2019’s zero waste designers

The Lakmé Fashion Week has had a dedicated sustainability day for the past seven years. In addition to this, the upcoming edition will see the Circular Design Challenge (CDC), an initiative that aims to shine the spotlight on — and recognise — Indian designers who champion sustainability through their work.

A collaboration between R Elan’s Fashion for Earth, the United Nations and LFW, the CDC has eight semi-finalist designers — out of 900 entrants — who have used materials as diverse as PET bottles, discarded wires and hemp in their collections. “Total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production stands at 1.2 billion tonnes annually — that’s more than international flights and maritime shipping combined,” says Atul Bagai, UN Environment, Country Head, India, stressing on the need to promote eco-friendly textiles.


Saltpetre   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Commenting on the need to bring together various stakeholders to promote green fashion, Gautam Vazirani, fashion curator at IMG Reliance says, “Sustainable fashion is a two-way street. Consumers, especially among younger demographics, are demanding sustainable fashion and lifestyle. Platforms like the CDC, which gives these designers a platform, definitely make it more aspirational. Also, by bringing together designers and other stakeholders, events like these can create a more supportive eco-system for sustainable fashion.” They have also helped in sourcing, connecting designers using fabric from PET bottles to Reliance Industries, which recycled 220 crore PET bottles last year, and, an enterprise that works with fibres made from peanut, soya, corn and even roses and pineapples.

While the inaugural edition of CDC sees a few familiar names like Delhi-based Kirti Tula of Doodlage, who uses hand-embroidery to fix stains in her clothes and brings together discarded lyocell, cotton and wool fabrics through paneling and patchwork, there are also newer names and unique fabrics to watch for.

Plastic on your sleeve

Mumbai-based Pooja Monga’s Saltpetre and Delhi-based Aman Singh’s Bareek — both of whom use fabric made from recycled PET bottles — have taken a step further with biodegradable packaging, seed tags and buttons made from coconut shell and waste pinewood. Singh says, “Even these small elements should be thought of. My collection of shirts uses PET bottles collected from the beaches of Goa, and will have patterns that are reminiscent of Goan culture, like Portuguese-influenced tile motifs.” Monga’s collection of work-wear centres on “comfortable fits, classic, trend-agnostic pieces inspired by Zen monochrome paintings”. Expect shell tops, jackets, trousers and dresses in black, white and grey priced upwards of ₹1,445. “I’ve earlier worked with fabric made from wood pulp. I chose PET bottle fabric because it can be looped back into the system and recycled,” she adds.


Meisu   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Form-fitted jackets tunics, dresses and trousers make an appearance in Seerat Virdi’s organic silk and cotton collection, Miesu. “Ludhiana (her base) is a hub where whole orders are sometimes discarded when they don’t meet specifications,” she explains, which gives her access to zippers and buttons. She has also worked with artisans from across Punjab to give a “modern twist” to phulkari by creating geometric patterns instead of the traditional florals. Priced between ₹12,000 and ₹35,000.

Back to aakh

Bhaavya Goenka, based in Jaipur, has put together recycled hemp, cut off cotton, linen and denim with discards from the handloom industry across the country (including Benarasi clusters) in a collection that focusses on geometric silhouettes. She will also be presenting swatches of Rajasthani aakh, a fibre that was popular in the late 19th century but has since dwindled in production. “We are still working to commercially scale it up and will have a collection based on aakh later this year,” she says. Priced upwards of ₹8,000.

I Was A Sari

I Was A Sari   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Other semi-finalists include Aiman Sabri’s Pozruh, which patches together cutting waste from T-shirts, wires and discarded bags; Poornima Pande and Stefano Bunari, who use fabric from pre-loved saris in their vintage-themed collection ‘I Was A Sari’; and Kanika Ahuja’s Lifaffa line of handbags, laptop sleeves and wallets from recycled PET and hemp, that features crotchet and traditional embroidery by Aseek, a collective of low-income Afghani refugee women.

The winner of the CDC will be announced on January 31 at 11.30 am, at the Studio stage at JioGarden, Mumbai.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 12:00:25 PM |

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