Upcycle and Silk

By: R. Collins, July 27, 2020

                       Photo by: Chloe Fox

When reflecting on methods for reutilizing household materials, one thing that came to mind was the Furoshiki gift wrapping method, which uses fabric instead of paper—and a close second thought was to apply it to saris. A whirlwind family trip to India and the discovery of a largely untapped, vintage, sari market that followed was the catalyst sariKNOTsari’s new—and vintage—offerings to the Canadian sustainable fashion market.

“I realized if I made the right connections in India, I could tap into almost like the thrift market for saris and I could control the type of saris coming in—a lot of them are polyester or not in good condition—but I found a way to track down pure silk saris,” Mohan said. “[They’re] beautiful patterns and silk is such durable fabric.”

For Mohan, the connection between flawed, vintage furniture and flawed fabric is the same, though people are likely to see one more negatively. SariKNOTsari reconceptualizes flawed, silk-fabric saris as wearable and lovable garments by repairing them with patches; another well-loved, DIY trend that has punctuated the last five decades. The ability to reconfigure something that would otherwise be discarded rests at the core of sariKNOTsari’s sustainable platform. It determines how the brand utilizes leftover fabric scraps—in different sewing techniques and accessories—and drapes fabric into forms that are made to fit any body.

This one size fits all design approach was spurred even more so by Mohan’s own realization that the western fashion industry has long courted a rigid idea of how clothing and the body should interact in time, largely ignoring the natural progression of the body to generate the sale of clothing that will be obsolete shortly after buying it.

“Your body changes as you would expect a body to change and I tell this to my customers: you wouldn’t expect a 16-year-old body to look the same as a 12-year-old body. You fully anticipate that it’s going to change and when you do your planning you think that way,” Mohan said. “But nobody in the garment industry comes right out and says ‘you’re going to buy this today, but we all know that this is not going to fit you in 10 years. We’re actually creating it fully knowing it will be obsolete.’”