Taking responsibility for our impact
Since day one, keeping our environmental impacts to a minimum has been a top priority. As individuals we are very passionate about sustainability, and have undertaken various courses and higher education on the topic. The fashion industry is one of the dirtiest industries in the world, contributing more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. We are proudly join the movement of businesses operating responsibly, trying to address the many issues caused by the industry, and providing more ethical, sustainable options for slow, conscious consumption.
As a brand we continually strive to be as holistically sustainable as possible, prioritising people and the planet over profit. We hold ourselves accountable for living up to this promise, but as a new brand we are not perfect and are constantly looking for means to improve. You can read about our social commitments here. We carefully consider, and strive to reduce, our environmental impacts in three main areas of our business operations: design, production, and logistics.
Up to two thirds of a garment’s environmental impact come from the materials and production stage, knowing this fact is what drives us to try and make rho products as environmentally-friendly as we possible.
Every rho piece is carefully designed with longevity and durability in mind, the styles and prints are intentionally trans-seasonal, trend-less and versatile, so that they can be worn any time, however and wherever you like.
We provide detailed care instructions and educational resources, such as ‘how to’ sewing videos, to encourage the proper care and prolonged lifespan of our products, thereby hoping to reduce textile waste and increase overall awareness of consumption issues and wastefulness.
We dream of being able to close the loop on our products, and are planning to incorporate a ‘take-back’ system which will enable us to repurpose unwanted items into new materials or products, in partnership with our manufacturer.
How we work
We don’t believe in seasons, sales or discounts, as they encourage mindless consumption and devalue the workmanship involved in the creation of our goods.We produce small quantity orders, and will only create more products once sold out, thus eliminating wasteful overproduction.
Our Fair Trade Manufacturer
We produce our loungewear with a trusted Fair Trade, sustainable, artisan manufacturer whose values align with our own, Mehera Shaw, based in Jaipur, India. We are so proud and grateful to work with such an incredible organisation who truly have sustainability at their core.
We do not use any products derived from animals in our products or production methods, but our products are not yet certified vegan — this is something we are looking into.
We use all natural, renewable plant-based fibres, and all our products are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard and is the current, worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres. It relies on on-site inspection and certification of all processors, manufacturers and traders involved, which is performed by independent specially accredited bodies. Every step of the production process, from the growing of the cotton to the spinning and milling of it, is all certified and every person involved is protected by the high quality GOTS environmental and social standards. The environmental standards include but are not limited to:
— No use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or GMOs which are toxic and harmful to farmers, consumers and the eco system
— Growing techniques use much less water and maintain soil fertility for longer
— End garments are free from toxic residues found in conventional cotton products
Minimising Carbon Emissions
It is important to us that the organic cotton is grown in the same country as where the items are made to minimise our carbon emissions as much as we possibly can. All of our organic cotton is grown in India and also woven and processed by Anithaa Weaving Mill Pvt. in Tamil Nadu, India. The Mill itself, and the sales branch of the company — S.S.V. Textiles Exim Private Limited, are both GOTS certified organisations.
You can read about the GOTS social standards, and other ways in which we take social responsibility in our ‘Social Commitments’ page.
Low Impact Dyes & Clean Water Projects
We use only low-impact, AZO-free dyes with no heavy-metal mordants, and hydrogen peroxide is used for fabric whitening rather than chlorine bleach. We try to keep our production waste to a minimum; we used off-cuts from our latest collection to create our Valerie eye masks, and anything remaining is donated for use within up-cycling projects run by the Mehera Road Foundation: a registered non-profit whose mission is to support sustainable artisan development projects. Click through to read more about how our fabrics are printed and how our loungewear is made.
As well as upholding and exceeding Fair Trade production standards, opting to use GOTS certified organic cotton and low-impact dyes in 95% of their manufacturing, and supporting local artisans and protecting heritage crafts of India, our wonderful supplier Mehera Shaw have also created waste water filtration and water recycling system. “The artisan-friendly ETP system removes the dye residue, meaning we can recycle the wash water and reuse it for fabric washing. Combined with a rainwater catchment system, we can expect to reduce our water use by up to 80 percent.” (Mehera Shaw, 2020) For more information please visit their campaign page: Clean Water 4 Artisans.
We are determined to avoid plastic at all costs, from our garment production to our logistics, so for our packaging materials we currently use the following:
— Kraft paper mail bags from Lil Packaging printed using plant based inks
— Recycled tissue paper
— Compostable paper raffia ribbon
— noissue FSC certified paper stickers printed with soy ink
— FSC certified paper 'Thank You' slips printed by the lovely eco-friendly Ashley House, using vegan friendly compostable inks.
We currently send out all orders via Royal Mail, but are working to introduce carbon positive shipping options for our customers in the near future. We hope that as we grow we can improve these packaging materials, and reduce our remaining environmental impacts further, but we think this is a pretty good start!