Upcycled Fashion Using Vintage Sari Fabrics



Silk is an indispensable part of Indian Culture. For centuries it has been considered auspicious to wear and gift Silk Sarees on weddings and religious celebrations. No matter which part of the country you live in, silk has its roots spread everywhere. You would surely find a treasured trace of this culture in your Grand mother’s vintage trunk or perhaps somewhere placed in your mother’s wardrobe. Such was a craze for silk sarees in those times and before.


Silk, also known as Resham in North India is a natural fiber produced from the cocoons of mulberry silkworms through a process called sericulture. The yarn produced in the process is used to weave a variety of textiles. The fabric is well known for its shimmering texture and richness. India today is the largest producer of silk in the world after China. Celebrations playing a vital role, India also is known for its largest consumption of silk.


One gets to see a variety of silk sarees produced across different states of the country. Women across all these regions have got a high sentimental value attached to silk sarees. They consider handing it down to their daughters as a prosperous mark to new beginnings. Also, silk sarees are offered to goddesses during celebrations, which shows the religious significance it holds in the hearts of people.


But Gradually as fast fashion came up, manufacturers began producing cheaper silk alternatives. These alternatives though came with a huge environmental cost.


Someone who has little knowledge of fabrics will find it hard to differentiate between silk and silk likes. Usually, these artificial silk fabrics are either produced from wood pulp or are a product of petroleum-based manufacturing.  At first glance, they appear to be similar to silk concerning shine and texture, however, one can differentiate pure silk by taking a few tests based on touch, sight, and smell.


Over the past few decades, the trend of artificial silk took a toll on the Indian population. However, with increased awareness of the hazardous implication of textile production on the environment,  a different perspective came into the picture. People started looking for solutions to address the problem of resource scarcity and waste disposal. That’s where the concept of Upcycled fashion came to rescue.


The rise of Upcycled fashion


Upcycled fashion is about reusing and reviving the existing fabrics instead of producing fresh pieces of cloth. This is one effective idea that hits several marks with a single shot. One, being the re-channeling of used vintage garments from being dumped into landfills to usable apparel and decor. Second, it substitutes fresh production which could consume a lot of water resources and add to the issue of waste disposal, yet again.


After having draped a Saree for good long years, women either have them piled in a forgotten corner or get rid of them by way of donation to fetch some space for a new collection. These pieces of vintage fineness then find their home in creative souls who upcycle it into dresses, scarves, home decor, and whatnot.


Many designers and organizations, over the past few years, took a stand to stop mindless consumerism. They surely did have to face their set of challenges to explain their idea of Upcycled fashion. It wasn’t easy to convince people, especially Indians who hesitate to buy used clothes. But when the same clothes are upcycled and turned into wearable garments, there is a sudden value addition that people find easier to accept.


Contribution of Upcycled fashion


Upcycled fashion surely does its significant bit for the environment, but there are other factors too that add up to the strength of the whole concept. Let us have a look below to comprehend the whole idea better.


Preserves history and sentimental value


Upcycled fashion stands on the ground of reusing what already is there, instead of producing more. In India, Sarees are passed on from generation to generation by mothers to their daughters. These Sarees are therefore not just a symbol of heritage but also have a high emotional quotient attached to it. Upcycling them into wearable garments helps in preserving both - the history and the sentimental value.


Diverting waste into products


When talking about sustainability, we need to understand that Sustainability is not just about consuming good, it also is about conserving the good. When we recycle an old piece of cloth, we are diverting it from the landfills to wearable garments and accessories. These upcycled garments, on the other hand, substitute a fresh production, which saves us a significant quantity of water resources and waste disposal.


Standing out with style


Getting your apparel customized with a great vintage aesthetic ensures that you set your very own style statement. Having that said, you will never have to worry about bumping into a person wearing the same outfit as yours. You can just play around with your snazzy aura along with the pride of playing it right!


Considers Social and Environmental Cost


Upcycled fashion is a much broader concept than financial gain. Besides taking care of the profits, has made an inclusive space for social and environmental obligations. Creation out of discarded fabrics calls out for skilled workers, and thus generates employment for local artisans. Moreover, it helps in controlling carbon emissions by substituting fresh production.




Vintage fabrics are often procured from the home collection of women who no longer need them. As they are used clothes, they are purchased at a price much lower than fresh raw material. This allows the production of garments at a lower financial cost, thus making it affordable for the ultimate consumers.


Our Offering to Upcycled Fashion



We, at Sanskriti India, strongly uphold the concept of upcycled fashion. With an experience of 10 years in the field, we have created a good network of suppliers of vintage sarees. All the fabrics that we procure are ethically sourced from registered dealers and household collections. Women, who have old sarees piled up in some corner of their home, find their way out through this channel and make their bit of contribution to the well being of the environment.


Then we have thoughtful customers, full of energy and sense of responsibility who add a glam of versatility to these forgotten pieces of fabrics. Most of our customers are designers who have a keen interest in studying about Indian tradition and heritage. They use these fabrics to bring out a better version of it and thus save the history from getting lost in already stuffed landfills.


To ensure that we are on the track of our social and environmental obligations, we undertake several tests, including burn tests to differentiate pure silk sarees from artificial ones. This helps us in staying true to our commitment to quality.


Many times, we are asked questions about, why we do what we do. Though it was hard to explain our idea initially, we find answering worth it now. Dealing in used fabrics was a challenging task in our country. We were often questioned on our choice of doing what we did until it took the shape of a well-accepted concept of sustainability. And we are on our mission to explain the masses that we can not preserve the future unless we preserve the past.


When we have so much produced to live on already, why not save the surplus, so that there is enough for generations to come as well. Upcycled fashion is the most creative way of doing just that.

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