Spotlight on Sustainable Style: A Convo with Nabilah Islam, Founder of ONE PURAM

Well Hello my Fab WYLDones, 

It's been a hot minute. But I hope to finally have my sh!t together this time and start writing to you more on the reg. Because I have finally found my groove, I think and this B L O G - is something I have wanted to pursue for quiet sometime but I have not had the time or patience & IRL let's be honest, I have had a cloud of this little niggling thing called #self-doubt hanging over me like one of those really  horrendous monsters from random sci-fi movies who continues to rear it's ugly head thus causing massive anxiety and procrastination. 

Anyhoo, I am not here really to waffle today and wang on about my WYLD woes etc etc. I am here to introduce Nabilah Islam who is the Founder of Sustainable clothing brand One Puram and share with you our new Pop-Up @ The WYLD Shop Initiative we have launched for those Brands who have a limited physical Retail presence. There is no hard and fast criteria, like always we select brands based on what we like or think you guys would like and enjoy! 

So, I had Nabilah answer some cute questions regarding her brand about being a Mummy, creating things and doing business. Here is her WYLD interview, hope you enjoy the read as well as experiencing her beautiful Les Voilles Collection!

love Kb xoxo

As a fashion brand founder and Mompreneur, how do you infuse sustainability into your brand's ethos? What inspired you to prioritise eco-conscious practices in your business?

Before creating anything, I spent a few months researching the harmful impact the fashion industry has on the environment and the workers exploited, all in the name of fast fashion and decided if I was going to start this business, I had to be mindful of this from day 1 and be responsible as to what I was adding into the mix. 

I was a fast fashion shopaholic like many of us back in the day and as I became more aware, my habits changed and I wanted to help other consumers think about their buying power and, hopefully, how we can collectively change the industry by encouraging women to make better choices in terms of shopping ethical and sustainable.

At the time of the brand's inception, I was living in Bali and often was faced with the worrying amount of plastic in the oceans when I went diving and the amount of waste on beaches whilst doing beach clean ups. I was triggered by this to feel more conscious about the environment, whether it be obvious plastic waste or microplastics from clothes. 

Balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood can be challenging. How do you navigate the juggle of running a fashion brand while being a hands-on mom? Any tips for fellow mompreneurs?

I don’t think they’ll ever be true balance and you shouldn’t have to do it all.  Some days are more work focused and other days I switch off from One Puram completely and focus on my son Ayden. When I started One Puram, I was living in Bali and spending 12 hours a day working on my first launch. I was surfing and weight training and enjoying beach sunsets. When I was blessed with my pregnancy, I was confident that I could do it all. The reality was far from this, I had an extremely uncomfortable pregnancy and traumatic postpartum experiences and for my mental and physical health didn’t pressure myself into working on everything to meet my timelines. I realised I needed to be kind to myself and take the time to heal emotionally.

I’ve embraced having a nanny here in Indonesia which allows me time to work from my home office or do workshop visits. I tell myself that I need to pursue my passions to be a happy, successful role model for my son. At times, of course, I feel guilty that I didn’t make every playschool session or be there for bath time every night but all the time in the world will never feel enough with our little ones. As a working mum I make sure I give Ayden the best experiences and routine that I can and he’s understanding now when Mama needs to work or Mama is in the gym.

Being a Mompreneur probably looks very different to each of us. I would say, leave the guilt behind, remind yourself daily why you’re choosing to spend time away from your little one and look at the bigger picture. Cherish those moments you have with them, for example, I try to be free during his lunch and dinner to eat with him at the table and put him to bed at night. If that means I work a couple more hours in the evening, I’m ok with that. Weekends, I usually prioritise Ayden and make memories with him.


Sustainability is a hot topic in the fashion industry. Can you share some innovative approaches your brand takes towards sustainable sourcing, production, or packaging?

