Rebirth Of Sari In A New Avatar
By Lifestyle Food
It is uncanny how a sari can transform a casual look into a traditional Indian look in minutes. The six-yards is compulsory in the wardrobe of every Indian woman passed from one hand to another. But none has imagined up -cycling sari like Mr. Stefano Funari, who is giving the Saree a revival with his start-up “I was a Sari”.
In a chatting session with the LifeStyleFood, Stefano Funari opens up on his foray into this innovative and sustainable fashion sector. As the name suggests, I was a Sari works with pre-loved saris, pre- and post-consumer waste stock to craft contemporary garments and accessories. “I see I was a Sari as a label committed to zero waste—it’s an opportunity to work with materials and give them new life in terms of functionality and aesthetics,” says Stefano Funari, founder of the brand. But it was the “un-utilised” talent he saw in underprivileged women artisans that prompted him to take this further.
“Up-cycling and waste management can transform a regular sari into a contemporary piece of fashion”
Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar has the largest supply of pre-owned goods. A random visit to Chor Bazaar a few years back found Stefano in a warehouse full of pre-owned Sarees. As Stefano recalls “I bought ten of them, and I kept thinking that there was something major that could be done with them.” What he did gave birth to “I Was a Sari” in 2013
As the name suggests, I was a Sari transforms the pre-owned saris and the pre and post-consumer waste supply into contemporary garments and accessories. Stefano, the founder, perceives “I was a Sari” as a label that’s dedicated to zero waste and to give a voice to the talent in the underprivileged women artisans.
A bumpy ride
Working in a sustainable sphere comes with a myriad of challenges. Some of them are-working with unskilled artisans, cultivating a market culture & dealing with newcomers. I was a Sari is a self-financed project, relying on organic growth with no external funding– it is a challenge to provide work to the artisans all year through, and also monitor the changes in demand. The raw material is pre and post-consumer dead stock material; hence the firm constantly relies on the supply from unorganised sectors.
“Collaboration is the key whilst working in a small set up. Collaboration with numerous artisans, NGOs, students, and professional companies has made it possible to add uniqueness to our offering.”
USP of the products
The brand is very selective about the raw material. Prints, colors, fabric, everything should fit into the vision of the upcoming product. The art lies in upcycling a traditional piece into something that can find its room in the wardrobes of thousands of global consumers.
Creating a niche
One look was inspired by the art installation called the Tarpaulin Tapestries in collaboration with NY artist Aubrey Roemer. The jumbo bag used upcycled seatbelts, which is made in collaboration with an Italian eco-brand 959®. The other look – called the “NOW I CAN” was inspired by the beautiful stories of positive transformations in the lives of the women artisans when they learn new skills and become financially capable. The collaboration with Gucci Equilibrium’s local supply chain resulted in training the women artisans and also gave access to their leftover scrap material from production that is now upcycled to produce embroidery.
Your turn to make an impact!
Awareness is the most crucial step to make people take the path of sustainable practices in their daily lives. Then comes, providing sustainable options and solutions at a reasonable price without compromising on aesthetics. The younger generation is already much more informed and is constantly looking out for brands that help them support a sustainable lifestyle, and the demand will lead the supply. Bridging the gap between artisans and consumers is also paramount along with transparency in the supply chain. Social media and digital surge can help customers to know how clothes are manufactured and can choose wisely! It is time that we made informed choices and yet be chic!!