Sometimes it is possible to make treasure from trash. When a pattern is cut out from a length of cloth, small pieces of fabric are left over. These scraps – all different shapes and sizes, depending on whether we were cutting armholes or pant legs – are called Chindis in Mumbai, and normally they are destined for the garbage dump.
Our hand-dyed fabrics are so special, we decided to save every bit we could. We have invented a number of clever ways to incorporate Chindis into our clothing and accessory lines. They are used in patchwork, as tassels, as borders, and as decorations. The advantages are threefold: using Chindis reduces waste; the resulting designs are unique and attractive, and learning to sew Chindis together is an excellent way to train new artisans. After the Chindis are cut into shapes and sewn together, they are ready to be transformed into something extraordinary.
As the scraps come from all of our products, they reflect the wide range of colors and patterns in our collections. Some have light backgrounds with bright prints while others have dark backgrounds. Color may range from pale blue to bright mango. Combining the various Chindis, with their different colors and sizes, is an aesthetic challenge. Meeting this challenge takes creativity and a lot of organization.
Because the collection of Chindis is such a hodgepodge of patterns and colors, we have come up with some innovative techniques to make them into cohesive designs. After the Chindis have been joined together we overdye them with one color. This results in a delightful piece with muted accent colors and shapes unified by one shade. To add to its originality, we take an additional step. Before overdyeing, artisans hand paint wax on the sewn-together Chindis. The wax will prevent dye from penetrating the covered areas. After the wax is removed, parts of the original colors of the Chindis shine through in dramatic contrast. Adding this process not only makes the final result more enchanting, it also generates additional work for the women artisans.
Our Chindi collection is uniquely beautiful. It is the result of innovative problem solving, skill, hard work and a commitment to the environment. At MarketPlace upcycling is about transforming both materials and lives.
Here are our garments using Chindi patchwork
Pranita Kurta and Sarita Top
Hand block printing on Chindis adds a design and interest
Jersey Kurta Dress and Prachi Skirt
Reversible Amulya Jacket
Reversible Jammu Vest and Sreela Skirt
Divya Top Reversible and Trishna Jacket