From the first collection, I have been using Tencel ™ fibers which are certified lyocell fibers from wood sources from specific sustainable forests where trees are replanted after being used. The fibers are made in a closed loop process meaning water is reused and there is minimal chemical seepage into the environment. Having the certification ensures I have peace of mind that the fabrics I use are in line with the brands eco-conscious ethos. 
In the latest collection, Les Voilles, I also sourced dead stock which was left at a factory and was Rayon. This was a new approach but something I will be looking into doing in future collections. Rather than creating virgin fabrics, there could be some great ones, already available, that would otherwise be headed to a landfill. 
On top of this, we use either shell or corozo nut buttons in our collections which are sourced from the tagua trees of Panama and  kraft paper hangtags tied with a pandanus leaf for all our garments. We have a zero polyester policy for our fabrics to help not only make them more biodegradable but also to keep our clothing breathable and cool for the tropics. 

For shipping orders we use Pollast!c ™ bags which are made using ocean bound waste rescued from coastal communities throughout Southeast Asia. These are wonderful for shipping our products responsibly and safely. 
Sourcing all our products (except for corozo nut buttons) from within Indonesia, means we have a lower carbon footprint from fibers to packaging. We are also partnered with One Tree Planted and plant 2 trees for every order as our way to give back. 
Part of being a sustainable brand is being an ethical one.  For One Puram, taking people into account and making sure everyone is paid and treated fairly is crucial. We recently moved to a workshop in Bandung where we hope to continue producing collections. The workers are paid fairly, have adequate time off and breaks and they are audited yearly by Elevate. Appreciating, respecting and compensating all the people in our supply chain up until the product reaches the rack is in line with our moral and ethical values. 


As an expat and entrepreneur, you bring a unique perspective to the fashion world. How has your cultural background influenced your brand's mission and design aesthetic? 

I’m originally from Manchester, UK, so I grew up with Primark or ‘Primarni’ as it was often referred to and the temptation of the ever changing high street with exciting brands like Topshop and bought into the fast fashion culture. Knowing what I know today, I understand the temptation and hope that if someone like me can make a change, so can you. 

I think nothing is perfect, I’m not perfect. Of course I'll still buy something from Zara etc but much more intentionally, to make sure I wear it 30 times or more, rather than just for one occasion. 

The flip-side of growing up in the UK is our love for charity stores and vintage sales. This is one thing I miss the most about being in Asia and I'm  happy to see stores like A Vintage Tale selling vintage fashion or the Reoutfitter selling preloved which hopefully should help to change the mindset that wearing preloved is taboo. 

My mother is a Ugandan born Punjabi and my dad is from Bangladesh. I never had a vision to make ethnic wear but I'm sure there will be an opportunity to bring in some prints, styles and cuts inspired by my heritage. 

Being a mom and a business owner often means wearing multiple hats. How do you manage your time and prioritize self-care amidst the demands of running a fashion brand and parenting?

    We are so blessed in Asia to have access to affordable helpers and nannies and I think this is a huge factor in having time to run a brand and make sure my child has everything he needs. 
    Self care is really important and being a solo entrepreneur can be lonely and daunting. I love weight training, pilates, boxing and playing tennis. Keeping active makes me feel a sense of mental clarity and some movement from what essentially is a ‘desk job.’
    I also take time to meditate, especially on those days where I’m finding it hard to focus. Listening to podcasts, especially on growth mindset, really motivates me to keep going. Stress is REAL when running a fashion brand, as so much is dependent on others in the supply chain meeting their deadlines and targets. One thing that stuck with me from a Grant Mitt podcast was the notion that if I can’t handle the stress now, I can’t handle the stress of the next level of success. Having stress tolerance, pushing past fear and obstacles and rather than retreating from problems, going into problem solving mode has changed the way I approach One Puram.
    I sleep early, wake early, ditched the coffee which made me feel more stressed and eventually more tired and dependent. I also eat a protein heavy  diet and live by a ‘things to do list’. There definitely has to be a level of discipline and tenacity to keep going, especially as a dentist who is now in the world of design and fashion with no prior experience or network. 


