Making Upcycling Stylish with Dwij

dwij founder soumya

Dwij was founded in Feb 2018 by Soumya Annapurna Kalluri, in the area of sustainability and circular economy initiatives, to address the ills of fast fashion. Fast fashion industry is considered to be the second most polluting industry in the world today, the highest being fossil fuel.

It takes as much as 946 liters of water to grow enough cotton for a pair of jeans and an average of 42 liters of water to achieve the typical faded appearance. In addition, other resources like chemicals, electricity and manpower are required in abundance. Dwij attempts to change that.

We meet with the founder to know her journey so far.

Tell us about your startup.

“dwij”, means second life (द्वि = Twice, ज = Born) in Sanskrit was founded with a mission to upcycle garments that would otherwise end up in landfill,
to make utility bags and other products. In today’s world where fast fashion has become the new norm, dwij has a vision to neutralize the impact of the same by reducing the dependency on virgin materials, and thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint of the final product. Another major objective of dwij is to increase the acceptability of an upcycled product in the minds of an average consumer.

How did you come across this idea?

In today’s world, fast fashion is all around us. Driven by the retail boom, we tend to impulsively buy new and trendy garments, by ignoring the perils of its manufacturing process and its disposal mechanism.
Denim is one of the textile materials that uses the most resources and chemical processes to produce. On account of its durability and versatility, denim has been chosen as the first material for the purpose of upcycling. We have a target of adding many more materials in our cycling portfolio in future.

What was the reaction from your family & friends?

They have always been encouraging and are happy to see my focus and determination.

Tell us about your startup journey so far?

dwijIn order to carry out this mission, dwij sources post consumer and post industrial jeans from chindi markets and is processed in house. dwij has a workshop facility in Mumbai, and also works with self help groups and ‘work-from-home’ women with an objective of empowering them to become more financially independent. Currenty we offer utility and shopping bags, handbags, slings, and other accessories like lunch bags, pouches etc. In addition to jeans, we also work with other types of post consumer and post industrial fabrics. Please feel free to visit www.dwijproducts.com for more details on our products.

What was the key challenge & how did you overcome it?

Our foremost challenge is to manage logistics for collection of jeans in a cost efficient manner through informal sector, and instilling trust and confidence with the collection workers. Repeated visits over many months resulted in instilling confidence and building trust, and to help set up a continuous channel of supply.

Please share your road map ahead.

We are experimenting with lot of other materials. We would love to be one stop solution for cost effective, and long lasting products made from post-consumer textiles.

If there is one thing you would like to give as a message, what would that be?

We would like to create awareness about the drawbacks of fast fashion, and show that effective upcycling can transform second-hand textile into usable material.

Till date, dwij has upcycled more than 2000 pair of jeans and manufactured more than 1200 bags. Do visit www.dwijproducts.com for more details.

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