For Amit Aggarwal, one of the country’s leading designers, the definition of sustainability in fashion includes empowerment of workers. “Having the hashtag of sustainability has become the need of hour...the thing to do... but it needs to be real and honest,” he says.
So on Holi this year, the 40-year-old, known for using recycled polymer, industrial metallic yarn and other by-products of industrial waste in his creations, launched Bloom Again. It was a capsule collection of 18 shirts made using fabrics left over from previous production cycles and stitched and imprinted by hand with petals of rose, marigold and neem.
The money from each shirt went to the karigar who made it. “Sustainability is definitely an important conversation to have…to work towards…but what’s also important is to make small changes for big changes to happen,” he says. “And it starts with you.”
He shares a recent experience to illustrate the point. “Whenever my driver would find some trash in the car, he would throw it on the road without thinking twice. Once, he saw me pick up a wrapper from the car and throw it in a dustbin. I didn’t say anything to him but he realised what was happening. It’s always the small things that matter; we learn from each other and grow together.”
In this instalment of The DIY Upcycle Project, the designer takes a white linen (or any natural fabric) shirt/kurta, perfect for summer, and tells us how to create a Rorschach test inspired print with flowers on it.
Dipped in floral print
STEP 1: Dissolve alum or fitkari equivalent to 20% of the weight of the fabric in boiling water. Immerse the shirt in the water and simmer for one hour.
STEP 2: Pick out your favourite flower petals (I went for roses) and lay them out on the fabric (it can be wet or dry).
STEP 3: Fold the fabric over the petals. Hammer until you see the complete flower imprint.
STEP 4: Unfold the fabric to reveal the Rorschach-like blots. Remove residual flowers. Iron to set the print in place.