ECOKAARI – humanising fashion
No wonder the actor of brave choices Ayushmann Khurrana was seen promoting their upcycled golden jacket for the promotions of his latest ”Chandigarh Kare Ashiqi.“ The jacket in question has been made in trademark Ecokaari style from golden gift wrappers and old audio cassette tapes handwoven on charkha and handloom by women artisans.
Now go read that again and notice how everything we want from our planet(recycling waste) everything we want for our country(small businesses run by women) And everything we want for our future generations (going back to eco-friendly means of production that is non-polluting for the environment like handspun charkha) all that we need to achieve is there in this amazing enterprise called Ecokaari. Ecokaari is a mix of two words, eco-friendy and Kaarigari (Craftsmanship).
So what does Ecokaari do?
They save waste like plastic wrappers, old cassette tapes and such from going into landfills and in turn give livelihood to artisans, women abs youth. As Nandan Bhatt, the CEO and the innovator behind this brilliant enterprise explained that they follow the reverse model of business wherein they first create a demand for their unique product through market research and public awareness and then train the women artisans on charkha and handloom to make the products.
They collect plastic in form of gift wrappers, packets of chips and cookies then colour-wise segregation of plastics happens followed by sanitization, the process of plastic upcycling is entirely manual. No machine, heat, or chemicals are used in the process. Then it is left to dry in sun. Later it is segregated. The plastic is then cut into strips. Handloom and traditional Charkha are used to make fabric out of the cut pieces from which various products are made In fact a variety of products, including bags, accessories, office stationery, laptop sleeves, footwear, home decor products etc.” The firm upcycles 300-400 kgs of plastic waste every month.
Ecokaari has infact tied up with several brands as well to create awareness about the diversity and usability of the recycled plastic weave.
They tied up with Murtle(the modular shoe company ) and made changeable straps for their innovative slippers.
Recently they also tied up with ace designer Gaurav Gupta to make gilded jackets from packets of crisps and daily consumables.
Nandan Bhatt the man behind this extremely unique enterprise says that as a Kashmiri he is deeply connected to nature and henceforth wanted to do anything and everything to preserve and protect it. it was on one of his treks to the Sahyadri range in Maharashtra that he realised that the litter left-back by travellers was spoiling the beauty of the area and until and unless a sustainable process to handle litter is given nothing can be done to prevent the large mass of building landfills.
He then researched options and also came across the shrivelled up livelihoods of the fishermen villages near Ratnagiri
And that’s when he started training the women and youth to make the fabric on handloom and charkha and the process of conservation through livelihood started. Ecokaari makes fabulous products that are very very affordable beautifully curated and extremely usable in daily lives ye, t covid and the general lack of awareness has not been an impetus. Website sales, corporate gifts, bulk orders, handloom outlets, exports and third-party e-commerce sites are all in place all slowly responding yet not as much as our earth would like us to respond to an enterprise that recycles up to 400kgs of waste plastic every month.
And not only that but also has been super innovative with their products like folders for Ministry of Women and youth or gifts for the Parliaments winter session all usable all that we need. I have infact personally used their planters made from waste packets of chips. I had got these about two years ago and they have withstood rain heat and other rough handling and my plants are blooming beautifully in them and the planters look beautiful too.
Based out of Pune Ecokaari has a unique collection model for waste too. You can actually send them to waste from your homes and they will tackle for you. They also take up waste from waste pickers and companies that generate them. They take in for recycling four types of waste. Polythene, grocery plastic bags, multilayered wrappers of cookies, chips, detergents, glittery gift wrappers, old music and videotapes and cassettes and all packaging from your online orders of Amazon, Myntra, FlipKart etc. Yes, they take your plastic, provide livelihood, make beautiful useable products and yet we are waiting to make that call to them.
We are waiting to segregate our plastic. We are waiting for the lord to know what to be a part of the change to be part of a sustainable movement and an affordable one. The solution is right there in Nandan Bhatt’s enterprise all it needs is for us to change— change the way we consume, change the way we dispose of, change the way we recycle.
National and international recognition has not been lacking for this exceptional enterprise, from Swiss awards to recognition at the home front from Pune city all in place yet a change of mindset is what is awaited.
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