Fast-fashion is quickly becoming one of the biggest polluting industries in the world. Unknowingly, we have contributed to the growth of fast-fashion which is slowly killing our environment. As the world slowly gains knowledge on sustainable fashion, Manisha Rose is hoping to shed some light on the important topic to fellow Malaysians. She founded L/R, a sustainable fashion label aimed at making the world a better place. Glitz sat down with the inspirational Manisha Rose and talked about everything L/R – what the label means, the challenges, the rewards, and what you can expect in a few years!
Getting to know L/R
- Getting to know L/R
- The Ups and Downs
- The Love for Sustainability
- Looking To The Future
1. Can you tell us what L/R stands for and the inspiration behind the name?
The name actually came to be serendipitously! I knew I wanted to represent myself in the brand’s name and so I played around with things that did that, like Leo, my star sign & Rose, my middle name. Everything sounded a little too feminine and ’bohemian’ for my liking, until I tried ‘L’ & ‘R’ which sounded perfect. It doesn’t specifically stand for anything, but it depicts the contrast & mixing of feminine/masculine, yin/yang— with one not being able to exist without the other. This makes L/R a brand that’s able to experiment freely with different concepts in the future.
2. What made you want to start a sustainable fashion brand?
Well, I started getting into sustainability sometime in 2017. As I learned more, I felt a sense of responsibility in implementing these morals into my life. So I slowly stopped purchasing from fast fashion companies after learning more about them. I knew that if I wanted to start producing clothing, it had to be as responsible and transparent as I could make it. I didn’t want to contribute to unethical practices, which I myself strongly disagree with.
3. What does “sustainable fashion” mean to you?
Sustainable fashion to me is the practise of ethicality from the very beginning stages up until it reaches the hands of the consumer. Sustainable fashion isn’t only about the clothes, but rather the entire process. Fair wages, equal treatment, safe working conditions, down to diversity, representation, inclusivity…the list goes on. Though some may argue and say they don’t fall into the ‘sustainable’ spectrum, I think the word represents so much more than just the clothes.
4. Do you mind taking us through the production process from start to finish?
Sure! A typical process for me would be to firstly gain some inspiration. Ideas typically come randomly so I’ll always have a piece of paper and a pen with me. I sketch out the idea— depicting the flow, fabric and any specific measurements of the piece. I send it over to my team in Australia & we work out the details, confirming its functionality. Then come the tech packs. They are basically blueprints of the garment to send over to the factory, with every detail and measurement of the piece stated. After that comes fabric sampling which is loads of fun but I can be so indecisive! This part is crucial as fabrics can make or break the idea. Once this is done, the sampling process begins…up until we get the finished, perfected, dream piece!
The Ups and Downs
5. What are the challenges you’ve faced when running a sustainable fashion business?
I would say one of the hardest things is for people to understand why the pieces are priced the way they are. There is more concern surrounding pricing & customers tend to question it a lot more. I don’t blame them as L/R is a bit on the pricier side in comparison to other local brands. I have found this to be a struggle especially since we’re priced in USD.
6. How about the rewards? Can you tell us a significant positive moment/experience?
Apart from moments like these which I’m so grateful for!— I get extremely happy when I hear from customers, stylists, or even other brands that they love what L/R stands for. It’s always very flattering when anyone is interested in working with us as we’re still a small & growing brand. Our brand principles are very important & so it’s nice when someone relates, feels represented or is inspired by what we put out.
The Love for Sustainability
7. What is your favourite piece(s) from L/R and why?
Too hard! My favourite pieces would be The Sign top & February Pants. The top because it’s reversible & I love bringing in on trips with me, it’s like having 2 tops in one. And February because pants are always shorter on me & these drape beautifully and bunch up at the bottom which I love. Call me biased but I really do love each piece!
8. Apart from your own, do you have any other favourite sustainable fashion brands? Why do you love them?
Definitely. I absolutely love Djerf Avenue, they don’t market as being particularly sustainable but their efforts are amazing & so is the quality. Another would be a local brand, Realm. Not sure if they still produce pieces but whatever I have from them I adore.
Looking To The Future
9. Will L/R be dropping any new collections? If yes, can you give us an insight into it?
For sure, my sketch book is filled to the brim! Future collections will be more fun, colourful, experimental, all while maintaining wearability & functionality. I learned a lot about fabrics & fit during the first collection so I can’t wait to hopefully improve with each one, plus share the duality of the brand. Stay tuned.
10. What is your hope for the future of L/R?
I hope to expand our size range, inclusivity as well as improve our sustainability efforts each year. We are always striving to do better everyday. Perhaps also a concept store that would bring the brand to life. I also am crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to see L/R on a few people I admire, perhaps even have our muse be a brand ambassador! That would be a dream come true.
For more information on L/R, click here to check out the website!