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In the 19th and early 20th century, jersey wasn't a luxurious fabric to begin with and was mainly used in making undergarments for men. However, partly inspired and partly due to financial constraints, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel invested in this ordinary fabric. Comfortable, practical, and breathable, with jersey fabric, Coco Chanel beckoned the prospective clients to change their perception around jersey. She subsequently, crafted smart and fuss-free outfits with this largely-overlooked fabric and made jersey a mainstream fabric, good enough to make something as chic as a skirt-suit.
Fashion, has over the years, provided answers and forced realisation on the part of the customers. For instance, when Anavila Misra came up with linen sarees, the Indian fashion connoisseurs were surprised, for linen is a difficult fabric to weave; it breaks easily. However, given the challenges, Anavila designed linen sarees and the sarees made out of this coarse cotton fabric became an instant hit for these lightweight sarees offered understated elegance and freedom of movement - something that working professionals relate to. Now, on the day 2 of the ongoing FDCI x LFW, another solution came in the form of tarpaulin.
The second day started with the R|Elan Fashion for Earth presents Circular Design Challenge in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme. The challenge had six shortlisted entrepreneurs presenting their collections and stories via respective digital presentations. The denims couture, scarves-turned-into-sling bags, textured upcycled outfits, contemporary jacket-inspired sarees from old heirlooms, and modern-vintage outfits, were the interesting concepts introduced at the Circular Design Challenge but tarpaulin material was what really made it exciting.
Tarpaulin is something that we see on the tin sheds while driving through a countryside. When we think tarpaulin, we think tents or something that cars in the garage would be covered with. It is basic, doesn't feel soft-like chiffon, meant for a rugged lifestyle, and most of all unglamorous. But on the Day 2, tarpaulin emerged as a winner and the Goa-based brand, which brought tarpaulin on the forefront, Bandit, was awarded 20-lakh cash prize and they also earned an opportunity to showcase their collection at the next season of fashion week.
Founded in 2018 by Satyajit Vetoskar, the designer at the challenge, revealed about one of his bags, "As you can see, we've made our products from tarpaulin, which is a waste and excess. The backpack is made from that (tarpaulin), the straps are made from car seatbelts, the lining inside is from waste cotton." Post the presentation by the designer, the digital medium showed models flaunting different tarpaulin bags highlighted by an equal mix of bold and muted hues, with yellow as the most striking colour.
It was easy to see an appeal and commercial viability in the winning-brand's products, which included backpacks, fannypacks, slings, laptop sleeves, and totes. Firstly, 'the excess material' (tarpaulin), as the brand's founder had put it, protects a product from wind, rain, and sun, which is where Bandit's products seemed meaningful and didn't give a vibe that it is not just another brand wasting resources or overusing a fabric but rather a brand putting these often-ignored and common resources into use and producing something that holds relevance. The brand made tarpaulin fashionable; go to their website and you'll find how the brand has occasionally collaborated with artists, designers, musicians, and photographers, to manufacture bags, which appeal to the 'woke' customers, who are often driven by personality and unique quotient. And who doesn't need an economically-priced bag! Bandit found a solution.
Pics Courtesy: Instagram