    What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly moms, who are passionate about sustainability and fashion but may feel overwhelmed by the challenges of starting their own business?

      It is not for the faint hearted but anything I can do, you can do and maybe you’ll do it better. Motherhood can be a difficult time and drawing some boundaries and giving yourself a chance to dream of a career or passion you want to pursue is really important. 

      Take the time to learn about sustainable practices in the fashion industry. Understand materials, manufacturing processes, and ethical standards. This knowledge will not only guide your business decisions but also give you credibility within the industry. When you actually launch, you can be transparent about your practices and gain the trust of your community. 

      • Break down your goals into manageable tasks. You don't need to have everything figured out from the start. A well thought out business plan will act as your guiding light and help you to outline your objectives and strategies whilst also being a point of reference to keep you focused. 
      • Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who can offer support, advice, and encouragement. Join online communities such as Launchpad, attend networking events, and seek mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs in sustainable fashion.
      • As a mom and an entrepreneur, time management is crucial. Set realistic goals, prioritise tasks, and delegate responsibilities whenever possible. Don't forget to schedule time for self-care to avoid burnout. 
      • Utilise  platforms, such as Upwork, to get freelance expertise on areas you may not have the skills in and use social media, and digital marketing tools to promote your brand and connect with customers.
      • The business landscape is constantly evolving, so be prepared to adapt to changes and seize new opportunities. Stay open-minded, learn from your experiences, and be willing to pivot your business model if necessary. As mentioned before, have a problem solving attitude and don’t retreat from challenges. 
      • Starting a business is challenging, and it's essential to acknowledge your achievements and milestones. This will keep you motivated and inspired to keep pushing forward.
      • Remember Your ‘Why’. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or discouraged, remind yourself of why you started this journey in the first place. Your passion for sustainability and fashion can be a powerful driving force, helping you overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.

      In a rapidly changing industry, how do you see the role of fashion brands evolving towards a more sustainable and inclusive future? What steps do you hope to take to further drive positive change within the fashion community?


       Brands should start as they mean to go on and know what sustainability means to them and why those practices are important. The hope is that more brands adopt sustainable practices throughout their supply chains and have a genuine intention to change rather than Greenwashing. Transparency is crucial for building trust with consumers and holding brands accountable for their actions. By promoting honesty and openness, we can empower consumers to make informed choices and drive demand for more sustainable and ethical fashion.

      Promoting diversity and inclusion is really important and often takes more time to build on, especially as a small brand, you probably won’t have the budget to hire 5 models of different races and sizes but taking small steps to represent people from all backgrounds and sizes and identities is something One Puram hopes to do better at in the years to come. I think the notion of the perfect slender model is a fading one and women want to see real women who look like them and are relatable. 

      Educating through our social media channels on the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry and enlightening consumers, we can at least try and empower them to create a market demand for more inclusive and sustainable fashion. 

      To further drive positive change, I would love to collaborate with more NGO’s and play a part in supporting and empowering other female entrepreneurs to change the current fashion landscape. 

      What are your favourite styles in the Les Voilles collection and why?

      Some of the pieces I wear the most are the Cruise Dresses in both the original Verde Foliage print and the Mosaic Mirage print. I find them so versatile as I have worn them to beach bars and city restaurants, with flats and heels. I also like to layer a top over sometimes for a different look. I really love the breathability of the outfit, perfect for Singapore heat. 

      The Palazzo Pants and Ruffle Top are also  wardrobe staples for me and are actually our best sellers. The Tropez Skirts are also a favourite which I sometimes pair with the matching top or wear with solid crop tops.The beauty of this collection is there are shorter and longer lengths and lots of separates that you can style with what you already own. Hope you love it as much as I do!

      Nabilah Islam wearing her Palazzo Pant & Ruffle Blouse in Verde Foliage. 




      Leave a comment

      All comments are moderated before being published

      Shop Our Faves