Romy (31) from Roja The Label aims to create awareness in a creative way. She crochets clothing and accessories, often combining her handmade pieces with vintage clothing. For example, she’ll remove the sleeves of a blouse and add her own crocheted designs. Read this blog to learn how she founded Roja The Label, what drives her, and how she aims to create more awareness.
"I really wanted to work with my hands again."
The start of her journey
Romy always felt the urge to work in fashion. From a young age, she followed her own path; at a time when flared pants weren't fashionable yet, she already had a pair at home. Since the age of nineteen, she has been involved in entrepreneurship, eventually leading to the creation of her own clothing line, Roja The Label. She crochets her own clothing, drawing inspiration from her experiences and travel adventures.
Creativity for a good cause
After completing her education at Artemis College in Amsterdam, she decided to work for a charity. She found joy in channelling her creativity into something that leaves a positive impact on society. In addition to her work, she started her online shop, The Sun Collective, where she sold handmade jewellery.
However, she realised her true interest was in clothing, prompting her to make a career change. No longer feeling fulfilled at the charity, she transitioned to a job in the fashion industry with a clothing brand. Romy says, "The urge to make my own clothes returned there. Besides my job, I was always creating things; my head was always full of ideas. I really wanted to work with my hands again, so Roja The Label was born."
She now crochets every week with her mother and mother-in-law. "It's always enjoyable to work together. I'd love to expand our group someday and perhaps connect people of all ages in this way. I'm already in talks with a few women who might be interested in joining our crochet afternoons."
"There's a lot of love, passion, and time invested in creating a product."
For Romy, certain key elements are crucial, including slow fashion. She hopes that, over time, people will realise that slow fashion is often more expensive for a reason. "There's a lot of love, passion, and time invested in creating a product. It's not just about the materials; it's also about the craft hours, from idea to final product."
She aims to create this awareness by assembling Do-It-Yourself kits. Although the idea is still a work in progress, Romy is extremely enthusiastic about it: "This way, people can make their own blouse, for example. This will make them realise how much time it takes to create something. Besides, isn’t it just cool to walk around in your own homemade blouse!?"
Romy likes to consider her environment and consciously aligns her choices with it, also in terms of sustainability. "My parents always thought I would work for Greenpeace," says Romy. "Now, I try to be sustainable in my own way. The blouses I use are always second-hand."
Although the clothing is second-hand, it doesn't mean she settles for just any blouse. "I value quality as well, which is why I always choose Ralph Lauren blouses. They are high in quality and offer the nice colour variations that complement my crocheted sleeves."
Inspiration during her travels
In 2022, Romy decided to travel to Bali by herself. Because of her Indonesian roots, she felt drawn to the culture and energy that Bali had to offer. Romy says, "I loved how so many things were still handmade there, compared to here." She attended two workshops and ventured out into nature to explore more of the country. "I enjoyed having peace of mind and taking a good look at myself. This made me decide to truly go for what makes me happy."
Partly thanks to this trip, in 2023 she took the leap to fully commit to her business, Roja The Label. When the clothing brand where she worked was acquired by another company, she faced a choice: "Do I continue with the new company, or do I take the risk to fully pursue my own business? That was the moment I made the decision to choose for myself."
For Romy, it feels like this is just the beginning of Roja The Label. She has a lot of future plans, with awareness and social engagement high on the agenda. This includes connecting young and old, as well as helping others understand how slow fashion works and how to make more sustainable choices. Romy says, "I'm curious to see where me and my company will be in a year, but it's also kind of scary. You never know what lies ahead."