Fashion Designer Reet Aus: “For Some Reason, Our Society Doesn’t Value Failures.”

Reet Aus is a fashion, theatre and film artist, with a goal to focus on environmentally friendly and sustainable creation. That is why she has begun to use valued recycling, also known as an upcycling process to circulate leftover production materials back into production.
Reet has worked in Bangladesh as well in India and she has an internationally renowned career. “My ability to adapt, learn and making conscious actions has helped me during my journey,” says Reet.

Mostly Reet does circulate design, where the attention is drawn to recycling of non-biological resources and materials. As the product is designed, processes which happen after the end of product usage are being kept in mind – this is a transformation from a linear economy to the circular economy with the help of design. In addition, she upcycles and recycles in the textile and fashion industry with the goal to lessen the environmental impacts of the industry.

Reet told us more about her job, challenges, and lessons she has faced in her career.

How does your work (routine) look like?

My job is very diverse since I also work in Estonian Academy of Arts as a senior scientist - hence I travel more than an average person, and because of that I do not have a daily routine. But I do have discipline. Things that need to be done, get done. So I’m more the kind of person who sits down in a fitting place and works since my whole job is on my laptop. To make designs I always have a notebook in my bag. I have drawn a whole collection in a train station sitting on my suitcase.

You have been involved in recycling and fashion for a long time. What keeps you motivated?

To prove that the fashion industry can be sustainable as well. I don’t know if this is exactly motivating, but I’ve refused to design things which production has a negative impact on our environment and other living creatures. So, a conscious choice to do things in an ethical way.

What have been the biggest challenges as an entrepreneur? How to overcome challenges?
If you do something for the first time, then every new step in product development is a challenge. Because you just don’t have the necessary information. Only conscious actions help to deal with challenges. You gather information, test things and try again. By no means should you let failures lead you off your path.

For some reason, our society doesn’t value failures. You have to understand, that these are normal parts of life and your progress depends on how you manage failures.
You have to take most of them – to understand what you did wrong and never do it again. This is how we perfect ourselves.
We know what to do in order to maintain the life in our planet but for some unclear reason, we argue over the price of a beer. Doesn’t this leave you perplexed?
 

Tell us about a challenge you had to face. How did you overcome it and what did you learn from it?

Starting a production line in Bangladesh or in India is challenging from the beginning to the end. Actually, I think that the biggest challenge has been a cultural difference. Our Nordic up-frontness is extremely rude to them. It took me years before I understood this and adapted accordingly. It’s still complicated. We are not accustomed to this amount of tea-drinking, personal conversations and gift making.

What has been the biggest lesson for you as an entrepreneur?

Intuition also works in business. Everything happens for a reason. When I started valuing recycling 15 years ago, I only had an intuitive hunch that this field will become more important. Most of the people didn’t realize why am I even doing something like this at all. The changes in processes, which I’ve foreseen in my job, have gone this way. Faster, than I ever imagined.

What makes you excited about the future?

Personally, development with the help of TMK and Krija yoga. Speaking of bigger picture, I don’t see anything exciting, rather I feel perplexed by the people’s inability to change their habits. Scientists have given us 12 years to stop climate change. We know what to do in order to maintain the life in our planet but for some unclear reason, we argue over the price of a beer. Doesn’t this leave you perplexed?
For some reason, our society doesn’t value failures. You have to understand, that these are normal parts of life and your progress depends on how you manage failures.

What inspires you?

Wise people, who have a spark in their eyes no matter what.

Who do you think is a wise person?

Realistic person. Someone who faces life honestly and sees it for what it really is. And even if there are difficulties in the picture, the person smiles.

Hero of the Week is a column focused on inspirational entrepreneurial people around us – their journeys, success stories and lessons learned from failures; goals, inspiration and everything in between. Get inspired and be the Hero of your own life!