Most wardrobes make space for denim clothing, be it jeans, skirts or jackets. Generally associated with comfort and style, they have a longlasting relationship with their owners, and nothing short of a tearful goodbye would suffice when parting with a pair of good jeans. Keeping this in mind, Prabha Rajkumar has found a way to give worn-out denim a shot at new life with ‘Blue Made Green’.
The start-up upcycles old denim to make a variety of bags, clothes and accessories. Started two years ago, ‘Blue Made Green’ is a way for Prabha to reuse her dry waste.
“When I came to Bengaluru three years back, I wanted to do something different – I used to be an accountant but wanted to give my creative side a chance. That’s when I decided to start this venture, as I had a diploma in fashion designing,” she says. She adds that she always had an inclination towards sewing, “My mother had a clothing boutique in Kerala, and growing up I was interested in such creative work. I would stitch my own clothes in college. When I moved to Bengaluru, I made a denim bag for my daughter and a few frocks for my niece, and people really appreciated them. I didn’t want to do the usual stitching of clothes, but I wanted to make a difference.”
Why does she have this affinity for denim? “I realised that people hate to throw away denim, and sometimes, even if it doesn’t fit them, they keep it aside. Also, making denim is a tedious process and pollutes the environment. Since it is so durable, I thought I could reuse them instead.” But it’s not just denim she reuses — most of the ingredients that go to making her products are recycled, from decorative items to old T-shirts.
“I reuse bedsheets, curtains, tablecloth...anything a customer gets, I try to use it,” she says. After making a product, be it a sling bag, pouch, handbag, dress, overalls or skirt, she keeps the scraps to make something else. “All the products have some leftovers, which I use to make accessories like clips, bookmarks, earrings and headbands.” Prabha is against the use of plastic but knows that it can’t be avoided.
“I’d like people to reduce their usage of plastic as much as possible. Even though I take a cloth bag with me everywhere, plastic still enters my house. So, I’m planning on a new plastic bag series, where I use empty ‘atta’ and rice bags to line the denim ones so that they are water-proof. Even if we segregate, we don’t know where it ends up, so this is a nice way to reduce on the plastic waste we generate,” she says.
Most of her products are customised according to a person’s likes and dislikes. “People bring me a few of their denims and tell me to make something out of it. I spend a few days trying to think of a design before I make the products. Sometimes, I am left over with some material, which I use to make something else.” She says she never uses one person’s old clothing to make clothing for someone else. “If that’s the case, I make bags or accessories out of them.” She sums up saying, “This has taught me a lot – to think before I buy anything and see whether I’ll really use it or not. Sometimes, we buy things but don’t use them. We need to realise that they have value and find ways to reuse them.”