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How Indian designers are championing recycling

Gaurav Gupta LFWGaurav Gupta

From excess fabrics in their inventories to greenhouse gas emissions, fashion has played no small share in contributing to the ill state of our environment. With the pandemic making us increasingly conscious about our wasteful behaviour, the soul-searching has led many designers to adopt a more resourceful and mindful approach. As a result, recycling and upcycling have increasing relevance in the world of luxury, finding increasing patronage with more and more Indian designers.

Aashni + Co spotlights such brands who are making recycling, waste management and fabric alternatives a part of their manifesto in a bid to do their bit for the planet.

Redefining glamour on the runway

This season of FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week made a case for recycling in couture. Designers like Gaurav Gupta, Abraham & Thakore and Aisha Rao incorporated techniques to show mindful methods of production in a glamorous spotlight.

In his quest to contribute to saving the ocean, Gaurav Gupta worked with excavated crisp packets, biscuit wrappers and plastic bottles from landfills and oceans, woven into fabrics. He then used it to create his signature red-carpet-ready sculpted dresses and gowns with an eco-conscious bent.

Gaurav Gupta LFW gownGaurav Gupta

Known for always having an extensive sustainability plan in place, Abraham & Thakore had key looks crafted from repurposed fabrics and embellishments fashioned from 100% recycled PET bottles. The textures of patchwork, surface detailing and sequins from sheets of discarded bottles reinstated that recycling and upcycling are the future.

Abraham & ThakoreAbraham & Thakore

abt106lfw26_a_Abraham & Thakore

Aisha Rao used sock waste and leftover pieces to render her signature velvety applique work on contemporary ensembles for the festive and wedding season.

Aisha Rao paper dollsAisha Rao

Aisha rap appliqueAisha Rao

Sustainability has always been part of Amit Aggarwal‘s DNA. His 3D and metallic embellishments rendered on his structured dresses, gowns and lehengas are created with recycled polymers, plastic, bindi sheets and industrial waste.

Amit AggarwalAmit Aggarwal

Amit Aggarwal lehengaAmit Aggarwal

Repurposing discarded textiles

Instead of producing masses of clothes from virgin materials, Sunira uses recycled ajrakh and bagru block printed fabric to sew together panel-accented kurtas and dresses.

Dia Mirza in SuniraDia Mirza in Sunira

Sunira ajrakhSunira

Similarly, Vipul Shah‘s celebrity-favoured clutches are upcycled from embroidered patchwork and textiles sourced from Gujarat and Rajasthan.Kajol-Vipul ShahKajol carrying  a Vipul Shah bag

Tilla crafts statement jackets repurposing heirloom embroideries and textiles indigenous to Kutch, Sindh and Balochistan, collected for over 20 years by the designer Aratrik Dev Varman. The brand has also inculcated zero waste management as a part of its design ethos.

mira rajputMira Kapoor in Tilla

tilla croppedTilla

Likewise, Raffughar by Rather Wajahat uses minimum cuts and seams to practise zero-waste tailoring. In fact, the brand Raffughar is inspired by the raffoogars who mend torn and worn-out clothes.

Raffughar zero waste jacketRafughar by Wajahat Rather

Raffughar zero waste dressRaffughar by Wajahat Rather

Upcycling its way into a better future, Ka-Sha applies innovative techniques to repurpose its own post-production waste.  The unused fabrics and leftover textile scraps are sewn as patchwork or accent elements on outfits.

Ka Sha jacketKa-Sha 

Ka Sha upcycled jacketKa-Sha

Shop these eco-conscious designers on Aashni + Co.