Step up the value

Step up the value

Innovative approach

Step up the value

Whenever we decide to declutter our wardrobe, we end up discarding a pile of clothes we don’t use anymore. Either because we no longer fit into them or they are old and faded or for the simple reason that we don’t have enough space to keep them. What do you do with these clothes then? Pack them all up in a bag and place it next to the trash bin. Right?

However, there are many who let their creative juices flow and end up upcycling the abandoned clothes into something usable. Giving a new shape to unused clothes is the mantra that many are following these days.

“I started upcycling old clothes about seven to eight years back. I was at the tailor’s shop one day and saw a pile of fabrics left behind for ragpickers to come and collect. Most of the time they simply burn the fabric or sometimes use the better pieces of cloth in their homes. I was taken aback by this and that’s when I gave a serious thought to upcycling clothes and reusing them as much as possible,” says Bhairavi Malkani.

She started off by making bags and clutches using bits of fabrics, but slowly moved to using larger pieces of fabrics like denim and canvas sheets to make these bags. “I started collecting the leftover fabrics from the tailor and used them during my workshops with kids, teaching them how to make pouches and simple covers. Now I also make iPad sleeves, tote bags and sling bags using dresses, raw silk fabrics, old T-shirts and tops,” she adds.

There are people who get attached to a particular garment and don’t want to dispose it very easily. In that case, upcycling it will help make good use of it. With many people considering upcycling as a second option, there is a more conscious effort towards ‘reduce and reuse’ in the city. And the best part is that these items can be used for gifting as well (everyone likes the extra effort put into their gifts).

Prabha Rajkumar always wanted to do her bit to save the earth and being passionate about designing clothes, upcycling of old clothes is the best thing that she could have done. She founded a venture called ‘Bluemadegreen’ that upcycles denim and other clothes into accessories and various products.

“I chose to use denim as it is not very eco-friendly and manufacturing it gives rise to a lot of pollution. Knowing how durable denim is, I make use of it as much as possible. I started upcycling different types of denim about three years back,” says Prabha.

She turns denim into jackets, shorts, skirts, overalls and also tops. As for accessories, backpacks, cutlery covers, hairbands and earrings are some of the things that she creates out of old denim fabric. Upcycling, she says, has become a necessity and today upcycled products bring in a great style quotient.


Varsha Kariya, along with her two friends Prachala and Chitra, encourages as many people as she can to use upcycled products as they believe that in the long run this will reduce waste production.

“Three of us came together and started ‘Reinvention’ through which we create the awareness that various products can be used ‘n’ number of times through upcycling. Initially, it was a difficult task to make people understand that but today they are more conscious about the environment,” says Varsha.

One of their most popular upcycled products is the ‘memory quilt’. “Parents want to preserve their child’s clothes, first napkin, caps and socks as memorabilia. We use all of them to make a quilt. Apart from that, we also encourage people to reuse school uniforms by making different products like shaving kits, return gifts or cheque book holders out of them,” adds Varsha.

Making envelopes out of paper is a common practice, but creating one using unused clothes is something one may not have heard of. Saumya Dattatreya Rao, the owner of ‘All Things Green’, does exactly that. “Initially, when I started, I was a little sceptical about using old clothes, but then I studied the market and saw that there is a wide acceptance by people,” says Saumya.

She has been reusing old garments to make zip pouches, tote bags out of old T-shirts, envelopes, mobile covers and plastic bag holders. “Upcycling is the ‘in’ thing now, and unless one doesn’t reuse, they wouldn’t know the actual value of a thing,” she says.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)