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Interview with Rachna Sarup

Rachna Sarup
Rachna Sarup
CEO & Founder
B77 TechStyles Pvt Ltd
B77 TechStyles Pvt Ltd

Innovative technology is a cornerstone of our approach at B77
B77 is dedicated to being ‘Consciously Styled for Life’ and aims to break the myth that slow fashion is boring. It integrates design technology from start to finish, reducing wastage by over 72 per cent and maintaining a product return rate of less than 6 per cent, far surpassing the industry standard. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, CEO & Founder Rachna Sarup discusses seamlessly integrating technology with sustainability.

Can you discuss the role of technological advancements in promoting sustainability within the fashion sector?

Technology plays a pivotal role in steering the fashion industry towards sustainability by facilitating a transition from non-biodegradable to biodegradable materials in production. The ongoing digital transformation enables fashion companies to enhance their overall operations, streamline supply chains, and improve inventory management, leading to increased efficiency and reduced environmental impact. This technological evolution also accelerates production speeds, contributing to a more responsive and sustainable industry. A particularly noteworthy application is the utilisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict fashion trends., AI enables fashion companies to stay ahead of evolving consumer preferences, creating a more dynamic and adaptive market.
The intersection of fashion and technology represents a captivating fusion of two seemingly distinct yet intricately interconnected realms.

In your opinion, what impact does sustainable fashion has on traditional garment manufacturing communities, both locally and globally?

Sustainable fashion has the potential to positively impact traditional garment manufacturing communities by creating economic opportunities, preserving cultural heritage, promoting environmental sustainability, and fostering social empowerment. However, a thoughtful and inclusive approach is crucial to ensure that the transition to sustainability is fair, equitable, and mutually beneficial.

What do you believe are the most significant opportunities for innovation in sustainable fashion in the coming years?

Indeed, the integration of AI and blockchain technologies holds immense potential for revolutionising the fashion industry, fostering a more sustainable end-to-end retail model. Technologies offer the capability to trace every step of the value chain, providing transparency from raw material sourcing to shipping. AI can be employed to optimise various aspects of the supply chain, demand forecasting, inventory management, and production planning. Technological integration is pivotal in shaping a more responsible and environmentally conscious future for the fashion industry.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting B77 TechStyles Pvt Ltd and the journey so far?

B77 was born out of a profound realisation and a deep-seated fear of the consequences that tomorrow may hold. My awakening came during the COVID-19 pandemic, as I delved into documentaries that exposed the alarming extent of environmental damage caused by the apparel industry – the second-largest polluter globally. Having been a part of this industry for over two decades, I felt an urgent need to create a space that not only acknowledges this menace but also empowers consumers to make a change in their wardrobes. After a thorough market analysis, it became evident that change must happen without disrupting the consumer’s daily lifestyle. The solution was clear – we needed to offer sustainable fashion without compromising on durability, style, and comfort. This realisation led us to integrate 3D technology into our designs, addressing the challenge of fitment and ensuring a seamless transition to a more sustainable wardrobe.
It is truly heartening to see the positive trajectory of our journey with B77. The affirmation that we are in the right space and actively addressing a critical problem within the industry is both gratifying and motivating. The validation of our collections further reinforces the belief that sustainable fashion can be a viable and desirable choice for consumers.

What sets B77 apart from other fashion brands in terms of sustainability and innovation?

B77 takes pride in seamlessly integrating technology with sustainability, crafting fashion that is not only functional but also purposeful, without sacrificing style and fitting. Our commitment to environmental consciousness is deeply rooted in the innovative technologies we employ, aimed at minimising wastage and optimising resources throughout the entire production process.

What are the key sustainable fabrics used in your collections, and what makes them unique?

B77 proudly stands as a pioneer in incorporating cutting-edge sustainable materials into our collections, some of these specially created for us. 
1. Himgra Fabric: A revolutionary natural hollow fibre derived from wild perennial Himalayan grass. 
2. Ecri Silk: Also known as peace silk, it is cultivated in a cruelty-free manner that ensures the well-being of silkworms. It is blended with cotton.
3. Bamboo Merino: Our blend of wool sourced from the Himalayan goat, known for its exceptional softness and fineness, combined with bamboo yarn.

Could you share some insights into the production journey of your garments, from design to delivery?

The key stages from design to delivery are: Design and Conceptualisation, Material Selection and Sourcing, Pattern Making and Prototyping, 3D Technology for Fitting, Third-Party ESG Rating, Production with Minimal Waste, and lastly Packaging and Delivery. In addition, we also carry out AI-based marketing initiatives.
By meticulously navigating each stage of the production journey, B77 strives to create fashion that seamlessly blends style, functionality, and sustainability while prioritising a positive experience for our customers.

