My dear eco-family,
Haven’t written a letter in a while, but I want to take this opportunity to talk to you the slow, old fashioned way. So here we go.
Up until a few years ago, I’d been living the life of an software engineer - turned - fashion technologist. Freshly graduated from NIFT, I took the usual path of working with some export houses and with domestic & international brands, trying to gain experience in design, merchandising, marketing & management.
Things changed when I realised that the fashion industry wasn’t as “fashionable and glamorous” as I assumed it to be. Working hours were extensive, heaps of cancelled shipments, negligible fair trade, unethical ways of consumption and alarming wastage. Let’s face it - it was toxic. It reminds of an incident at one of my older internships - Heaps of product sample waste, rejected consignments by vendors and flea-market sellers. This has apparently always been an issue with fast-fashion retailers. Only, we never know about it.
The concept of “Take Away” prices (making you feel they’re almost free) gets the consumer to buy more, thereby encouraging the industry to make more cheap clothing every season. This evil practice has eventually made the fashion industry the 2nd most polluting industry in the world, as we know.
More than 85% of discarded textiles end up in the landfills and 2,50,000 kgs of the same are added to the landfill every day. High use of cheap synthetic fibers, no ethical manufacturing / fair trade, greenwashing and the toxic working atmosphere are common malpractices.
The sad part is that fashion, however pretty, is DIRTY. After all, it does account for 8% of the annual global CO2 emissions, doesn’t it? To give you an idea, that’s 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted, according to Mckinsey. Talking about waste, An average consumer throws away 70 pounds (31.75 kilograms) of clothing per year. Globally, we produce 13 million tons of textile waste each year 95% of which could be reused or recycled.
I know, it’s a LOT.
I wondered, “We surely can’t go on like this. Was there a solution to this? A circular, zero-waste method maybe?””
Change had to be brought about and how.
That’s when I started my upcycling journey. Looking at all that waste, I started a small venture creating bags & accessories from factory waste. It was a pilot-run to understand customer behaviour towards sustainable fashion in India. Of course, awareness was slow and fast fashion was still spreading like wildfire. Trends were cool. Newness was everything. Still, there was a demand, however niche. But one man isn’t enough. It’s an overall game of supply chain systems and collective ethical and sustainable behaviour, needed to be practised by all. And so, the change in question had to also be collective.
And that gave birth to UPCYCLELUXE with a concept of bringing together authentic ethical & sustainable fashion & lifestyle products on a single platform with “plastic-freebeing the norm” and “zero-waste a lifestyle.”
A proud moment for our team was when Upcycleluxe was selected for the UN Women's industry Disruptor, WeEmpowerAsia program. It showed us that we were on the right track.
But, this wasn’t enough. Upcycleluxe stands out because of its science - integrated solutions into the platform that calculates the environmental impact of each product in terms of carbon emission, water & energy saving, etc and let consumers #KnowYourImpact. This is how we define the sustainability of a product here at UpcycleLuxe.
Sincerely hoping I didn’t put you off to sleep :D
And here I’ll take your leave.
Founder & CEO