Meet the maker: DEEBA

For anyone who hasn’t heard of DEEBA already, it’s time to get it on your radar. Founded by Gabriella Bennett in 2019, it was born out of a love for Jaipur and the details of luxurious clothing – from the feel of the fabrics to the prints, cuts and sustainable production. 

A few years on, and she’s created an empire of unmatchable fabric; there’s nothing quite like DEEBA’s vegan silk. Spun so delicately, it falls fluid, effortlessly and gently over the skin. You just have to touch it. Paired with vibrant hues, intricate prints and low-waste printing techniques, these timeless collections are made with the planet in mind through every stage of development. Read on to discover Gabriella’s learnings along the way… 

What was the brainwave moment behind DEEBA?

At the end of 2017 I quit my job as a fashion buyer and booked a one-way ticket to India for New Year’s Eve. A couple of months later, I found myself living in Jaipur where I was so inspired by my surroundings and the female founders I met, I decided I wanted to stay and start my own business.  

How did you research the field?

I very much learnt on the job. My degree is in Fine Art and I don’t have a background in fashion. So, to start I taught myself digital-print design and went around Jaipur speaking to manufacturers and other fashion founders to piece together where to start!  

Obviously, lots of mistakes were made and lessons were learnt, but I loved it because now I really understand the full process of production, rather than needing to outsource to an agency.  

We’d love to know about DEEBA’s ethical ways of working?

When I started DEEBA I originally used silk as my main material because of its luxuriousness and because I believed it was the most sustainable choice. When I educated myself more, I realised silk is not as ethical as I thought; it has a huge carbon footprint and uses very harsh chemicals to process it.  

So, I went on a mission to find a superior fabric with all the same qualities as silk (from being breathable and biodegradable to having a gorgeous sheen and drape) but that wasn’t as harmful to the environment. This led me to my main fabric: Cupro LENZING EcoVero. Cupro is a by-product from cotton production and LENZING EcoVero is made from sustainably farmed trees. My fabric mill is also vegan-certified, and we digitally print our fabrics to use less water.  

On top of that, all our packaging is recycled, biodegradable or compostable, and we are members of 1% for the Planet, which means we donate 1% of our annual sales to NGOs of our choice.  

It’s always been important to me to make the most sustainable business decisions, and I’m constantly trying to educate myself on the best practices as I know there is always room for improvement. 

What do you draw upon for inspiration at DEEBA?

I love to travel and find inspiration from everywhere I go, but predominately India – the architecture, the colours and the energy. Most of my prints have a wildlife or nature-based theme, with whimsical elements within the illustrations, for example Kissing Fish made into a geometric print.  

What’s your creative process?

I create my best designs while travelling. Last week I was in Jaipur for a photoshoot and for the rest of the month I’m in Goa designing. I constantly take pictures of colour combinations I see and shapes within architecture. I like to walk around the old city of Jaipur, go to fabric shops and look at old Indian fabrics, too.  

What are your hopes for the future of DEEBA?

This year I’m focusing on my resortwear collections. As the brand evolves, I would love it to become a worldwide lifestyle brand.  

Excited to shop Deeba’s latest collection? Find an edit of our favourite picks on Monsoon Bazaar today.