Environment-friendly fashion doesn’t have to be boring and create a hole in your pockets. ‘Patch Over Patch’ by Kavisha Parikh brings forward styles and aesthetics that redefines ethical wearables with an edge
I have always been a true patron of the saying that fashion can elevate oneself. The art of clothing and dressing up has been an important saga for emotional upliftment. But, according to reports, it hasn’t been a true friend of the environment. However, there are brands and activists fighting continuously at reducing the waste impact. Housed in Surat, Gujarat Kavisha Parikh has been changing the definition of ‘upcycled clothes’. If you thought sustainable and ethical fashion is based on boring and ill-coloured designs, she has made sure that environmentally-responsible clothing, too, can be bold, edgy and in trends.
Kavisha started her label ‘Patch Over Patch’ that defines her love for colours, textures and forms. She explains, “As a designer, I am always inspired and love working with the foundations of design language – playing with the colours, textures, lines and so on. I love to dive deep into the very basic detailing of colours. The power of hues has always given me the drive to work and create.” She creates classic silhouettes out of textile remnants patched together, the leftover patches are consciously selected, combined and blended into meaningful designs and patterned outfits.
‘Patch Over Patch’ has carefully used post-production waste to create upcycled clothing. Fair, minimalistic and social approach of design – her collections include an interesting mix of kimono jackets, shift dresses, top wears where each new garment denotes a new life being re-created. She recalls, “Since the early days of my graduation project or in other jobs, I have been in constant connect with the theory and ways of sustainable fashion. For me, upcycling is like a playground where I continuously work or play around with the material. Patch Over Patch is like an experiential brand where one can make full use, retain and experience the texture and material involved. We play around the colours and the process of upcycling to bring forth our articles of clothing”
The brand incorporates and works with the local artisans of Surat, uplifting and supporting them. Their slogan ‘Know your rhythm’ emphasises upon one’s unique pace and the cycle of work zone. “Everybody works by their own rhythm. Life is all about knowing and working within one’s own free space. As a brand, we are always working with materials and fabrics, making a creative space among ourselves, keeping us inspired, improving our connections and bonds and rebuilding our brand.” says the confident designer.
As the fashion industry is already heading towards a grave environment problem, it is time to understand that waste is a design flaw. But, creatives like Kavisha has made sure that unwanted scraps of clothing do not end up polluting more, instead give a new reform to the style of reimaging design aesthetics. “Initially, we started to collect from the fabric shops. Most of the stores had discarded materials like 1-2 metres of clothing that you cannot process or put into use to make an item of clothing. We make sure to make the fullest reuse of unwanted materials. Later, we discovered that there is a market in Surat that engages with all of the discarded fabrics, coming from the mills. We engage with a careful and conscious selection of the fabrics, we make sure we do not randomly choose materials to work upon. It all depends upon conscious decisions” she explains.
Ups and Downs:
Patch Over Patch retails online, out of select stores in Goa, Bengaluru and also abroad like HongKong, Macau, Dubai. However, it wasn’t easy for the young designer. She says, “Initially when I started, I wasn’t focussed on the marketing part. I was always more into the design aesthetics of the label. Of course, now, we have started focussing on the marketing – selling it to other cities, online buying. Regarding the upcycling process, I have figured it now and have my expertise on how to keep churning the cycle of reusing discarded materials, fabrics for all clothes that we make or design. Also, the struggle-some part was-how to scale up the business and the production (not in a massive, bulky manner).” Their ruffled scrap jackets, kimono jackets and minimalist dresses tend to be the favourite among the masses.
The world of upcycling has exploded in the past few years, and there is a plethora of inspirational design in this facet of eco-fashion. Kavisha has been able to connect both the millennial edgy aesthetics and the requirement to be a part of ethical fashion. She further explains, “As a brand, we are able to connect with our audience because of the aesthetics game. I think sustainability isn’t the term to define ourselves. It’s isn’t that what drives our audience. It’s more of the style, the aesthetics that they enjoy and comes along with upcycling. As a brand, our goal is definitely to leave less carbon footprint. There are some processes that we are still figuring out. It’s a big dimension and we are happy to be a part of that community”
The fashion industry is known for its massive waste problem. But, why is the propaganda of negative reports given more leverage? Being the second largest industry in the world, there are also activists, brands and artists who work tirelessly at reducing the waste impact. By focusing on artisanal labour, local supply chains, reduction of energy and water, elimination of discarded materials, and minimal waste, designers and labels also put forward eco-friendly fashion that is affordable and brands like Patch Over Patch may just be the forerunners.