both customers and the environment.

How do you cater to the specific needs and preferences of children aged 7-8 years, while ensuring the products are sustainable and eco-friendly?

We have an excellent team that keeps tabs on the ever-evolving attributes and tastes of the customers. Children’s clothing should be loose, comfortable, and soft so it does not affect their physical movement. These are the general pre-requisites that we follow while making clothes for kids. The prints, designs, and types of clothing are in flux and change as per climatic considerations. We have a separate team that is proficient in the assessment of public sentiments and opinions and categorically telling us what kind of changes we need to make to deliver according to the suitability of the customers.

As a brand that promotes gender-neutral clothing, what challenges have you faced in changing the mindset of consumers and creating a more inclusive fashion space for children?

Gender-neutral clothing is still an evasive topic in India. There is an underlying soft resistance to accepting the phenomenon. However, I must add that change is coming. There is a large section that is okay with gender-neutral clothing and also buys them for their kids. If India does not have a widespread acceptance of inclusive fashion, it does not even entirely condemn it to non-existence. A progressive change is coming in small pockets, and we hope there will be a time when gender-neutral clothing becomes a fashion statement in India.

How do you ensure that the manufacturing and supply chain processes of Earthy Tweens adhere to the highest environmental and ethical standards?

Exploitation, in any sense, is a repugnant and highly discouraged practice at Earthy Tweens. We ensure an equitable working standard at all stages of operations, whether it is production, manufacturing, or supply chain processes. We are fortunate that our workers hold us in high regard for providing a smooth and comfortable working environment, clear structure, reasonable working hours, and fair regulations that respect everyone’s needs and establish ethical standards for a harmonious workplace.

In your opinion, what role do businesses like Earthy Tweens play in promoting sustainable fashion and shifting the lifestyle industry towards a greener future?

A small step in the right direction brings powerful and significant changes. Earthy Tweens has become a flagbearer of promoting sustainable fashion, which is unique, eco-friendly, and charismatic. There is an acute shortage of knowledge among the audience that there are alternative fashion choices in the markets that are organic, natural, and free-flowing. With the creation of Earthy Tweens, we are trying to challenge the mainstream popular discourse and introduce fashion that is good for the health of your children and our environment.

What are your future plans for Earthy Tweens, and how do you envision the brand evolving in the coming years?

As per our long-term outlook, we are planning to expand Earthy Tweens into several categories such as FMCG sector and come up with healthy and organic snacking options for kids as a brand premiumisation effort. Our team is also looking to expand our lifestyle offerings and introduce a footwear line sourced out of sustainable raw materials. In a move to further territorial expansion, we will launch offline stores of Earthy Tweens in different pockets of NCR and other regions.
Interviewer: Shilpi Panjabi
Published on: 24/04/2023

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.