GAF: Let us ask the most important and obvious question first: what is the concept behind your company, Doodlage?
Doodlage started with a simple concept of creating a holistic sustainable fashion and lifestyle brand upcycling industrial scraps. We have grown each year to expand our vision and area of operation. Today we not only upcycle waste, we take care of our own waste by processing that into bags, home products or even paper that is used to create our garment tags. Our packaging created from left over fabrics allows consumers to reuse our bags. Our next goal is to think about post-consumer waste and how we can make a difference in that area.
GAF: Where do you source the wasted/ unwanted fabric pieces from? Is it just India or other countries as well?
We source from manufacturing units in and around Delhi.
GAF: How does the entire process of garment customizing and designing look like, given the amount of effort you must put on segregating the pieces as per sizes/ colors?
Fabrics come to us as left over panels from post cutting waste, defected fabrics and end of the line fabrics. We work to fix the defects in fabric lengths and create lengths of paneled fabrics to maximize production of each piece to create many short collections. Fabric we waste is separated into light and dark color stories. Darker colors are used to make home products and bag collections. Lighter scraps are sent out to make paper that is used to create our garment tags.
GAF: How easy or difficult was it to start this ethical brand, especially in the Indian market? Do you think we, as Indians, are evolved enough to understand the importance of an ethical lifestyle?
When we started Doodlage, the idea was only to create good looking products, the ethical side of the brand was more for us or as a feel good factor for the consumer post consumption. But over the years we have seen the consumer evolve. There is a niche consumer who are just looking for more consciously made products but there is a much larger audience that is sensitive enough to understand the need for a brand like Doodlage and would love to convert into a loyal consumer if the product was more accessible both price-wise and availability-wise. This has encouraged us to work towards making the brand bigger.
GAF: How do you educate your prospective consumers as well as your team members about ethical fashion? The question stems from the fact that unless we truly understand the need for it, it is very difficult to inculcate the same in our lives just by reading a few pieces on ethical fashion.
I completely agree with you on the same. This question has so many layers to it but I will try to keep it as concise as possible. People are getting more aware of what’s going on around them, but it’s also true that their first thought of making a change is not in fashion. Communicating more about what we do at Doodlage helps us raise awareness about our work and the need for alternate brands to come forward. We have got a lot of support from many print and online media companies to help us reach out to a wider audience. And as we grow, we aim to use each consumer touch point to create an experience which leads towards consumer education. We have a small team of enthusiastic change makers and every person is a brand ambassador.
GAF: We, at ThreadSol, attempt to reduce fabric wastage at the cutting floor for an apparel manufacturing unit. But, it is a very big task to make them understand that they are wasting fabric in the first place. Do you face such difficulties while sourcing fabric from units?
Saving fabrics that is paid for (by the client) might not be of great concern to them, but when we buy these wastage from them they have been quite okay to discuss sourcing. We have always been more interested to work with wastage from fair trade units or specialist in organic cotton as it is much easier to work with people who understand the need for ethical practices along the supply chain but we have not restricted ourselves to this at the moment.
GAF: What has been the most interesting part of your work and the industry?
We are still a growing brand, learning new things everyday has been the most interesting part of what we do. The struggles are all very real now and sorting a working capital to scale the brand is our priority.