Why old is the new ‘new’


Louis Vuitton’s recent menswear show in China made news for more than one reason. Designer Vigil Abloh used fabrics from the brand’s old archive for this showcase and the world sat down and took notice. What was more intriguing about the presentation was that a teddy bear designed by designer Marc Jacobs for the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring-Summer 2005 collection made its way out of the Maison’s archives into the current collection.

Showing fashion aficionados that stunning pieces can made be with old fabrics and textiles is what many designers are now vouching for. And especially during this pandemic that has shown a seismic shift in the fashion world with brands becoming season-less and designers advocating zero wastage policy, the change is palpable.

“Upcycling is the need of the hour and we need to adopt sustainable practices in our lives. And it’s even better if you can do it in right style,” says designer Jeetinder Sandu.

There are a lot of Indian designers and fashion houses who are using creative techniques and designs to upcycle. “Consumers are also appreciating this shift and they like the idea of turning old piece of clothing or the unused, leftover fabric into something new. People now like to wear clothes that has a story to it and that becomes a conversation-starter for many,” opines designer Jenjum Gadi.

Here are some designer labels, who are inspiring and rendering creative ideas to us with their innovative upcycled designs.

1. Ka-Sha



Known for upcycling old clothes with cool patchwork techniques and turning them into stylish trench coats, dresses and jackets, label Ka-Sha by Karishma Sahani Khan is a frontrunner in championing the cause of conscious clothing. The brand not only upcycles and reuses deadstocks but also urges other designers to do the same. In their previous collection, they came up with an innovative idea of using old vegetable sacks and rejected plastic to make jackets. Leftover clothes are also used in making footwear and scarves by the label.

2. Jeetinder Sandhu


The idea of upcyling struck a chord with Jeetinder Sandhu during his the lockdown when he turned this beautiful Kerala silk sari, which he brought from Goa into a striking pantsuit. He adopted to upcyling as a medium of his work and the result are what we see these saris getting a contemporary makeover.

3. Permanent Vacation Clothing


Seeing vintage saris being upcycled and turned into such amazing shirts, pantsuits and dresses is such a treat to the eyes. And Permanent Vacation Clothing, a brand that operates from Paris and New Delhi uses Indian textiles like khadi, ikat and silk saris for upcycling. Their collection is holiday inspired, which makes it a cut above the rest. A first glance at the outfit and it would be hard to believe that it used to be a silk sari once.

4. Amit Aggarwal


Using discarded saris and giving it a contemporary twist, thereby making them timeless is what designer Amit Aggarwal has been known for. The saris are treated with industrial methods such as pleating and weaving them with recycled metallic strips make it nouveau. The designer did a complete collection with discarded patola and Banarasi saris.

5. Doodlage


Factory waste or deadstock is converted to limited edition collection by Doodlage. The waste from the brand is segregated and converted into accessories. And the results are these patchwork jackets, shirts and even bralets.

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