Did you know that despite the ban on single-use plastics in 25 Indian states, we still produce 34,69,780 tonnes of plastic annually, according to a report from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCP)? In the ensuing five years, it is predicted that this number will double.
Sara Lakhani, 22 YO designer from Nagpur India, is on a mission to upcycle plastic into traditional embroidery in order to address the urgent need. She creates threads out of used polythene bags, which are then used to create intricate traditional embroidery called Kantha embroidery. It’s that simple.
Traditional Embroidery – From Trash
She presented her most recent line, “Trash or Treasure,” at Lakme Fashion Week in 2022. She created the traditional embroidery collection using more than 200 polythene bags.
Sara, who is from a small town called Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, has always been drawn to the outdoors and the beauty of the natural world. However, she was also made aware of a serious problem when she saw her father, a pharmaceuticals worker – burn plastic waste. This made her aware of the terrible effects this action had on the environment.
I knew I wanted to do something significant the moment I began working on this project. I decided to make sustainability the focal point of the project because I was certain that I didn’t want to contribute to the issue more over reduce it.
She, therefore, knew exactly what she wanted to do when designing her clothing line as a fashion designer.
“I knew from the beginning that whatever designs I make must use sustainable materials.
She started her research into the traditional art forms of India, keeping in mind that designing something beautiful was not her only call, she wanted to make use of plastic waste that goes into something aesthetic.
I had an idea, but at first it appeared to be very challenging to make it happen. I clearly remember telling my mentor that I was stuck at the time. Whenever I was unsure of what to do, she would always advise me to consider things from a wider perspective. Even I wasn’t entirely sure that it made sense to successfully recreate a traditional embroidery out of plastic
Trash or Treasure
Despite our best efforts, it can be challenging to do away with plastic from daily life because it has always been a necessary component of human existence. But Sara Lakhani & her stubborn decision to make something aesthetic out of plastic developed a novel idea with the goal of reducing some plastic from landfills.
Her collection is based on recycling and upcycling waste textile and plastic, keeping nature at its core.
She began experimenting with various embroidery techniques and discovered that Kantha was the most practical because it could use the most plastic. She claims that one piece would require at least 15 days of labour and incredibly careful hand work. “I spent hours in the workshop with embroiderers,” she says.
“My generation is aware of the need to be more environmentally friendly and how our actions have a negative impact on the environment. I want to learn more and develop eco-friendly, sustainable fashion in India.
“The simple and intricate details of the natural world around us serve as my inspiration. This traditional embroidery collection is intended for ethical shoppers.
She wants to change people’s perceptions of waste through this project and show how the rest of the world can contribute to the solution. Her intention was to produce a line that could be worn by anyone, anywhere, and at any time with this collection.
Her art speaks to waste and the individual perspectives on it. The majority of the garment, with the exception of a few components, is made of textile and plastic waste. Impressive is the fact that except for little touched rest, all is recycled. Inspiring and aesthetic, all at once.
Feature Image – Instagram
If you like this story, you can also check out – EcoKaari Is Upcycling 20 Million Plastic Bags Into Fabric, This Start-Up Makes Rs 8 Lakh/Month