July 22 2022
RIMMBA began when we fell in love with botanical dyes in Sumba 5 years ago. The idea is to create long-lasting garments with non-toxic dyes and sustainable fabrics that have a place in the natural world once their life cycles end. We want to celebrate the feminine figure through our pieces while breaking new ground with actions that champion our people and home. We believe slow fashion is beautiful.
For us to do our part as an ethical clothing brand, transparency really matters. In fashion, it means fully communicating your business policies and practices and the impacts they have on the environment, community, and workers. It’s also about the outcomes — do they match their sustainability promises? If so, to what extent?
As Fashion Revolution puts it, transparency isn’t radical but it is necessary for real change. Some may argue that it’s impossible to talk about fair and sustainable fashion without transparency, for it makes no room for exploitation to hide.
Many people are unaware of how small RIMMBA actually is. We are a tight-knit community who strives towards diligence in carrying out our ethical and sustainable commitments as a clothing brand. So, when you buy RIMMBA, you know every step is traceable.
We can tell you exactly where our materials are sourced from (we love our natural silks from India and China). We know, up-close and personal, the people who design, tailor, and dye your clothes (shout out to Ibu Meling, Ibu Fanny and Pak Risky). We know their children can go to school because RIMMBA supports them with safe, fair, and healthy working conditions. We celebrate birthdays together!
You can feel the heart and soul our team members invest in from the standard and quality they uphold— each one excels at their craft and continues to be an inspiration to us. We put the workers throughout our supply chain first because if they rise, we rise.
And of course, every single one of us carefully monitors our waste management system. Meaning, we are aware of the waste we produce and where our waste is being discarded, or up-cycled where necessary.
Having worked with local artisans for 5 years now, we can safely say they operate with a closed-loop water-recycling system. CV Tarum and Pagi Motley, amazing eco-friendly factories in East and North Bali, who helps us produce our colors, discards very little wastewater. Instead, it is collected and filtered through a pond of water hyacinths, after which it is clean enough to be used again. We work closely with them. We also want to give a shout out to Threads of Life who have become our teachers throughout the years and all share the vision and mission of preserving botanical heritage of Indonesia and beyond.
Not only is fashion the second most water-intensive industry in the world (consuming up to 8 billion cubic meters per year while 2.7 billion people are experiencing water scarcity), textile manufacturing is also responsible for 20% of global water pollution.
Industrial dyes have devastated our waterways for far too long. Three rivers in Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka were declared biologically dead in 2019 due to toxic substances from surrounding garment factories.
Over 1000 textile factories (some said to be affiliated with fast fashion giants such as GAP and H&M) dump tons of toxic waste into the Citarum River in West Java, now believed to be the dirtiest river in the world. The river is notorious for turning red, green, yellow and black from time to time because of the high concentration of dyes.
What we may fail to see is when we pollute the world’s water, we put at risk the local people who rely on clean supply to live. And when the contamination reaches the sea, it spreads around the globe and poses a serious health risk at a much larger scale. Not to mention the biodiversity that goes out of balance.
Upon learning just how beautiful and eco-friendly plant-based pigments are, we realize how our passion has given us a purpose— a role to fill in the fashion world if you will. We exclusively go for organic sustainable fabrics that can biodegrade; and every thread in our collection are organic cotton and are dyed using botanical materials like roots, leaves, bark, fruits and flowers. Natural dye is wholly organic and its wastewater poses no danger to plants, animals, nor human hands.
However, natural dye is sensitive to sunlight and when exposed for a long period, in cases such as store-front displays, can end in damage or discoloration. As we are open to world-wide wholesale, there are many risk factors that follow. We cannot guarantee the longevity of the botanical color therefore only offer low-impact dyes (OEKO-TEX 100) for wholesales. OEKO-TEX 100 dyes are strictly certified, non-toxic dyes for humans.
Sustainability isn’t perfect, but we do our best with what we can and what is available in front of us.
Our food waste at home, such as onion skins ends up in our Atelier to be used as natural dye. Dead stock fabrics are up-cycled into gorgeous scrunchies and eye masks; or to be stuffed in pillows and donated to orphanages in Denpasar. We always look for ways to give a second life to everything we use, even the conventionally unwanted ones. We also like to do our part in pledging to minimum waste packaging— so much that our customers couldn’t ever jump on TikTok’s ‘unboxing’ trend with our items.
Lastly, our customers. We put you at the heart of everything we do.
Every RIMMBA item is unique because each one can be tailor-made for you. We always make sure your measurements are correct prior to production. A lot of our customers also visit the Atelier with their own ideas in mind; and we love it when you want to be a part of our journey, too. Many of their designs have become RIMMBA’s tried-and-true staples.
We truly prioritize communication with you to maintain good customer relations (Kadek Eva our assistant knows everyone on a first-name basis!) but also to provide transparency from all corners of RIMMBA as an ethical and sustainable clothing brand. We are all here playing a role to make this planet a better place. And we cannot thank you enough for the endless support.
Big love to all of you. Support our little family and follow our journey on Instagram.