A sustainability leadership journey..

I had decided to launch a fashion business at the age of 23 with the idea in mind of not re-defining fashion but re-defining how it was made.

This is how Rakha’s journey started back in 2010. At the time I knew almost nothing about sustainability however, I knew that I did not want to make clothes from synthetic or low quality fabrics. I was keen on the idea of creating clothes made out of natural and environmentally friendly materials that were high quality but also affordable.

After few years, as the business grew, I realised that subconsciously I was drawn into the fast fashion culture, creating new collections every month, with insufficient focus on sustainability and durability. As a result, my initial idea of starting a sustainable fashion business almost vanished. At this point I had taken a decision to stop trading, with the aim of relaunching Rakha as a truly sustainable brand. Of course from a purely business perspective this was not a wise decision. This was my (Rakha’s) turning point, and the start of a long sustainability journey, with the ultimate aim of making Rakha a completely sustainable women’s wear brand.

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Currently Rakha brand creates collections made from approximately 80% bio-degradable and %20 recycled, and all certified materials.

Continuing my journey at CISL my goal is to find out how I can reduce the use of raw materials in Rakha’s supply chain thus reducing its reliability on natural resources. Even though all materials used by Rakha are sustainable, there is a great deal more to be done in order to make improvements needed to achieve a complete closed loop supply chain. From a different perspective, at the start of my sustainable fashion journey four years ago, a majority of customers did not care about where the materials were sourced from, how the garments were created, or the wider social and environmental impacts of these processes. With an increasing interest in and awareness of sustainable fashion a growing number of people are making a conscious effort to avoid fast fashion. However, this is still not the mass market and in my view there is also a great deal of marketing and communication that needs to be done.

While Rakha’s biggest challenge is to reduce the use of its raw materials usage by 50% within a 2 year period, by using biodegradable recycled materials, the challenge of communicating this to the mass market still remains. Achieving this 2 year target while growing Rakha’s customer base will be the key measure of my success.

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