by Shubhi Srivastava
01-February-2019 | 5 mins read
India’s first award for sustainable fashion, Circular Design Challenge Award 2019, was bagged by I WAS A SARI at a gala event held at Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) Summer Resort 2019, in Mumbai. The brainchild of Stephano Funari and Poornima Pande, I WAS A SARI has now gets the opportunity to showcase their collection at the Lakmé Fashion Week Winter Festive 2019 along with a handsome prize amount of Rs. 20 lac.
Launched in August at LFW Winter Festive 2018 , the Circular Design Challenge was a collaborative effort of UN Environment and R Elan under the latter’s ‘Fashion for Earth’ initiative. Eight finalists, selected out of 900 entries from over 30 cities in India, presented their collection at LFW summer resort 2019 Day 2, following which, the winner was announced.
Gunjan Sharma, CMO Polyester Business Reliance Industries Ltd. in the presence of Atul Bagai, Country Head, UN Environment India and Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President, Head of Fashion IMG Reliance, awarded the winners, while mentioning about the tremendous performance of the runners-up, Aman Singh of label Bareek and Kanika Ahuja of label Lifaffa.
The platform was an opportunity to urge the new designers and entrepreneurs to utilise materials from diverse waste sources including plastic with the power of innovation. It marked the introduction of India’s first award for circularity in fashion promoting sustainability throughout the value and in turn inspire individuals to reduce the harmful impact fashion industry imparts on the environment.
The jury included the industry’s eminent names such as Mickey Boardman (Editorial director and advice columnist for Paper Magazine), Bandana Tewari (Lifestyle Journalist, Sustainable Activist and Columnist, Business of Fashion), Rahul Mishra (Indian Fashion & Textile Designer, Winner of International Woolmark Prize 2014), Harsha Vardhan (Global Environment Lead – Supply Chain, H&M Group), Atul Bagai (Country Head, UN Environment India) and Neha Dhupia, (Indian Film Actress and Producer).
Jaspreet Chandok, Head of Fashion, IMG Reliance said, “We are very excited for our first winner of the Circular Design Challenge. The crucial part for us is now to track and develop the business and ensure genuine impact to the circular and sustainable narrative.”
While congratulating I WAS A SARI, Gunjan Sharma CMO- Polyester Business, Reliance Industries Ltd. said: “Well done I WAS A SARI, for displaying superb scalable fusion of circularity, sustainability and the latest trends in fashion. I am pleasantly surprised to see the collections of all shortlist participants as the creativity quotient has transformed the circularity and sustainability outlines into workable fashion.”
CDC jury member and UN Environment India, Country Head, Atul Bagai said, “It is evident from the sustainable collections showcased in the Circular Design Challenge that circularity in fashion has unprecedented benefits not just for the fashion industry and business but also for the environment. Circular fashion can and should be mainstreamed to drastically reduce the fashion and textile industry’s environmental footprint.”
I WAS A SARI champions up-cycling by reusing existing resources in terms of fabrics and materials and reinvent them into unique pieces. A joint effort of NIFT graduate Poornima Pande, and Stefano Funari , the graduate of Universita Bocconi in Italy, it is an eco-ethical lifestyle fashion brand based out of Mumbai. All the products were made by an underprivileged community of women in Mumbai, who had up-cycled pre-loved saris to make a collection encompassing of recycling of plastic tarpaulin into a raincoat, bag and umbrella, a 3D appliquéd garment, bags and shoes as well as a men’s wear creation, long T shirt with funky logo and carry bag.
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