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Rose Soma aims to reduce waste in the textile industry by selling reconstructive clothing made of recycled materials. Rose Soma's online shop also includes fine art, stickers, and masks made from reconstructed materials. Rose Soma aims to help achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 5 (Gender Equality); SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities); SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production); and SDG 17 (Partnerships For The Goals).
Today 1 in 2 people are throwing their unwanted clothes away in the trash. As a result, 64% of the 32 billion garments produced each year end up in landfills. Furthermore, the average consumer purchases 60% more clothing today compared to two decades ago, yet clothing is kept only half as long. Staying true to her design philosophy, Rose Soma only uses secondhand fabrics to create each line every season.
Every garment is cut and hand sewed by Rose Soma herself. With Rose Soma creating value in recycled pieces, many of the good fabrics that go to waste can be used again. Her online site features a ready-to-wear collection, fine art, stickers, and masks for the pandemic. Each piece is sustainable and features materials such as recycled t-shirt yarns, reused plastics, metals , and fabric scraps.
Prior to 2017, Rose was just like any other student pursuing fashion design at Western Michigan University and would randomly engage in some custom artwork, custom skateboard decks and some stickers just as a means of perfecting her artistic skills. However, in 2017, a friend approached Rose and asked for a custom reconstructed flannel piece.
Rose would later post the piece online and attention followed. She realized that something that she did as small as custom artwork for friends could expand to become a business. Later that year, Rose launched her self-titled business "Rose Soma LLC" and saw profits that very first year. Rose Soma stated that she "wants to add value to existing clothing" and help get rid of the stigma of the wasteful textile industry. Sustainability is always in mind with every piece she creates.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Rose noticed a shortage of masks and took it upon herself to create masks from recycled materials. Her masks immediately attracted attention from consumers. For each mask Rose sold through her online shop, a mask would be donated to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo Mi. As of today, over 600 masks have been donated to Bronson Hospital.
Rose Soma LLC has already had impact internationally and domestically. Rose partnered with the Kigezi Women & Children Health Initiative (KHI) in helping empower women and promote health education in rural Uganda.
The goal is to further develop their skills, maximize potential, and generate additional income sources for these women. Rose Soma dedicates 10% of her ready-to-wear proceeds to the women. The proceeds support the women by helping them purchase sewing machines and various workshop classes. Rose Soma dedicated a spring collection line to the Kigezi Women, naming the line " Turakka," which translates to "We are shining".
Sustainability and compassion is at the heart of Rose Soma LLC. Her goal is to always add value to existing clothing and reduce waste as much as possible. In 2018, Rose Soma formed a partnership with Big Moods LLC and generated about $300,000 in revenue within the first six months from her sticker sales alone. Rose Soma's business saw profits the very first year and all the garment pieces are made from secondhand fabrics.
Recycled fabric does cost less which increases profit. That said, time is also a "cost" and, because every piece is handmade, Rose commits considerable time and energy to the business. But, Rose adds, "partnerships such as the one in Uganda make it worth the time." The partnership with Ugandan women has created a loyal customer base for Rose. Customers are proud to purchase clothing from Rose because they know they are contributing to the life of people in Uganda.
Rose Soma LLC is a sustainable company contributing toward a zero waste environment. In a generation of fast fashion, we want new ideas, concepts, and new designs that align with the seasons. Mainstream fashion brands produce goods and new designs so fast, that many unused products simply go to waste. Rose not only wants to produce beautiful garments but also wants to help make a better future for us all.
Rose wants to open up boutiques that sell all sustainable and upcycled clothing, along with various workshops that empower women from around the world. Because of her efforts, women in rural Uganda are learning how to sew and lead a better life that is more independent than before.
Rose Soma, Founder
Rose Soma founded in 2017, creates sustainable garments from recycled materials to reduce waste.