Fashion for All – The New Indian Express

Express press service

KOCHI: Sustainable fashion is the motto of Nazreen Najeeb’s Rui brand. Dyed with natural pigments, entirely woven and embroidered by hand, everything the young designer is in touch with herself. Every Rui offering, from headbands to caftans, has an ingrained politics.

In addition to being environmentally conscious, right from the production and design process, “one size should fit all” is one of the dominant themes of its collection. Nazreen brings together weavers from artisan groups that are rapidly disappearing from the industry, to keep the craft alive.

Her journey began during the pandemic. “I then quit my job. I knew I might end up out of work, but I wanted to do more. Browsing through social media, I saw pictures of lots of babies. So I thought why not do something for them,” she recalls. She started by designing baby hair accessories like bows and headbands.

“I made sure that the products were made of high quality materials and that no chemical dyes were used. I started early in the morning and embroidered. I enjoyed the process and even now I make them myself,” says Nazreen. Its range of hair accessories goes under the Rui Cares label, which also offers hair accessories for adults.

When the brand was about to turn a year old, Nazreen also thought about launching clothes. “I have always been in love with artisans from India and wanted to work with them. When I started the clothing brand, I connected with artisan groups that are slowly disappearing,” says Nazreen.

The saris and caftans offered under “Ori by Rui” are made from natural dyes and are woven by hand. “I was always worried when the size of my clothes changed. And I’m not the only one in this case. So, I was adamant that Rui’s products will only wear one size and adhere to sustainable fashion,” says Nazreen.

She enlisted artisans from Chanderi cluster in Madhya Pradesh, Purulia in West Bengal, Bihar Sharif in Nalanda and so on into her business. “As we only use natural pigments, our products come in earthy tones. Garments are available in shades of blue, brown and red. We use turmeric, coffee, tea, sunflower, marigold to get the natural shades,” she says.

Nazreen says the fashion industry is one of the contributors to environmental pollution and she intends to make sure her brand is sustainable. “Our collections will last for years. I will design products that can be brought by anyone,” says Nazreen.

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