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Interview with Mehma Singh

Mehma Singh
Mehma Singh

Every single aspect of our garment is eco-friendly and biodegradable
Reistor was created because of the compelling need for incorporating sustainability into every aspect of fashion – from sourcing to selling. Representing minimalistic fashion that is timeless and transformative, Reistor focuses on reducing environmental impact by using sustainable fabrics like hemp, biodegradable trims and home compostable packaging. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, Co-founder Mehma Singh talks about the motivation and challenges of being a sustainable and conscious brand.

How did Reistor come about?

My brother Harjas and I founded Reistor out of a necessity inspired passion. We are a fourth-generation textile and fashion entrepreneurs, who like many others, faced an industry-shattering slump last year. We started re-evaluating our work and what we wanted to do. We slowly realised that the most significant change we want to make was in the way we do business. Being a part of this industry, we have a front row seat to how the fashion and textile industry functions and the negative impact it has on our planet. We knew that we had to start doing things differently, not only in terms of raw materials and fabrics but also the production processes. Reistor has truly been a journey of labour and love. Our great grandparents were cotton and silk traders when they moved to India seven decades ago. Then there was a slow shifted from natural to synthetic materials as trends changed and polyester gained popularity (in the 80s) Now we are back to where the family started with an emphasis on natural fabrics and sustainably sourced raw materials. It’s like we’ve come full circle.

What was the motivation behind starting your brand?

Learning more about the alternative ways of working within the fashion industry was a big eye-opener for us. We started experimenting with more sustainable fabrics, changing the way we designed and manufactured clothes, while also learning more about the environmental effects of pollution and waste.

How mature is the Indian market when it comes to conscious clothing?

It’s still very nascent. There are a lot of exciting conscious clothing and lifestyle brands coming up in India and we’re so honoured to be part of this movement.

Can you give us a little insight about the demography and psyche of your clientele?

Women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Especially those who enjoy classic, timeless fashion and are interested in conscious, handcrafted fashion. We have designs that you can wear to work, at home, while travelling, or even on a night out. So, these appeal to a wide demographic.

What kind of fabrics and artisans/weavers do you work with?

We work with an NGO called Srujna in Mumbai where we’ve bought sewing machines and hired trainers to upskill women from underprivileged communities. The goal is to provide these women with the skills and support system they need to be financially independent. Currently one out of every three Reistor garments is made by a woman at Srujna.

Which are your major markets in India and abroad?

We ship worldwide so we have clients from all over, but our largest market is the US. In India, we cater primarily to larger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai.

What are the challenges in being a sustainable and conscious brand in India?

India is an incredibly price conscious market. So, when you choose to use fabrics that are more expensive, you immediately price yourself above the competition. We’ve tried to ensure that every single aspect of our garment is eco-friendly and biodegradable. We don’t use zips or plastic anywhere on our garments. We’ve had to source things like biodegradable elastic which costs 7x the price of regular elastic and somehow absorb those costs without alienating our customers.

Do you plan to get into physical stores soon?

We currently retail almost exclusively online but do stock at various Taj Hotel locations across the country, as well as a few multi-designer stores like Paperboat in Goa. We are a very new business and maybe one day we will open a flagship store.

Which new product categories do you plan to add?

We have been getting a lot of requests for men’s clothing in hemp and would love to explore the eco-friendly home products as well. For now, our focus is women’s apparel.

What is your inspiration for the next collection?

We love to look to nature for inspiration and the latest collection is all about the changing of the seasons. So, we are focusing on autumn and spring, which we feel are both about renewal and a cycle of recharging. You’ll find our signature flowy designs, relaxed silhouettes, comfy separates, and lots of soft, eco-friendly fabrics.

What kinds of fabrics, colours and patterns will be used?

We will be using a mix of Bemberg yarn and hemp fabric to create a collection with muted floral prints. We’ve taken inspiration from colours of the earth. So, you’ll see some browns, greens, blues and lighter neutrals.

What are the offerings of your new collection and who will be your target?

Our audience always remains the same, women who care about the environment but also about high quality, comfortable fashion. With our latest collection, we’ve also done a lot more dresses which we feel are versatile across occasions, which can take a woman from day to night with ease.
Published on: 15/09/2022

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.