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Filtering by Tag: startups


Gauri Sharma

By Sanya Arora

Sanya is studying Fashion Marketing at the Pearl Academy and is interning with DOT for the summer, with a focus on fashion and garment manufacturing. Building on her interest in ethical fashion, she has written an interesting piece on niche, Indian fashion labels in the upcycling space. Great brands that need to be talked about!


How does one add value to the discarded lot? How about using the same which was lost?

Low-cost clothing inspired by high-cost luxury trends has created a mass industry of “fast fashion”. The fast fashion industry is booming where billions of new designs are created and accepted worldwide, which further generates employment opportunity for huge number of skilled and unskilled workers in the Indian textile industry. While the outer face of the industry is all glammed up with stylish products, the internal space needs much consideration and support. The concept of ‘fast fashion’ relies on the model in which clothes only last for a short period of time and are easily replaceable. The result is a wave of over-consumption and over-dumping at a mass level. However there is good news in the form of a new trend for creating an environment of zero waste - the upswing of ‘upcycling’ in fashion industry.

People usually tend to blur the meaning of the two terms ‘upcycling’ and ‘recycling’ but there exists a contrasting difference between the two. Recycling involves breaking down of the product (usually plastic, glass, paper etc.) into raw material form, so that it can be made into a new product. Whereas upcycling is a process in which product is reconstructed or redesigned to make another product. It reduces waste as pre-industrial, pre-consumer and post-consumer waste is not thrown away but simply reworked into a new product. Upcycling is no new concept, it has been a part of our Indian culture since 1930’s and 40’s when our families used to reuse almost everything - but now the old is new again, with some improvements.

Making something new and artistic with something you once believed is useless is true art. A lot of young designers have taken up this trend. Here are some start-up fashion labels that are not only committed to upcycling but are also trying to change the consumer mindset with their ethical and sustainable initiatives, contributing towards making a more environmentally and socially viable world.


Delhi-based fashion clothing brand, Doodlage is strongly dedicated to an ethical idea of upcycling and recycling. They focus on using the untouched, not worn or barely worn clothing of your wardrobes and turning them into nice and trendy upcycled or recycled clothing. They work on recycling, reconstructing and redesigning old vintage collections with added trims and prints. Every garment is unique in its own way, using sustainable fabrics and different cuts and colours.

Follow them on thei Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Mehera Shaw

Jaipur-based brand, Mehera Shaw is an affordable, upcycled and artisanal lifestyle brand producing a number of product categories for environmentally conscious women. Their upcycling project takes into use post-consumer waste like scraps, fabrics, trims and threads to create value-added accessories. Their vision is built on using low impact fabric, fair labor garment production and educating customers about the concept.

Follow them on their Website, Facebook and Instagram


Mumbai-based brand, Ka-Sha by Karishma Shahani Khan, strongly focuses on an ethical waste policy for creating her collection. One thing which grabs the intention of many people is her unique way of designing, where everyday textile (cotton or linen) is mixed with a beautiful Indian craft - be it a different dye or an unusual modern silhouette. Her collection has got reasonable attention in many international and domestic publications.

Follow them on their WebsiteFacebook and Instagram

Conserve by Shalabh and Anita Ahuja

Conserve is a great initiative based in Bahadurgarh, Haryana. It was founded by Shalabh and Anita with a focus on using waste in the production of new products. They upcyle plastic bags and reinvent them as fashion accessories. They are socially and environmentally responsible as they employ ragpickers to collect and manage waste, which they refashion into daily lifestyle products.  The profit which they make is also spent on social welfare projects.

Follow them on their Website, Facebook


Delhi-based designer Aneeth Arora’s label, Péro, makes one- of- a- kind products by adding Indian-ness to its entire garment. Péro uses its unique skill of being sustainable for creating upcycled/recycled wearable garments from reusable fabrics. The inspiration is taken from the local people who are stylish and trendy without any effort and hence each product by this label evokes some sense of culture from where it originates.

Follow them on their Website, Facebook and Instagram

House of Wandering Silk

Delhi-based social enterprise, House of Wandering Silk works with cooperatives, NGOs and women artisans across Asia to create beautifully designed clothes, accessories and home décor. The label has setup a distinct image for itself by using old saris and reusing them by turning into scarves, shrugs and neckpieces. Each product under this label has a unique story to tell which makes the customer want their ethical products.

Follow them on their Website, Facebook and Instagram

Eco Wings

Eco wings, founded five years ago, is playful, stylish and India’s finest brand providing upcycled accessories.  They are making conscious efforts by adopting each and every possible way to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment. They have fashionable and trendy products made out of truck and bike tire tubes, marble slurry, waste cotton cloth, and tin etc.

Follow them Website, Facebook and Pinterest


Jaggery is an independent designer brand that uses industrial waste for making ethical, green products. The brand uses seatbelts and tarpaulins for making bags and other accessories. Along with this, as a part of their social responsibility project ‘oneBagoneTree’, they plant one tree for each purchase made from their website. The brand takes pride in helping reforest the world and hence protecting the environment.

