Hiya! Welcome to Mauve Moustache, your modern mom & pop thrift store. Let’s meet the fam! Mom (Maithili), Pop (Yves) and two beautiful furry babies (Gallou and Pixel) all together run Mauve Moustache from #lacampagne in France.
HOW DID MAUVE MOUSTACHE COME INTO BEING?
Maithili (Mom) had been dreaming of running a clothing store ever since she was a child playing dress up in her mom’s closet.
She started the blog mauvemoustache.com as a way of promoting self-expression through clothing, poems, and creative writing. It grew with Instagram, to advocate greener choices —ethical, slow fashion and low-waste living.
Now, it has taken the form of a mom & pop store that sells eco-friendly and one-of-a-kind preloved and vintage clothes, alongside a few other eco-goodies. (in the future) Mauve Moustache is dedicated to cruelty-free, sustainable fashion and beauty. It’s all about promoting ethical and eco-conscious way of living.
THE BACK STORY – IN THE WORDS OF MAITHILI
Mauve Moustache is my brain child, which was later adopted by my partner-for-life Yves. While I may have founded the brand, there are several people who influenced it. To know them, the lessons that I learned and our story, we #throwback to Bombay, circa 1990.
AGE 3 TO 9
I was born and raised in Bombay, India. I lived with my parents, a big brother, my aunt, and my paternal grandma. I grew up in a home that loved sewing. I spend most of my childhood dressed in beautiful dresses handmade by my grandmas and my aunt. We were a pretty average middle-class family, so nothing went to waste. The left-over fabric was used to make beautiful quilts or door mats, and what could not be saved was then used as cleaning rags. My family threw away literally nothing.
LESSON 1 – Nothing should go to waste, salvage whatever you can.
AGE 9 TO 16
Then comes my childhood. I spent most of time at Mama & Papa’s house, my neighbours. We weren’t related by blood, but they were my chosen family. I grew up with their two daughters Natasha and Karina, and they will forever be my first introduction to fashion and style. I spent hours raiding their wardrobe, playing dress-up. Their style was the epitome of 80s and 90s fashion. High-waisted pleated trousers, dresses with shoulder pads, scrunchies, acid denims, plaid, oversized t-shirts, plastic belts, you name it! These styles were handed down to me, some of this clothing I still love and wear to this day.
LESSON 2 – Nothing ever really goes out of style - especially when worn and taken care of with love
AGE 16 TO 21
Here comes pre-adulthood! It’s time to find my own style on a limited budget! I could not afford to shop at stores, so I took to flea markets to find my fix. I loved the whole process, rummaging through carts filled with clothes, finding something unique, haggling for a good price and then walking home with my new priced possessions. Styling them with my hand-me-downs and whatever else I could find at home. Like most teenagers I spent the first few years fitting in, and the last few standing out. By my late teens I knew what I liked and that I had a quirky sense of style. I also learned it’s not what you wear but how you where that makes the difference.
LESSON 3 – Personality > Price tag !
AGE 21 TO 24
I spent these years devouring fashion magazines and vintage shops. This was the time I realised I loved fashion beyond just dressing up. I was interested in it from a wholistic approach. I wanted to learn everything there was to learn, how it evolved, who were the top players, how did music, art and fashion intertwine, knowledge of fabrics, stitching, pattern design… so on. I immersed myself into the world of fashion. I now had a job and hence disposable income. It was also the time when fast-fashion reached Bombay in its full glory and with-it fashion blogging as a trend took off too. I followed all the top bloggers for several years, and in 2014, I finally decided to join the bandwagon. But I wanted fashion to be more than just clothes, I wanted to tell stories. Thus, Mauve Moustache, my fashion blog, was created, and I started combining poems and creative story-telling into my posts. At this time, I was working for 5 high-street brands as their digital account manager and that’s where most of my wardrobe came from until a documentary changed my outlook –‘THE TRUE COST’.
LESSON 4 – Fast fashion is cheap but comes at a price of fellow humans.
AGE 24 TO PRESENT
That documentary and a major personal event changed my vision of fashion and life in general. Before this, I had given little thought to sustainability. To me fashion until then was a source of release an expression of creativity and my therapy (it helped me deal with my dark past and my mental health) I had never thought to look at the other side. When I did, I gave up fast-fashion entirely. I went back to buying my clothes at flea markets and second-hand shops. I wanted to make sure none of my purchases would harm the planet and its inhabitants again. In 2014 I lost my dad to suicide which lead me to have a complete mental breakdown. I was severely depressed for almost 2 years and had to take down the blog, this is also when I learned that I am bipolar with a touch of BPD which led me to introspect every aspect of my life. I started leaning towards a greener lifestyle. I started sharing my journey and talking about mental health, fair fashion (fair to the planet & the people) and low impact living on social media, and that hasn’t changed even now. In 2017, I met Yves, and I started talking to him about my passion for sustainable living, luckily, he was into it too. I moved to Paris in 2018 to start my new life with him, and we started our low-waste journey.
In early 2020 we launched Mauve Moustache, our online concept store that promotes free living and sustainable fashion.
LESSON 5 – Find your passion, find your people and never give up
MAUVE MOUSTACHE TODAY
Mauve Moustache is our baby! Yves and I run it like a mom & pop shop. We do everything in-house.
Our aim is to bring you fashion that is earth-friendly. We make sure all our practices leave a minimal footprint on the planet.
We source all our pieces taking public transport, carpools or electric cars.
All our packaging is recycled or eco-friendly, we make packaging bags out of rejected t-shirts (which you can use as grocery bags) and enclose it with biodegradable mailers. We use 100% recycled paper with eco-printing for our thank you notes and cards. Importantly, we use a carbon-neutral/ low carbon shipping companies (La Poste and Chronopost).
Through our blog we promote other sustainable brands and institutions we believe in. Though we are far from perfect, we make sure we do everything out of love and respect for this beautiful planet that we live on and strive to do better each step of the day.