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Upcycling Old Denims Into Fashionable Bags And Accessories

Denim is that one fashion trend that has never gone out of fashion. It has been a massive hit in Bollywood. In the 1970s, Amitabh Bachchan wore a denim jacket in the movie Zanjeer and set a major fashion goal. Actor Dharmendra's outfit in the iconic film Sholay had men running to their tailors to get similar jackets stitched. And dungarees became a college campus favourite after being worn by tomboy Anjali in the film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Today, denim is timeless and popular.

Denim jeans are a leading fashion trend among young and old. They are a part of almost everyone's closet, from movie stars to politicians to people on the street. But, did you know, that the fabric that has remained a style staple for over 150 years was made for physical labour, and used by miners and factory workers? Now it is a symbol of cool. And today there are what seems like an endless amount of different styles. They are sturdy, reliable and go with everything.

Also Read: Denim Khadi, A Sustainable Alternative To Regular Denim

The denim market is expected to boom in the near future, but did you know that denim which is adored by many has a huge environmental impact? It takes around 1,000 liters of water to grow the cotton needed for a pair of jeans. And another 50 liters for that faded texture. When a simple pair of denim is thrown away, it just adds to the waste load of landfills.

That waste load of jeans was a huge bother for Soumya Annapurna Kalluri. So much so that the mechanical engineer left her cushy job to start the social enterprise, Dwij. Soumya said,

Dwij in Sanskrit means second life. So, essentially, we are giving second life to the used jeans here.

Nowadays, with the fast fashion boom, a vast majority of textiles are incinerated or dumped into landfills. Dwij was founded to address everything that is wrong with fast fashion by providing inclusive growth for society, through upcycling. Through her startup, Soumya has been able to upcycle more than 6,000 pairs of denim into fashionable bags, accessories, clutches, and items of daily utility.

Also Read: Making Sustainable Fabric From Banana Plants And Promoting Conscious Fashion Choices

Denim was Soumya's first choice because of its durability, as compared to other fabrics. Explaining the upcycling process, Soumya said,

We buy used jeans and also the post-industrial cut-offs from manufacturing units. Following this, these go to the industrial washers for washing and are ironed. Once they are in our workshop, depending on the size and shape they are cut into the required dimensions and then bags are made out of them.

Once the bags are manufactured, Soumya and her design team make sure to fully utilise the leftover bits and pieces generated during the creation of the products by making accessories or jewellery.

Soumya says that there is a common misconception among people that second-hand goods are bad and low-value, and she wants to change that. Talking about the same, Soumya said,

We are actually working with waste. It is true that people have some kind of hesitation in buying pre-loved stuff and used stuff. But, over a period of time, we have seen a drastic decline in hesitation among people. Maybe people are getting more used to these things and the more you give hygienic products to customers, the more they feel happy in using them.

Also Read: Aranya Natural, Providing Sustainable Livelihood Opportunity To People With Disabilities

Soumya believes that practicing sustainable living is not hard and people can take many steps to make their lifestyles more environment friendly. Sharing her thoughts on how one can have a sustainable wardrobe, Soumya said it is about wearing what you already have. She added,

Always try to use what you already have to its fullest potential by maybe pairing a piece of clothing with another piece or exchanging it with immediate family members. Secondly, while buying, look at the tag of the product to know what it is actually made of. If you want to buy a polyester-based product, buy 100 per cent polyester. If you want to buy cotton, buy 100 per cent cotton. Never buy blends because there is very little scope for recycling those products. So, as a conscious shopper, know what kind of materials you want to buy beforehand.

Dwij started with denim but the brand wants to expand its offerings to include a variety of materials. Dwij wants to be known as a brand that encourages upcycling, where people are happy to upcycle.

There are a growing number of businesses that are working hard to revolutionise the fashion industry by developing sustainable alternatives while keeping ethical and sustainable concerns in mind. Truly, upcycling is the way ahead. It is time for all of us to become more aware and accepting of using upcycled products. We are responsible for managing the waste that we generate. As environment-conscious citizens, we all must do our part to protect the planet, because no one else will do it for us.

Also Read: Paiwand Studio Upcycles Textile Waste To Make Fabrics For Apparel And Home Furnishing

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