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Asha Gautam’s new venture highlights the need for sustainability in fashion

Updated on: 01 February,2024 05:52 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Under this new social venture, Asha Guatam creates awareness around the need for sustainability in fashion and the crucial role garment recycling and upcycling plays in fighting climate change

Asha Gautam’s new venture highlights the need for sustainability in fashion

Embroidered border of an old saree is transferred on a new base. Photo Courtesy: Asha Gautam

Asha Gautam, a popular name in the world of handcrafted heirloom clothing, announced the debut of their latest venture – the Kadam Project. This social initiative represents a significant stride in the revitalisation of timeless, handcrafted fashion, spanning sarees, bridal couture, and festive attire. The Kadam Project underscores Asha Gautam's commitment to sustainability in fashion, environmental consciousness, and a circular design process.

Asha Gautam brings a wealth of expertise in reimagining classic pieces for their discerning clientele. The brand, supported by a team of skilled artisans, aims to broaden its impact on a wider audience by infusing new life into the allure of vintage fashion while championing principles of recycling and upcycling.
"In the current landscape, where concerns about climate change and sustainability take precedence, Kadam creates awareness around responsible fashion, resonating with the imperative for a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour. Our objective transcends merely slowing down the process of crafting new garments; it extends to the judicious reuse of existing pieces for future consumption," remarks Gautam Gupta, creative head at Asha Gautam. 

The craftsmanship involved in creating handmade pieces for the Kadam Project spans from two months to a year, showcasing the dedication and artistry that goes into each creation. Asha Gautam encourages the utilisation of existing treasures rather than solely seeking new additions, advocating for the recycling and upcycling of traditional Indian textiles.

Over the 25-year journey, Asha Gautam has sought to repurpose numerous traditional Indian textiles, including Banarasi, Paithani, and Kanjeevaram weaves, Bandhani techniques, Kalamkari hand-painted pieces, as well as Zardosi and convent embroidered fabrics.

Paithani designs cut from the saree to make an Organza lehenga. Photo Courtesy: Asha Gautam  

The Kadam Project breathes new life into vintage textiles, some dating back four to five decades or more. Real zari threads in silver or gold, which may lose their sheen over time, are meticulously refurbished by skilled artisans, restoring their original lustre. The revitalised zari is seamlessly integrated into new bases, with motifs, jal, borders, and pallu artfully applied based on the client's preferences.

To enhance these upcycled creations, sophisticated embroidery techniques are employed, incorporating artwork from the original saree. Luxurious fabrics such as organza, tissue, chiffon, and alternative weaves like kota are introduced, transforming the overall aesthetic of the new pieces.

Under the project, leftover materials find new life in the form of potlis and tassels, contributing to the overall sustainability of the process. However, the intricacies of recycling and upcycling necessitate a careful evaluation of the original fabric's strength before initiation. 

Strengthening measures, including fabric fusion, are at times implemented to ensure the enduring quality of the final product.

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