Jane Bell.

Jane Bell is an entrepreneur from Melbourne. Dhaaga was formed after a year living in India and travelling around India and Asia and seeing the level of poverty, and environmental decay present in large cities.

Her business, Dhaaga (the Hindi word for thread), was born from a wish to bring awareness to the pollution problem in India, while also providing eco-friendly products to customers in Australia, and using fashion and business to spread the awareness of social issues. By using recycled materials such as discarded PET bottles which can be processed and turned into fabric, Jane hopes to create pieces of fashion that make a difference, while also taking design inspiration from a unity between Indian and Melbourne fashion styles.

Jane believes her involvement with the MINI Bright Rays Grant will help to bring awareness to the developing eco-friendly production methods available to designers, the ethical garment makers who can be utilised to provide fair employment in developing nations, and the environmental effects on consumption around the world.

As Jane travelled India, she pursued this idea of fashion creating change, and has made contacts with social enterprises, ethical makers and NGOs while building support for her business idea. The grant will enable her to create the first sample orders of her designs. Dhaaga’s first products will focus on creating stylish fitness wear such as active leggings, sports tops, and shorts. With the grant she will also be able to bring awareness to her brand in Australia, through marketing and initial sales of products. She hopes stock inventory quickly, and launch the product line as soon as possible and feels that valuable mentoring will help her achieve this.

In future, Jane also wants to grow Dhaaga to represent the common thread between Indian makers and Australian consumers. With her contacts in India, she wishes to eventually be able to partner with designers and makers to provide a range of accessories such as bags, jewellery, and natural fibre yoga mats, which are ethically and sustainably made in India. Her dream is to grow this brand so that people are aware of the environmental and social issues in developing nations, while showing the power fashion can have to change the world.