Oh Scrap! founded by Priyanjoli Basu and Dominique Lopez, upcycles fabric scraps in Chennai and strongly advocates conscious consumerism.
What is a common misconception people have about sustainable brands?
Price and pricing. Some sustainable brands are affordable. It is also a better long term investment: the sustainable item you have bought or you are ready to buy is likely to last longer because it has been handmade with love and with natural product base.
When it comes to research, learning about sustainability gets overwhelming, how would you explain it in brief?
Indeed, it is not always simple to make the best sustainable choices. We are still learning everyday! One thing that we have learned is that sustainability is a journey, and it is even more overwhelming if you start everything at the same time. So our advice will be to start with one action or one change, once this one is implemented, move on to the next one. No one has become a zero waste individual in 1 day, it comes gradually and it is a adventure definitely worth engaging into. If you were to change into a more conscious living, start by eliminating plastic from your bathroom, it is probably easier to start with. Select your sources (website, Instagram) and don’t hesitate to ask questions or do the research yourself. Some of the solutions may be at the corner of your street, rethink local; also think practical as you will also have to embark the people living with you along.
As sustainable Co-founders, which is the most important value or belief that connected the two of you?
Friendship and giving back to the society while doing our best to avoid damaging our environment.
What are some ways to give your preloved clothes a new life?
Depending on the condition of the garment, 4 words: repair, thrift, donate, upcycle. And for all of those words, Oh scrap! actually offers solutions.
Children learn from their parents, what would your advice be to parents when it comes to teaching them about clothing and its impact on the environment?
Teach your children how to care and value their clothes. Make them understand that having more is not a purpose (and this is actually valid for a lot of other things than just clothes).
Our grandparents always taught us how to value things and re-purpose them, what changed?
Everything has changed with fast fashion and the way people are handling their belongings. Now most of clothes bought in fast fashion stores are discarded after 6 months. Or you wear them once or twice and get bored. We need to come back to values passed on by our grandparents: care, repair, re-purpose!
Tell us more about how you empower the women who work with you.
We started one year ago with 1 lady tailor, and we are now up to 3 in our team. They all come from economically deprived backgrounds. Stitching from home and the collaboration with Oh scrap! allows them to bring additional income into their household. That was especially important for us during COVID time (well it is still COVID time) and lockdown when we are managing to maintain their income. The impact is not only economical, we are providing them with regular training and exploring new techniques with them so they also improve their stitching skills and range of abilities. The training not only involves stitching but also adequate use of fabric scrap, from learning to cut for less waste to re-use and re-collect the fabric waste they have produced.
As a brand that uses scraps to make products and creates minimal wastage, what could clothing brands learn from your practices?
At Oh Scrap! we actually don’t make waste are all, all our fabric scraps are being repurposed. The most important thing is to efficiently cut your initial fabric to avoid wastage. And make sure to find a local partner who can use or re-use your fabric scrap, it can be an organisation like Oh Scrap! or a trustful local Kabadiwallah.
The sustainable community believes in sharing and empowering each other, tell us about some of your partners who have been a part of your journey.
The small sustainable business community has been extremely supportive in helping us navigate and build our brand stronger. Our current partnerships shared the same conviction: our impact and actions will touch more people if we collaborate. Also there is only so much that Oh Scrap! can do and so much more that needs to be done!
We are currently collaborating with the Relove Closet (thrifting platform on Instagram) where you can buy preloved clothes and accessories and some part of the sales are going for a selected good cause.
We are also collaborating with India Wasted who is collecting and upcycling dry waste in Chennai and working on improving fabric waste collection and upcyling in the locality.
Our products are also sold on sustainable platforms like Refash and BrownLiving.
Describe what fashion means to you in a few words.
"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, in the way we live and what is happening around us."- Coco Chanel
Fashion is a means to express one's ideas, culture, values, interests and personality. Fashion has been evolving since the 19th century. Even though fashion has evolved through decades of constantly creating demand by being stylish and fascinating, its impact on the environment is becoming increasingly hazardous. Being one of the biggest players in the global economy, the fashion industry holds the responsibility to protect and save the environment and its precious resources. Insatiable and increasing demand is putting undue pressure on the environment. The culture of affordable shopping has led to increase in the number of shopaholics, thus increasing shopping.
The fashion industry with its ever changing trends has had a big role to play in polluting the environment. But with growing awareness among the consumers, many apparel manufacturers have switched to employing eco-friendly methods of production.
Head to https://www.instagram.com/ohscrapmadras/ to know more about Oh Scrap!