Who to Know in RVA: Love This
If there is one local Richmond shop to know and watch, it's Love This. Selling out of a vintage airstream, the mobile boutique is doing incredible things to support ethical + sustainable fashion. Not only that, but the shop owner and manager, Rupa, works hard to raise awareness about the impacts of our purchases and how supporting goods that do good can change consumer habits. Her mission with Love This is to support doing good with our purchases as well as highlighting design and brands that have incredible social, environmental, and economic impact.
I was lucky to get to know Rupa over the past few months and and ask her a few questions about ethical fashion, the airstream boutique, and Richmond. Check it out below:
1. How did you become interested in responsibly made product and the ethical fashion industry?
I moved to Richmond in 2008, I had just gotten married and I couldn’t find a job in my field which was Architecture because the economy tanked. I had no job, no friends, no family and no car so my husband suggested I walk over to Carytown and spend some time at Ten Thousand Villages because he knew my nature was to be drawn to - things that mattered, things that made a difference-. Once there I realized there was a movement behind caring for where your products came from and I absorbed all there is to know about Fair Trade and it felt so a part of who I was and I was hooked.
2. What inspired you to begin your shop in your airstream?
There were so many brands out there that were making beautifully designed ethically made products, but there wasn’t a physical location in Richmond to see/touch/experience them. Also, my network of friends and I are socially minded and we wanted to shop with purpose but didn’t have a place to go to find contemporary/modern/minimal designs that were competitive to the traditional marketplace.
3. What brands do you carry? Do you have a favorite?
What started with just 5 brands has grown to almost 20!
Goods that Matter
Hand in Hand
Link of Hearts
Speak Your Silence
Raven and Lily
One Little World
Imani + Kids
Oh man that is super hard, not something I can answer easily. I will say that I wear Sseko boots and carry one of their bags that I used to use as my diaper bag on a daily basis:) But I just got a shipment from Kara Weaves of textiles that are so soft and beautiful!!
4. What’s been the biggest challenge in working with ethically sourced product?
The biggest challenge is also the most rewarding, and it’s having to share/educate/make aware to the consumer the value of their products and the process it goes through to get to them.
5. What is one thing you’d like people to know about the ethical fashion industry?
That they play such a huge part in it! Their choices matter, they have huge purchasing power. If every person decided to shop brands that were ethically made, that would disturb the traditional marketplace so much so that things would change. The industry would have to place value in people and the planet and maybe one day there will so such thing as ethical fashion, it would just be fashion.
6. What’s one thing you want people to know about you?
I’ve got a ambitious husband, two silly loveable girls, and a supportive family that is behind Love This. I believe in what Love This stands for and I live those values and share them, but I am not perfect in all my choices and that’s okay because it’s about knowing you have a choice.
7. What’s your favorite thing about RVA?
The community! It’s people that care and invest in each other. It’s a place where there is always space for any idea and that competition always leads to collaboration.
8. Where can we find you next?
Make sure to check out the Love This airstream around Richmond and take a second to chat with Rupa. You can also follow along with @lovethisrva on Instagram.
Photographs provided by Rupa of Love This.