Upcycling With Grandma's Touch: Vriddhi Sawlani's Step Toward Sustainable Fashion - Homegrown

Upcycling With Grandma's Touch: Vriddhi Sawlani's Step Toward Sustainable Fashion

Almost each one of us has one or more precious memories with our grandparents of them being ever so excited in imparting a valuable piece of knowledge, and we reciprocating the same to learn. With a certain timelessness attached to these lessons, they stick around and contribute to our lives greatly.

Vriddhi Sawlani, a 22-year-old photographer and visual storyteller experienced the same and what came of it is remarkable. Upon her great-grandmother’s enquiry on whether her old clothes would be of any use any more, Vriddhi realised the value of each piece of cloth and just what can be done with them with a little basic knowledge of stitching. “I think the fact that she used it in her generation and it could be used by the fourth generation in her family really holds a lot of value for both of us,” says Vriddhi.

This simple inspiration sparked the motivation behind the project which resulted in beautiful pieces of clothing, all unique in their own ways. Their brand ‘Upcycled’ was brought to life during the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, which gave Vriddhi and her great-grandmother the time they needed to conceptualise, design, and stitch each piece by hand. The final products are a blend of complementary colours and patterns that would have never seen the light of day if Nani (Vriddi’s great-grandmother) did not hold virtues of minimising waste in any shape or form. “My grandmother has played a major part in making me realize that wasting things isn’t the right thing to do. Ever since I was a kid, my Nani and I used to make pen stands out of old water bottles and wind chimes out of beverage cans. I’ve seen her implementing the three basic R’s - reduce, reuse and recycle in her daily life and I am constantly learning from her,” says Vriddhi as she adds that being conscious with her choices was a gradual process and not an innate value she was born with.

Image Courtesy: Vriddhi Sawlani
Vriddhi's great-grandmother busy stitching

Always having known that she would do something in fashion, Vriddhi herself did not imagine up-cycling as a major project. She owes the lack of pressure in finding purpose in her mundane routine. The project resulted in a pair of outstanding blue pants, patched together using two shades of blue, and a few more shirts and tops that stray from the ordinary. What is most remarkable, however, is Vriddhi’s great-grandmother’s account of each cloth in each piece. All products are accompanied with a short recollection of where she got the cloth from, in which exact year and for what purpose. She then continues to explain how it has been reused in the final product.

A casual conversation with her great-grandmother allowed Vriddhi to explore the side of sustainable fashion. In fact, she has also now learnt how to sew scrunchies and hair ties. She hopes to convert Upcycled to a sustainable hair accessory brand as and when the situation in the country improves. “For now, I am just learning more things from my Nani and I am enjoying the fact that I am getting to spend so much time with her that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” she says.

“The whole project came into being with everyone in my house coming together, from my grandmother stitching it to my brothers assisting me during the shoot and then finally creating something so close to us,” elaborates Vriddhi. She has turned something that could have been just a family activity into a sustainable venture. With the help and support of her family, Upcycled is receiving the love and attention it deserves.

Find her project and more of her work on her Instagram.

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These Sisters Are Turning Scrap Into Creative Accessories

9 Gorgeous Indian Upcycling Brands We Love

Upcycling The Mundane: Mother-Daughter Duo, Imarim Produces Home Decor From Scrap

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