Ninoshka products are made of natural dyes such as indigo, pomegranate, marigold, onion peels, coconut, etc. which are earth and skin-friendly. Its founder Ninoshka Alvares-Delaney works closely with handloom weavers from across India and uses handloom fabrics such as Khadi, Malkha, Ikat, and Chanderi among others. She employs dyeing techniques such as tie and dye, bandhani and shibori, and printing methods such as Ajrakh and Kalamkari. She was always interested in fashion from a very young age and was working as a fashion designer while Ashely, her husband, had an interest in green technology. What inspired her was working with the artisans. This category of industries mainly uses traditional skills and is related to tradition, art, and culture. These industries utilize specific skills and locally available raw materials. Rural artisans get inspired by nature all around them. Although their exposure is very limited, they get inspired by things like the sky, they look up at the trees surrounding them and they get inspired by that.
Kevin M Mathew
Goa Institute of Management
Waste management in the organizations started from manufacturing till the end use.
They utilized dyeing a fabric out of the marigold flowers. So the manufacturing of fabric starts from a waste item. The circular aspect is at the end of the cycle and would be once the garment actually reaches their studio for using the thread once again to make the garment. The thread is not mixed with any kind of dirt so it's easier to use. If it gets mixed up with impurities, they wash it and again make it easier to use the thread. The same thread is then put on waste paper which again comes from used paper. The thread is spread out on paper randomly and then these are woven together to make a fresh fabric. This fabric is then used for various things like bags, shirts, dresses etc. Right from the beginning from the thread there is no wastage, hence the brand is a zero waste brand. The following 5 SDG’s are presently followed by the company. They are: Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production , Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Reduced Inequalities.
Ninoshka and Ashley, who started the company, have known each other for 17 years. When they initially met, Ninoshka was working as a fashion designer while Ashley had an interest in green technology. Working with the artisans, especially the rural artisans inspired Ms Ninoshka a lot. Rural artisans get inspired by things like the sky, trees, etc which surround them. They realized that the work they do with rural artisans was going unnoticed due to the lack of exposure. This scenario made them create an idea to do something which is profitable to them as well as the rural artisans. This idea came about 15-16 years back and they had executed it after their marriage, which led to the inspiration for the innovation of the brand Ninoshka.
It has benefitted artisans to a great extent because it has taken their limited marketing powers and given them wider opportunities to showcase their talents. It has also allowed their customers access to intricate works like embroidery which was not available to them initially. Besides giving a customer wider access to specialized work, it has enabled artisans to get a wider marketing base.
The organization does not currently derive huge profits but they have been able to break even. Just before the pandemic, in 2019, they launched their website. Going online helped them keep their sales intact during the pandemic. Also, collaborating with rural artisans has helped them come up with specialized embroidered garments which are not otherwise readily available to customers. Selling quality products like hand-made embroidered fabric to the customers not only helped them retain existing customers but also helped them capture newer markets.
The benefit to society has been two ways. Firstly, it has offered rural artisans a platform to showcase their work to potential customers. Secondly, the organization has made it easier for prospective customers to purchase hand-made specialized embroidery work.
It has benefitted small artisans because it has taken their limited marketing powers to greater heights and it has allowed their customers access to intricate work like embroidery which otherwise is not readily available to them otherwise.
Additionally, being a zero-waste company, Ninoshka as a business has succeeded in minimizing the waste generated in the environment by adopting a circular economy initiative. Through this initiative, they have reused the smallest and most basic component used in garments which is the thread. This thread is used to make bags, dresses, and shirts. They also work with a company that gets the flowers from the Siddhivinayak temple, close to a ton of flowers per day. They used these flowers to produce dyes which are then used in the initial step of the fabric manufacturing process.
Ashley Delaney, Marketing Head
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Saligao Bardez, Goa, IN
Business Website: http://ninoshka.co.in/
Year Founded: 2011
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
The brand Ninoshka is the brainchild of designer Ninoshka Alvares-Delaney, which focuses on sustainable fashion. Some of her designs are constructed in a single stitch line, while some others can be reused by wearing a garment inside-out or in multiple ways. She recycles remnant pieces of fabric to create new fabric. Ninoshka’s products aim to create social improvement and environmental awareness