Sustainable Fashion, Comfortable Way – As Light As Ruui

Ruui, an award-winning textile startup that focuses on sustainable fashion and apparel made from pure cotton, is the brainchild of Ridhika Jain, a textile designer-turned-entrepreneur. In a candid conversation with Sruthi Bhat, Ms Jain shared her story for the #Volocals Campaign.

A design graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Ridhika Jain has always been passionate about fashion.

“When I was in 3rd Grade, my teacher asked me what I’ve wanted to become, and I answered ‘Fashion Designer’,” recalls Ridhika. “As I grew older, a lot of people encouraged me to pursue architecture or science. My parents, however, were very supportive and always let me decide for myself right from my high school stream. I took up marketing and did crash courses on portfolios, prepared for the entrance, and later pursued my passion for fashion in NIFT Chennai,” she adds.

Around her 3rd year, Ridhika decided her passion was more inclined towards crafts, artisans, textiles, textures, and more, rather than just fashion designing and pursued those as well. She then went on to create an embroidered home furnishings project that won her the award for the best graduation project. After attaining her Bachelor’s degree, Ridhika began to work at a well-known home furnishings company that served esteemed clientele. The pay was comfortable for a beginner as well. However, something seemed amiss.

“At some point, I felt like, I was getting very comfortable with the job and that’s when I decided I can’t let that passion die out just because this job pays me well. I gave it up, and just 1.5 months later Ruui came into existence,” she says.

After saving up enough money to fund her venture, Ridhika began ‘Ruui’ which translates to cotton in Hindi. The startup, which was a one-woman show until a few months back, has now expanded to include a master weaver, a few tailors, and someone to take care of its e-commerce and packaging needs as well.

“We also hire freelancers when we need to, like to photograph the garments and more,” she added.

Ridhika went on to showcase her collection at the Asian Designer week in 2019 and was awarded the title of the best sustainable collection there.

“I couldn’t believe it myself because it was my first ever step into the industry, and it just gave much confidence in building Ruui,” she says.

When asked whether she had ever feared to take the step into entrepreneurship, Ridhika talked about how she has been helping out at her mother’s boutique since she’d been young.

“My mother owns a ready-made women’s wear boutique, which was passed on to my two elder sisters who handled it very well. On weekends I would also contribute to sales and other aspects, so the idea of entrepreneurship was never scary for me,” she says. “I wasn’t going to anyway be in the job all my life. I knew I wanted to be my boss one day,” she adds.

When asked about her plans, the entrepreneur replies that she looks forward to expanding her business and one day hopes to feature her collection in shows like Lakme Fashion Week, under the sustainability section.

Like several other e-commerce businesses, Ruui has seen it’s fair share of problems with the lockdown as well.

“We’re unable to have any work going on at a regular pace due to the continuous lockdowns,” she said and spoke about how the artisan and weaving community has been affected as well.

“The fall of incoming material has been drastic for all of us. But we’re trying our best to keep them and the craft alive. We have done various campaigns, and the proceeds from those sales have been donated to the weaver’s society directly,” she said.

Check out Ruui’s official Instagram page here to get a glimpse of their latest designs.

Share your business stories with us by sending an e-mail to [email protected] and stand a chance to be featured on our campaign.

Anupama A.

A freelance writer and journalist-in-the-making who is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication and Media Studies

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