How do you address the challenge of sizing and fit in online shopping through your 3D Virtual Trial Room technology?

B77 takes pride in being the trailblazer in introducing the revolutionary 3D trial room technology, offering a virtual fitting experience like never before. Our cutting-edge system incorporates heat mapping technology, providing users with an authentic feel of each garment. This innovative feature empowers you to make informed decisions, allowing you to choose the fit that suits your preferences. The simplicity is remarkable – in just four easy steps, you can achieve a perfect fit, all from the comfort of your own room.

What measures do you take to minimise waste in your production process, and how do you handle garment scraps?

B77 is dedicated to minimising environmental impact at every stage of our production process through the strategic integration of technology. From the initial design phase in 3D, we aim to reduce excess production and the need for extensive sampling. Our commitment extends to the use of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for pattern creation, ensuring precision and efficiency while minimising paper waste.
The approach to fabric layering utilises technology to minimise wastage during the cutting process. By employing innovative methods and embracing technology throughout our production cycle, we strive to be at the forefront of sustainable and responsible fashion.

Can you discuss the impact of your Circular Fashion approach on reducing environmental footprint and promoting sustainability?

B77’s Circular Fashion approach has a substantial impact on reducing environmental footprint and promoting sustainability across the fashion industry. Some key aspects are: Resource Optimisation, Reduced Waste, Ethical Sourcing and Production, Consumer Awareness, and Innovation in Materials and Design.

How do you ensure transparency and traceability in your supply chain, particularly regarding material sourcing?

Genuineness and transparency are core values at B77, driving us to take tangible steps towards accountability and sustainability. To ensure the utmost transparency, we have initiated third-party audits and evaluations of all styles across our collections, assessing our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standing.
This comprehensive evaluation involves meticulous supply chain tracking, thorough process analysis, and final product testing and evaluation. Our commitment to transparency extends to obtaining certifications for our fabrics, collaborating with compliant factories, and actively supporting the livelihoods of artisans and women.
At B77, we believe in not just making promises but demonstrating our dedication to responsible practices through verifiable actions.

What are your future plans and goals for B77 in terms of sustainability, innovation, and growth?

B77 TechStyles, as our name suggests, envisions a future where technology is at the forefront of the fashion industry. Our commitment is reflected in the creation of a customised website that not only embodies our brand identity but also emphasises the use of technology to foster sustainability in materials and processes. Innovative technology is already a cornerstone of our approach at B77, specifically in addressing the fitting challenge. By leveraging revolutionary technology, we not only enhance the overall customer experience but also significantly reduce returns, contributing to a reduction in careless landfills. As part of our forward-thinking strategy, we are embarking on AI-based marketing initiatives, staying at the cutting edge of digital engagement in the fashion realm. Looking ahead, we aspire to extend our presence into the metaverse, envisioning a unique store experience that transcends the traditional boundaries of brick-and-mortar establishments.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in implementing sustainable practices in the fashion industry, and how can companies navigate these challenges?

In the realm of sustainable fashion, the supply chain poses one of the most significant challenges, including issues such as the cost of raw materials, excess inventory, and concerns about poor working conditions. At B77, we recognise these challenges and have seamlessly integrated technology throughout our entire process, from design and pattern making to production and the end consumer. Our commitment to solving the excess inventory problem involves the implementation of a just-in-time model, enabled by our technology-driven approach. This model not only helps control costs but also provides the flexibility to scale our production efficiently. By strategically incorporating technology, we aim to streamline our supply chain, minimising waste, reducing the environmental impact, and ensuring a more sustainable and ethical production process.

How important is transparency in the supply chain for brands aiming to be circular, and what steps can companies take to improve transparency?

The term ‘sustainability’ has seen widespread use, and in some cases, misuse. Recognising this, it becomes imperative for us to make a conscious effort towards complete transparency about our products. At B77, we understand the importance of building trust with our consumers. To ensure clarity and assurance, we have taken the proactive step of obtaining a third-party ESG rating for our products. This external assessment not only validates our commitment to sustainability but also provides our customers with tangible evidence of the measures we have taken to align with environmentally and socially responsible practices. 
At B77, transparency is not just a buzzword; it is a commitment woven into the fabric of our brand, ensuring that our customers have the confidence and knowledge to support a fashion brand that values both style and responsibility.
Interviewer: Shilpi Panjabi
Published on: 13/03/2024

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.