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'I Was A Sari' wins Circular Design Challenge Award

Feb '19
Courtesy: RIL
Courtesy: RIL
'I Was A Sari' has been adjudged the winner of the ‘Circular Design Challenge Award 2019’, India’s first award for sustainable fashion, at an event held at Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) Summer Resort 2019. The label by Stephano Funari and Poornima Pande will get an opportunity to present his/her collection at the upcoming Lakmé Fashion Week Winter Festive.

Reliance Industries Ltd.’s (RIL) ‘Fashion for Earth’ programme collaborated with UN Environment and LFW to launch the Circular Design Challenge to encourage designers and entrepreneurs to use innovative ideas by using materials from diverse waste sources including plastic. This initiative unraveled the country’s first award for circularity in fashion promoting sustainability across the value chain, and inspiring innovation and offering solutions to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion and textile industry in the country. The award is a recognition of the environmental champions of tomorrow in the Indian fashion and textiles industry.

The Circular Design Challenge, launched in August at the Winter Festive 2018 edition of LFW in collaboration with the UN Environment as a part of R Elan’s ‘Fashion for Earth’ initiative, received 900 entries from over 30 cities in India. In November 2018, a shortlist of 8 designers was announced who presented their collection at LFW summer resort 2019, and the eminent jury has selected the winner.

Poornima Pande and Stefano Funari from Mumbai are part of I was a Sari an eco-ethical lifestyle fashion brand. An underprivileged community of women in Mumbai made the products with the up-cycled pre-loved saris. Their designs utilise existing resources in terms of fabrics and materials and reinvent them into unique pieces. The winning collection comprised 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.

The award and a cheque of Rs 20 lakh has been presented by the chief guest Vipul, Shah, COO- petrochemicals business, Reliance Industries Ltd in the presence of Gunjan Sharma, CMO Polyester Business Reliance Industries Ltd., Atul Bagai, country head, UN Environment India and Jaspreet Chandok, vice president, head of fashion IMG Reliance, to Funari and Pande for their label. The jury gave an honourable mention for Bareek and Lifaffa.

The shortlisted designers who showcased their collections, demonstrated creativity, innovative usage of waste and ability to adopt sustainability and circularity in their collections. 

"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,” Jaspreet Chandok, head of fashion, IMG Reliance, 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," said Gunjan Sharma CMO-polyester business, Reliance Industries Ltd., 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,” Circular Design Challenge jury member and UN Environment India, country head, Atul Bagai said.

"The fabulous collections displayed here have further bolstered our view that the initiative like Circular Design Challenge is providing the enormous opportunities for budding concept creators, fashion designers and the entire textile value chain to exhibit their innovative ideas, designs with a focus on circularity and sustainability. We are confident that our various initiatives will help transform the entire Indian textile value chain to become a global leader in embedding circularity in their business strategy and operations," Bagai added. (RR)

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