Follow them their Website, Facebook and Instagram


Laura Quinn

By Anant Shrivastava

Created by Diego Naïve, from the Noun Project

Created by Diego Naïve, from the Noun Project

BSE CSR platform ‘Samman’ to launch finally?

According to this Hindu article, the platform which has been talked about since April 2015 and aims to connect companies with NGOs to facilitate both parties in undertaking social activities using CSR funding will go live before the end of this year. It will certainly be useful for companies to find credible, transparent organizations and programmes of interest to be funded. However, NGOs that cannot/do not get themselves listed on the platform stand at a risk of not being funded. We hope companies are open-minded while looking for programmes to fund and don’t limit themselves to just the thousand or so organisations that will be listed on Samman.

Companies Act may be amended for clarity on CSR norms

Based on the recommendations submitted by the Government appointed Baijal Committee in September, certain rules as well as the Act could be changed to allow greater transparency around CSR spending. The panel is expected to submit the final report to the MCA in December. Changes are expected to provide greater clarity on many ambiguous areas of the CSR rules including the differential tax treatment of various forms of CSR expenditure as mentioned in this Business-Standard article. In the present scenario where the rules are vague in places and left open to interpretation, such an amendment should prove to be beneficial for all stakeholders in the game.

India ranks no.1 on CSR reporting (but there’s more to it in the fine print..)

India tops the world in CSR reporting with 100% of its top 100 companies reporting on their CSR initiatives. While this is good news, it is hardly surprising given that the government mandates companies above a certain size to report on CSR activities. What is worrying though is the quality of reporting – something where India lags behind many countries. According to this Livemint article, it’s clear that corporate India still has a long way to go before it starts to produce high quality responsibility reporting especially issues such as carbon emissions. Perhaps decisions taken in the ongoing CoP 21 in Paris will distill down to corporate India and make them realize the importance of accurate and high quality sustainability reporting. Only time will tell.

State govt. requests CSR funds for tribal development

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis requested corporates to utilize CSR funds for the benefit of the tribal population of Maharashtra. This is a good example of government identifying the challenges that can then be addressed by corporate India through CSR funding. However we’ve stressed this before and would like to say this again – participation in such govt. led initiatives should be voluntary and unwillingness on companies’ part to contribute for such initiatives should not come at a cost or penalization in any way.

Transparency for CSR funds should be a two way street

Companies often go to great lengths to ensure that the NGO partners they work with are transparent, ethical, and corruption free organisations. This involves a rigorous due diligence process and rightly so as there are many NGOs that are corrupt and end up utilising CSR funds for vested interests. But shouldn’t the companies be transparent as well when it comes to their expectations from NGOs, processes for grant giving etc. to help NGOs apply for funding? This article written by the development director of a hospital describes the tedious and unnecessary process NGOs often have to go through to just gather information about available corporate funding. We feel that just as NGOs need to step up their game and become professional in order to secure funding, companies also need to structure their grant giving mechanisms efficiently to benefit the NGOs and ultimately the society in the most efficient way. 

Mark Kramer on why a philanthropic model of CSR has limited benefits

Mark Kramer, co-founder and Managing Director of consultancy FSG, stressed in an interview the limitations of a purely philanthropic model and talks about the need for a profit-driven business model for addressing social issues. We agree entirely that, although the traditional CSR model can help to address social problems, there is a critical need to look at social issues from a business perspective. A commercial angle brings greater accountability, professionalism, and often, better resources to tackle challenges than a purely charity-based approach.

Social mission and profit are not mutually exclusive, even for startups

India is on its way to becoming a startup hub (if it’s not there already). But not many startups have a clear social mission or ‘purpose’. The reason is often that they are too busy focusing on other vital aspects of business like, well, starting up! But social consciousness can and should be a part of business strategy for start-ups from day one. Plenty of studies exist to show that a social agenda adds to long term profitability of a company. The same applies to start-ups as well. This article tells the story of how Warby Parker, an online glasses retailer, was able to derive success by being a socially responsible company from the beginning.

Tying CSR with climate change

The climate change conference in Paris in November and December, aimed at helping around 196 nations make decisions on mitigating climate change, is expected to be followed by significant policy changes at national and global levels. Implementation of such policies will come at an added cost that will be borne by multiple stakeholders including governments and the corporate sector. How can the government and companies work together to utilise the mandatory CSR spending to ensure maximum positive environmental impact? A Didar Singh, the secretary general of FICCI, provides insights in this article.

PSUs fare better than private sector in Oxfam’s IRBF 2015 index

Oxfam Foundation released the India Responsible Business Index in October that measures the BSE top 100 companies’ on voluntary disclosures and policy commitments against the National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs). According to this index, PSUs are doing better than private sector on criteria such as non-discrimination at workplace, community development, respecting human rights and employee dignity, and involving the community as stakeholders in business. The only area where private companies fare better is instituting sustainable policies in their supply chain. We think that initiatives like this that put out such information in the public domain have an effect of motivating companies to do more on sustainability and reporting front. For complete information on IRBF, visit