The Circular Design Challenge 4.0, India’s first and largest sustainable fashion award

by Team Conscious Carma

Opening the Sustainable Fashion Day at the FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week March 23 -27, the Circular Design Challenge 4.0 had six design entrepreneurs shortlisted for India’s first and largest sustainable fashion award presented by R|ElanTM Fashion for Earth in association with FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week, United Nations and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  Chosen according to a broad-based evaluation criterion that included the circular design process, environmental and social impact, business plans and the UN SDGs, the aim of Circular Design Challenge is to promote and nurture environmental champions of the future in the field of fashion, by providing them a platform to present their innovations that are rooted in the principles of circularity.

Mr.Sunil Sethi, Chairman FDCI felicitated the winner Pieux  by  Pratyush Kumar with the winning trophy. The winner also received prizes worth Rs 20 lakhs to convert his sustainable fashion idea into an impactful business reality, in addition to an exclusive opportunity to showcase his sustainable collection at the next FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week and valuable industry exposure and linkages.

The finalists – CHAMAR by Sudheer Rajbhar, Humanity Centred Designs by Vishal Tolambia, Pieux by Pratyush Kumar, Sanah Sharma by Sanah Sharma, SATAT by Radhika Malhotra and Thaely by Ashay Bhave presented their collections to the final jury

The final jury comprised Mr Atul Bagai, Head, United Nations Environment Programme Country Office, India, Mr Jamal Shaikh, National Editor, Brunch and New Media Initiatives at Hindustan Times, Ms Payal Jain, Principal Designer, Ms Anita Chester Head Materials At Laudes Foundation and Mr Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator in India.

Commenting on the fourth edition of Circular Design Challenge, Mr Vipul Shah, COO – Petrochemicals Business, Reliance Industries Ltd, said, “We started the Circular Design Challenge, to accomplish the vision of our chairman Mr Mukesh Ambani, to turn India into a world leader in adoption of sustainable and green manufacturing practices. Over the past four seasons, the popularity of the Circular Design Challenge has grown exponentially. It has now become a big movement in the Indian fashion industry, which is nurturing talent in the sustainable and environment-friendly sphere. The Circular Design Challenge has been a tremendous success in India, and we are now contemplating to expand its scope globally.”

Mr Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator in India said, “The bad news is that humanity is facing a Triple Planetary Crisis – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution – and the fashion & textile industry is one of the most polluting, accounting for 8-10% of all carbon emissions and 20% of the world’s wastewater. The good news is the fashion industry in India, like the country more broadly, is taking the leadership on sustainability and applying its creative potential to transform the core of the industry through initiatives like the Circular Design Challenge. The UN in India is a proud partner of CDC as we can only achieve the SDGs by adopting sustainable production and consumption pathways, with industries and consumers transforming together.”

Mr Atul Bagai, Head, United Nations Environment Programme Country Office, India, said “The UN Environment Programme is committed to providing strategic leadership and encouraging sector-wide collaboration to accelerate a transition towards a sustainable and circular textile value chain. We are pleased to support UN in India, and continue our partnership with the 4th edition of the ‘Circular Design Challenge’, to identify and encourage talented designers advancing circular design in India. We congratulate all participants and the winner for  innovative thinking and passion for bringing about a positive change. “


With a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Master in Fashion Body Wear, Pratyush Kumar has five years’ experience in the industry. Making use of deconstructed and reconstructed old clothes, the Pieux brand gives more life to the garments. Working closely with artisans in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, for different products, the brand used pattern making to create silhouettes. Using hand spinning and weaving, the brand creates handloom textiles from left over carpet fibres, textiles, ragged and damaged saris that are used for surface texturing, using hand embroidery techniques, while deconstructing and reconstructing old apparel to create garments. Pieux is also working on recycled plastic (rPET) textiles and certified organic cotton, rose, milk Aloe Vera, orange, Cupro and sugarcane textiles without using any toxic substances in the process. Nearly 100 kgs of carpet waste was upcycled to add footwear and eyewear along with the apparel.

There was an assorted line of colourful patched garments bags, back packs, minis, shorts, shirts, sweatshirts and even eye wear that brought a new fashion direction.

“I believe fashion can be attractive and mind blowing without blowing up the planet with over consumption, linear model of manufacturing and using harmful material,” said Pratyush Kumar.

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