By Prataya Sarkar
LoveChange®, a sustainable luxury clothing brand, thriving in the fashion industry using eco-friendly and sustainable methods, manufacture its products using organic, ethically sourced fabrics dyed using natural-herbal dyes. The firm started its operations in the year 2018 in Goa. The entire LoveChange® team is built in Goa and consists primarily of people living within Goa. At the helm of affairs of this unique venture is its founder Dhirta Rikhye. Dhirta, who also serves as the creative director and head designer of LoveChange®, is a trained jewelry designer.
A Delhi-ite by birth, she moved to Goa in 2015 in search of inspiration, a clean environment, and a genuine human experience. She was happy to find an abundance of all these things. More importantly, the love and support from the Goan community have been uplifting to her. She lives in Porvorim – home to her and her design studio.
The Inspiration Behind Starting LoveChange®
Dhirta started her career at the age of twenty-two. She has worked for over fifteen years in various design and export houses in and around Delhi. During her career, she noticed the devastating impact fast fashion and the entire fashion industry, in general, have had on the local ecology and the environment. An extensive study of the fashion world by Dhirta led her to observe some dark facts about the fashion industry, especially how harmful the fashion industry is to the planet.
She saw that the fashion industry indulges in wasteful and ecologically harmful practices. She says, “The more I worked, the more I felt drawn to the cause of helping my planet and doing my part in the best way I knew how. I reached a point one day where I had to quit my job. I had begun to read up on sustainability and sustainable practices in fashion and quitting my nine-to-five gave me the time to really dive deep into research and learning.”
She dedicated two years to studying sustainable fashion and sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Dhirta believed that she could bring about a change by establishing a sustainable luxury fashion brand. She founded LoveChange® in 2017.
The Story Behind the name LoveChange®
“The name: “LoveChange®” is unique, as is the story behind it,” she explains: “Change gains value as the result of the pursuit of a purpose. To fully pursue any purpose, one must first fall in love with it; only then does pursuing a purpose bring about positive and lasting change”.
“Our purpose is the pursuit of sustainable business practices by promoting conscious consumerism and conscious capitalism. We lead through a positive attitude toward the fashion business, the environment, and the community. The more we grow, the greater our impact will be.” With this purpose driving her, Dhirta aims to build LoveChange® into a fashion empire that gives back to its stakeholders, the environment, and the community equally.
Sustainable Practices Followed At LoveChange®
LoveChange® prides itself on the fact that they follow practices that are ethical and sustainable. The materials they use to manufacture their products are certified hand-made, eco-friendly, sustainable, naturally dyed, and chemical-free. The designs are produced in small batches, helping prevent overconsumption and unnecessary wastage. Their packaging bags are made from upcycled fabric, thus keeping up with their policy of minimum-to-zero wastage. The dyes used in manufacturing LoveChange® products are 100% natural and Azo-free. No harmful chemicals are used in their fabric dyes, thus ensuring zero contamination of the soil and water bodies.
“The traditional factory model invariably leads to exploitation. Tailors and workers work long hours in unhygienic and harmful conditions, usually living away from their families. At LoveChange®, we consciously work to ensure that all our tailors, farmers, and other employees associated with us are happy, earning fair wages, working in favourable conditions, and comfortable space”, says Dhirta.
All the products of LoveChange® are hand-made. The fabrics are hand-woven in Indian villages on traditional handlooms by traditional Indian artisans. The farmers from whom they source their raw materials follow traditional, slow, eco-friendly farming practices that replenish the soil after every harvest and maintain its fertility.
LoveChange® presently focuses on women’s resort wear, children’s clothing, handmade jewelry, and home accessories. What makes them unique is their design element and how those designs are brought to life. Presently, they are working closely with two boutiques in North Goa- ‘Adhvan’ in Assagao, located on the Mapusa-Anjuna road, and ‘The PaperBoat Collective’ in Sangolda. Their products are available online on their website www.lovechange.in along with many other online boutiques, both in India and overseas.
LoveChange® is part of a unique program called ‘reLove’ where people can buy and sell preloved garments from LoveChange®. If a person who has purchased a product from LoveChange® no longer wishes to use it, he can put it up for sale on the LoveChange® website.
Similarly, a person can purchase a pre-loved product from LoveChange® that has been listed for sale on the LoveChange® website by another person. This program helps a person cut their carbon footprint. Each garment resold saves six times its weight in carbon dioxide. “The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions,” says Dhirta.
“As for the future, the plan is to grow!” says Dhirta. She is happy with the response that LoveChange® has received. Having seen a 200% growth in revenue year-on-year consistently since 2019, LoveChange® has expanded to Bangalore and New Delhi within India and to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East.
They intend to expand as quickly and as far as possible while keeping their ethos of conscious business practices, sustainable luxury, and timeless designs intact.
For more information about this unique sustainable brand, follow them on:
Facebook: @Love Change
Or, visit their online store at www.lovechange.in