Fashion

Wear a billboard, with some help from Bandit

One of the bags from Bandit  

Would you wear tarpaulin? Or billboard flex and seat belts? What if we told you they come as eco-cool sling bags, fanny packs and backpacks?

At the Sustainable Fashion Day showing at FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week, three-year-old Goa-based brand Bandit unveiled its Shourai Collection. Shourai means ‘the future’ in Japanese, explains founder Satyajit Vetoskar. And soon, the futuristic collection will add ponchos, messenger bags and yoga mat bags — all made with their trademark tarp. “Very often what we buy is considered ‘waste’ because their clients have issues with colour or the warp [Bandit sources its tarp from ISO-9001 certified factories that export the material]. We use the colours we get, and therein lies the beauty because you will never find the same product again with us,” says the designer and architect, who holds a Masters in Industrial Design.

Earrings from Bandit’s jewellery collection

Earrings from Bandit’s jewellery collection  

Flex for the future

Vetoskar had initially wanted to do something with cinema billboards, but the idea never panned out. Then, four years ago, he had his Eureka moment — just as his flight descended into Mumbai. The sea of blue tarpaulin used as roofing for shanties in the slums around the airport caught his eye. “Can you make stunning products using a material that is common and simple? That was the driving thought,” he recalls.

Over the last year, Bandit has been experimenting with flex from billboards, too, to create two lines of products: a commercial line of bags, and a charitable range of sleeping bags and tents for the homeless. “The idea is to create a range of open-source design products that can be replicated. After all, upcycling is about giving back,” he shares. Currently, they are in talks with Goonj, an NPO that focusses on providing used clothing during disasters, to create lining for the tents and sleeping bags. Flex, usually a difficult material to work (because it becomes brittle with sun exposure) is great for the latter, as it provides warmth. “We will be presenting this project at UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme] next month. The flex is sourced from two outdoor agencies in Mumbai,” he says.

Fountain pen made from recycled materials

Fountain pen made from recycled materials  

Pens from aircraft aluminium

Another project is a range of fountain pens made from recycled materials — aircraft aluminium, brass from melted artillery shells (sourced from the Army and Pune’s famous Juna Bazaar), and wood from old handloom spindles — to counter the culture of use-and-throw plastic ballpoint pens. “This happened by chance, when a friend from design school, who loves fountain pens, and I got talking with another friend who repairs aircraft! It was just a matter of joining the dots.”

Meanwhile, brand Bandit is also working with various collaborators for their myriad products — from musicians, artists, and skateboarders (Bandit is creating carry cases for skateboards), to graffiti artists. The latest: a collab with jewellery brand Moksh to create a jewellery line that brings together repurposed metals such as aluminium and copper with gold and diamonds. “By using non-precious metals with gold, we are changing the way jewellery is manufactured,” he says. “Yes, I’ve heard the argument that our jewellery is not pure upcycling. But a touch of gold adds style, and gives the feeling that everything that’s recycled or upcycled is not junk. It is about sending out a message — even to people who won’t touch a tarpaulin bag!”

Bags are priced from ₹2,000, pens from ₹7,000, and jewellery from ₹20,000 onwards, on therealbandit.com

Designs from A&T’s ‘Assemble, Disassemble and Reassemble’ collection

Designs from A&T’s ‘Assemble, Disassemble and Reassemble’ collection  

PET for your thoughts

FDCI x LFW also had a capsule dedicated to the use of new-age fabric R/Elan (a product of Reliance Industries), with several designers showcasing their collections on Sustainable Fashion Day. Abraham & Thakore, for instance, used its variant, Green Gold — made from yarns spun from 100% recycled post-consumer PET bottles — in their ‘Assemble. Disassemble. Reassemble’ collection. “The designs use traditional recycling techniques of patchwork, appliqué and kantha,” says David Abraham, adding that a section of their eveningwear has also been embroidered using sequins made from sheets of discarded PET materials.

Should we worry about wearing plastic? “It isn’t wearing plastic! The PET is broken down and completely reconstituted to form a yarn that has special properties, making it friendly and comfortable,” retorts Abraham. He adds that it’s an extremely versatile fibre and can be woven into fabrics that can be both draped and tailored.


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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 4:03:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/fdci-lakm-fashion-week-billboard-bandit-design-sustainable-recycle-upcycle-eco-friendly-tarpaulin-flex-shourai-bags/article36902176.ece

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