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Let's Use Wisely

A late evening drive turned into a deep pondering exercise when I saw a hoarding of “ESKOM” a South African electronic company using company advertising project to do both promoting the company and educating a layman about the importance of saving electricity.

The advertisement was nothing extravagant and don’t think it was supposed to be one. Yet was something quite dramatic, something that catches your eye and makes you wonder,” oh! That’s a very good way of advertising, quite different.” And different it was, contradicting the popular use of hoarding and its lights and resulting in more of an effective ad

Sustainability- is the need of the hour, which essentially means a development in the present without destroying the future assets or rather without destroying our future. Nowadays one is well aware of the damage mankind has cost to nature and would ideally like to lead a sustainable life.

What I often think about is how does one follow a sustainable life- do they use only organic products?

Then what about the products they already have like plastic bottles or milk packets etc- you know the generals, do they discard them?

But doesn’t that lead to more environmental pollution? Is it not a costly affair to be organic?

How can one ensure to do his/her bid for Mother Nature and still fit everything that is there on the budget?

After working at RaasLeela textile for nearly six months, I have realized that the answer is quite simple –

“USE WISELY”.

Now as easy as it sounds it requires a lot of brainstorming, from what sort of fabric to use to why so? One has to have an answer to everything. Just like the hoarding above having the same resources as others and yet doing something entirely different and more effective. It has been observed that many industries including the fashion industry have developed a niche market for sustainable fashion. We have been practicing the philosophy of ethical and green fashion for quite a while, ensuring that we are not only a sustainable brand on paper rather everything about us and everything we do represents ethical fashion.

How do we ensure it, you may ask?

Is by answering questions, finding an alternative way of doing something, and not discarding anything.

And no it is not only limited to recycling and reconstructing. Various techniques can be adopted before one can come to these steps. For an instance-

 Zero waste pattern making-  we design classic silhouettes, such that their pattern can be fit into rectangular piece. When the width of the fabric is less, we don’t change the fabric but adjust the pattern in a way that the silhouette can fit into it without compromising its size. We add joint in a pattern if it saves the fabric and make it a design element. Using different smaller cut pieces for cuffs, sleeves and plackets adds on colors to the product. If you find a blue color pocket in an entire white garment, know that the pocket is made from smaller cut piece.

Using of fabric remnants- We often buy and store fabric cut pieces to use later depending upon their size and usability. We often divide fabric remnants into three categories. Here is how we make right use of them according to their right sizes.

  1. Yardage Ends – Retailers always end up having yardages end small pieces which are difficult to sell being small in size. We simply join them together by hand stitching to make running fabrics.

 

  1. Bigger cut outs/damaged-defective fabrics – If the cut outs are big, we often place them together and stitch them creating a whole new patterned fabric. Not cutting the pieces in smaller pieces is very important for us.

  

Or if they are square/rectangle pieces, we use them to make draw string bags for packaging of our accessories, we never use fresh fabric for it, always the remnants and that is the reason why they always comes in different colors and sizes.

    

  1. Smaller cutting waste –We have fabric remains that are neither small nor big, and let me tell you those are the best ones. We always try to use them in their orignal shape and reduce to minimum or zero cutting of it never knowing how it will finally look. It is always fun to figure it out.

  

  1. Smallest remnants - the smallest of remnants or as one call it “chindis” are used for surface work.

Designing surfaces as such that they are used in their best form with minimum cutting.

    

A question does arise that even if all the remnants are taken into use there must be some which are too small to be applied to anything, that those might be going to waste- we assure you they don’t.  we often sent them to recycling where the fabric remnants  are processed to make handmade papers.

Finding an alternative material or method – Have you noticed while buying a shirt that the placket of the shirt and its collar are often stiff ? it is because it has fusing in it, fusing commonly known as buckram is used by sticking the layer of white sheet using heat, in-between of two layers of fabric to make it stiff. What many of us don’t know is that it contains plastic. And that when it’s discarded it harms the environment way more than normal fabric does. We found an alternative to it, if the purpose of fusing is only to male collar stiff it can be achieved by doing various surface technique which leads to thickness and stiffness of the fabric near the needed area such as collar, placket.

 

We often forget that sustainability begins at home. To adopt an unceasing green life we don’t need to buy conscious and organic products as opposed to trying to increase the longevity of the products we already have.

Just imagine if you are able to use one product for more than its desired time won’t it reduce your need to buy more? For an instance, creating a rough page in a notebook or folding the whole paper for a single mistake is a waste which then looks insignificant but promotes to bigger damage.  How you ask, well one tree makes only 16 papers but that same tree produces enough oxygen to for 4 people for a year.  So next time you waste a paper please keep in mind the lives you are risking.

Or do we realize how many times one doesn’t wear a good piece of garment because it has a stain on it, or is torn from somewhere, or is just not in fashion, I would say at least 60% of times you give this excuses to buy new clothes. But have you ever wondered how you can use that torn or stained shirt to your advantage.

Saving the planet does not only resort to switching off lights and using public transport, it can be as small as finding various use of cardboard boxes to practicing cooking with solar energy. People can save and reduce the consumption of various things by NOT THROWING THEM AWAY. They can increase a life of a product by finding new ways to keep them going.

Head designer and founder of the brand often say that it is due to their habit of problem solving that brings them where they are, “everything you do, even if you are putting a fraction of your time and resources into it – should definitely have some purpose. Without purpose it is nothing but an accessory and in times like this we can’t really afford that” She quotes.

Written by

Kalamba Jhala