Go Sustainable & Invest in our Planet

by Team Conscious Carma

The theme for this year’s Earth Day is ‘Invest in Our Planet’, stating that a greener future is a prosperous future. It encourages humanity to act, innovate, and implement sustainable choices in our practices and daily lives.

Etsy, the global marketplace for unique and creative goods, have creative entrepreneurs that are embracing sustainability, and practicing their art to produce greener results.

Team Conscious Carma picked up three such small business owners from the fashion space who integrate eco-friendly methods in their craft such as upcycling, and mini-wastage.

1. Papermelon by Devi Chand (Tamil Nadu)

Devi Chand is the founder and artist at Papermelon, a sustainable jewellery and decor brand made with upcycled paper. Based in a small home studio in Chennai, Papermelon reflects a colourful India. Devi’s fascination for design and paper started in her younger years, when she made tiny gift boxes and glitter baubles from candy wrappers. In 2009 she decided to leave her corporate job to start Papermelon. Since then, Devi has been busy shape-shifting discarded paper materials into extraordinary pieces of jewellery.  

Papermelon is a one-of-a-kind label that weaves handcrafted jewellery using minimal tools and no machinery in production. Devi captures the essence of everything she loved about her childhood and aspires to share the same magic with her buyers. Papermelon follows a zero waste policy and strives to transform everyday objects into playful & colourful pieces of wearable art. Paper is one the few truly sustainable products as it is made with wood, and is also one of the most recycled products on the planet. Devi obsessively collects all kinds of paper – newspapers, magazines, calendars, paper bags, gift wraps, and pamphlets. She’s grateful to her network of friends, neighbours and well-wishers, who unconditionally pass on their stash of vibrant paper they have collected. All supporting beads, cords and silver findings are sourced locally from small home-run businesses.The jewellery is packed in beautiful cardboard boxes handcrafted by local artisans. These boxes are reusable and recyclable, with recycled crinkle paper used as packing filler inside the boxes. Devi follows a zero waste policy in her studio by transforming everyday objects into efficient work equipment. For example, old pens and bottles are upcycled as moulds to make the base of rings and bracelets.

Today,  Devi is shipping her stunning paper jewellery to about 35 countries

2. Ninoshka by Ninoshka Alvares E Delaney (Goa)

Ninoshka is a zero waste, Indian National Award winning, apparel brand. Designer Ninoshka Alvares E Delaney always wished that her profession would act as a means for her to give back to nature and society in her own little way. Hence, after working 10 years in the Industry in Mumbai, she relocated to Goa, where she launched her label Ninoshka which focuses on sustainable fashion. Ninoshka finds her inspiration in her collaboration with artisans. Her penchant for minimalism urges her to create silhouettes which cater to all age groups, and have an international appeal despite its Indian identity.

Ninoshka’s products aim to create social improvement and environment awareness. In 2016, Ninoshka was presented with the National award for best design for handloom Indo-western menswear by the Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India. The label follows a philosophy of zero waste, and giving back. Keeping up with this notion, Ninoshka strives to use natural and organic materials, such as indigo, pomegranate, marigold, onion peels, coconut, and more, which are earth and skin friendly. She works closely with handloom weavers from across India to procure Khadi, Malkha, Ikat, and Chanderi among others. The label also practices dyeing techniques such as tie and dye, bandhani and shibori, and printing metaphors such as Ajrak and Kalamkari. Ninoshka works with rural Indian artisans for most of her embroidery work. With this practice, she not only creates employment opportunities, but by being a fair trade advocate, she makes sure that the artisans receive fair wages.

Following an approach of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, she reduces wastage and the use of precious resources by creating minimalistic designs and upcycled apparel. Some of her designs are constructed in a single stitch line, while some others can be reused by wearing the garment inside-out, or in multiple ways. Ninoshka also upcycled remnant pieces of fabric and thread,  to create new products, thus making it a new zero waste brand. As of September 2020, Ninoshka is the only designer in Goa to have the Indian handloom brand mark and registration for the work she has done.

3. KnitSanyasini by Priyamvada (New Delhi)

Priyamvada is a knitter who sees hand-knitting as a medium of art, with the needles being the brush and the yarns being the paint. She believes that hand knitting is a conscious effort to connect with oneself and the environment, and is strongly inspired by a sustainable yet creative palette that makes up her vibrant creations.

Priyamvada leant the craft like most who fall in love with knitting – as a young girl watching her grandmother, aunt and mother, knit scarves, beanies, gloves with their deft hands. This awoke an interest in her to create garments that are caring, and well as pieces of self-expression.

With her drive and passion, Priyamvada pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Knitwear Design from NIFT, which helped her procure knowledge and technical skills of knitting and yarn varieties. She developed an entirely hand-knit collection of five ensembles for her final graduation project which won the award for The Best Design Collection. KnitSanyasini is a continuation of her knitting story where she upcycles all the yarn collected over the years to make unique handcrafted wearable art.

Priyamvada spends ample time experimenting in her kitchen, not baking bread or preparing food, instead she brings to boil various concoctions of beetroot, pomegranate turmeric, tea, and coffee. Each ingredient is patiently stirred and boiled up to a different temperature, all to create natural and beautiful hues for KnitSanyasini, her sustainable hand-crafted knitwear label. The process of washing, drying , rolling and winding the yarn is all done by done. The only tools involved are basic kitchen utensils and Priyamvada’s knitting needles.

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