How BlueMadeGreen is turning fabric waste into useful products
December 30th , 2018 | Prabha Rajkumar
Challenges led to our inception of idea
Throwing things away has always been a bit of a challenge for me. “Will I need this later on?” and “Can this be used for something else?” are the kind of questions that have always popped up in my head when items that have completed serving their purpose wait for their judgement: to be thrown away or kept.
This led to my inadvertent upcycling of used items at home. Then, it wasn’t as much an attempt to be conscious of consumption (it is now) as it was a revelation of the creative possibilities of what could be done with the items. I remember the early stages involving using used water bottles in the making of a Kathakali costume for my daughter when she was in school and making use of old notebooks as a sturdy backbone for a wall organizer.
Durability of Denim was the new green idea
The potential of fabric that would otherwise be considered useless became obvious to me as I began to work with clothes that were worn out or simply grown out of. Later, I came to rediscover the durability of denim and realized that many pairs of jeans that were once worn and flaunted are now kept hidden in the unholy corners of most of our cupboards. That brought me to focus on the upcycling of used denim, especially because a tremendous amount of water and energy are used in the making of the fabric (more specifically: 400 MJ of energy, 1500 gallons of water and 3 kilograms of chemicals are needed for one pair of jeans; the manufacture of denim results in alarming environmental consequences, including the polluting of water bodies) and it would do it no justice to leave it unused after just a brief period of sunshine.
It is the desire to challenge people to see the hidden value of the items they already possess and to help them go beyond their immediate perception of what is that gave birth to Bluemadegreen. We intend to help people give new lives to materials they no longer see useful in light of what they had originally purchased them for. An example of the work we do would be helping a mother convert her old pair of jeans into a frock to gift her daughter. We have had the joy of seeing children examine and identify parts of their old denim in the new bags and pouches made for them with excitement and wonder.
Your requirements and our creativity
I’d say the most wonderful thing about the customized work at Bluemadegreen is the process, for each product is a result of a collaboration. Your ideas and requirements are listened to and we help put them and the designs together to create the final product, it being the brainchild of the imagination and creativity of both you and Bluemadegreen. While doing this, we use as few number of items ‘first-hand’ as possible (used accessories such as buttons, buckles, etc. are used in abundance, with pride).
How much has it grown up
Along with customized products, Bluemadegreen has now taken up a new project: collecting fabric that are left over at the local tailoring units to upcycle. This idea sprung up as it came to our notice that most tailoring units burn all the fabric left over, regardless of its size and material. So we have been collecting from different units and experimenting to see how different shapes and sizes of cloth can be used to make a range of accessories in simple ways. We have been able to make the following in this project:
Belts, bows, cushion covers, fridge handle covers, handbags, hair bands, hair clips, pouches, purses, scrunchies and shopping bags.
So what do we do with the smallest bits and pieces of cloth, you ask? We use them to fill mats. Turns out they do an excellent job of keeping place mats and floor mats soft and sturdy. We are currently still exploring the vast number of possibilities of what could be done with such tailoring leftovers.
One thing is clear to us: every little piece of fabric can be upcycled.
Recognizing value is in the hands of the consumer.
The author of the story is Founder of "BlueMadeGreen" and can be reached
InwasteR is only a platform to share WaStory and the views and experience are purely of the author.