Apparel Group scion driven by the power of purpose

August 24, 2023 | By Rupkatha B

At 14, Sarisha Ved – younger daughter of Nilesh and Sima Ved of Apparel Group – started working on a school project that turned into a full-fledged brand. The conceptualisation of this sustainable homegrown athleisure brand started during a trip to Nathdwara in India a few years ago where the Ved family undertook some charity work.

“When we got there, the organiser told us how children had to walk four hours from their village and wait three hours to get a pen, notebook, a pair of shoes, a blanket and some food. It made me realise that things we take for granted are things that some people can only dream of. And I thought how about creating something wherein 100% of the proceeds will go towards children’s education. After giving it some thought, we started the ‘Tees for Fees’ collection through which we donate 100% of profits towards the education of children in the region,” Ved shared.

That’s how F5 Global started and by 2025 the brand aims to achieve three things:

  • Support 100,000 students and their educational journey.
  • Become a 100% ‘made in UAE’ brand.
  • Open the first international store outside the GCC.

In an exclusive conversation with IMAGES RetailME, Ved shared the F5 Global’s ESG priorities.

But before that, here’s a quick look at the sustainability milestones that the brand has achieved over the past 12 months.

F5 Global partnered and launched an exclusive collection with Dubai Cares, focused on supporting students from a Sharjah-based school by bringing together their ideas and sketches of a greener planet transformed into metaverse-inspired graphic tees. 100% of proceeds from the collection went towards a special scholarship to provide aid to students who need it the most to support their future prospects.

You may also like to read about: Apparel Group Founder & Chairwoman Sima Ved’s outlook on innovation, inclusion

Tell us about three key ESG-centric priorities for F5 Global?

Our approach to ESG at F5 Global has been very social. I’d like to improve representation and achieve equity for women and other historically underrepresented groups across our workforce. Recycling is a core aspect that we’re looking at, reworking some programmes to achieve our goals. We’re re-developing an engagement strategy for collaboration to address key sustainability issues.

What kind of collaborations are you building with internal and external stakeholders to achieve the brand’s multidirectional sustainability goals?

We’re collaborating with artists and organisations that share our purpose and passion for a better planet and future. Sustainability is not a goal for F5; it’s the ultimate identity of the brand. For example, we’re currently working with a popular face to build a collection that resonates with the market but also qualifies well towards our sustainability-centric core. Through our collaboration with Dubai Cares, we’ve connected with the right partners and schools to achieve our purpose and create an impact. We’re strategically looking at our approach to the business, and sustainability will always be central to our brand DNA.

Are you facing any challenges in your sustainability journey? If so, what are your learnings?

Our challenge like most sustainable businesses has been producing styles and techniques that are trending but don’t have a sustainable alternative. We’ve learned that one of the ways to really fight this challenge would be by working with new suppliers from around the world and exploring tech-based solutions. In our next collections, we’ve used some mind-blowing techniques that are new to the region.

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