Why waste is the way forward

Why waste is the way forward

Changing the narrative around the culture of disposability

By 2050 landfills are estimated to have over 150 million tonnes of clothing waste if we continue on the current trajectory of production and consumption. In this environment, young designers and labels are looking to create from waste and resources which already exist. At IKKIVI Zine, we spoke with Akshit Bangar, the creative mind behind the label Urban Darzi on the brand’s journey so far, the philosophy behind their products and the pertinent need to create with waste.

Where and how did your journey with fashion and waste start?

I think I’ve always liked the idea of clothes and fashion in general, even when I was a kid. Coming back from Nottingham after graduation, my dad offered to start a denim brand from one of his trading stock lots lying in his factory and I took that up. We ran a mass market denim wear brand for about 4 years supplying to major multinational retailers like Walmart and ITC till about 2017, right around the time when demonetisation hit and the conversation around fashion industry’s implications towards climate change & global warming started coming to the fore, especially in the Indian subcontinent. Although we were using seconds and discarded fabric lots even back then, we were still guilty of contributing to the problem at large. Post which I shut that arm down and focused on building an individual custom clothing company, with the last mile fabric remnants taken from big/small retailers and even individuals who used to sell on barrows. This is where the groundwork in my brain actually started taking shape towards imagining an overarching fashion company (and subsequently the whole industry) that runs entirely on everything considered as ‘waste.’ After a lot of research, trial and errors, failed investments – I finally launched Urban Darzi, as we know it, towards the end of 2020 with the ideology of creating a circular economy, where waste is looked upon as a valuable resource/raw material and used to create everyday lifestyle products, and where a closed loop system is created to have that initial set of waste coming back to the ecosystem till it is down to the last shreds and eventually recycled into newer material.

You mention that you use ‘jugaad’ as a philosophy to repurpose all that you find laying in dumps. Could you tell us a little about how and where this philosophy finds expression in your production process?

The idea of jugaad is one we, as Indians, know very well. It is seeped into our systems from early childhood by our mothers and society at large, on how to make use of everything and how to make everything work through jugaad. It’s in our vocabulary, in our understanding, in our day to day functioning. So when we say we use ‘jugaad’ as a philosophy to repurpose all that we find laying in dumps, we aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary, we are simply applying that idea, to make use of everything, into our design process and often re-imagining design in a non-conformist way. For example, we used single use plastic bags and food and consumer packaging waste, that we picked up from roadside dumps, and put it in between the lining of a jacket — which does pose an argument of microplastics going into water stream after washing — for which we put in our conscious design principles in place and make sure we are doing that on products that you can go on wearing without washing for months, such as a jacket – how often do you wash a jacket in winters? Another example, we worked with Khamir to upcycle single use plastics found on the streets into raw material, from which we made small holdalls and totes.

It’s not just using plastics, though. We recently did a collaboration with Urban Monkey where we made a sac cover from age-old fabric folders (the ones fabric suppliers send to manufacturers/retailers for sampling and no one seems to care about). We are working on an object’s line where we use the same jugaad ideology, to make decor pieces from all kinds of waste material that we can find on the streets/dumpyards/landfills.

Do some of the conscious values at Urban Darzi seep into your way of living? What does that look like in your everyday life?

Simple things, really. Generating as little waste as possible. Being conscious and mindful of your ways in life, not just from an environmental perspective, but as a human being overall. Being grounded. Being responsible for yourself, for the things around you and extending that thought process onto as many people as possible.

A fundamental part of building a business is developing an aesthetic for your brand. How did you decide yours, and how did you know it was right with your ethos? 

I’ve been a brand fanatic all my life. I love the idea of how a brand you look at, interact with, can impact your life in more ways than what you actively see and feel. When closing in on the aesthetic for Urban Darzi , I didn’t really set anything in stone other than the fact that it had to be completely different from the clutter we had at that time. A mix of raw, honest offbeat and transparent approach to the idea of fashion and clothes in general, was the cornerstone of it all. And who doesn’t like good visual design when they see it, so the editorials, the photography, the conversational aspect of the brand just blended in all naturally.

We often talk about waste from an environmental perspective. We’d like to know more about its artistic and visual aspects. What do you see and feel when you look at it? And what is your creative process like when designing from it? 

To create from what the world seems to have discarded – is often where creative genius lies. That’s what I tell all the design team members. For me, it literally is a playground. And the best part, there is always a new variety/kind of waste to play with and figure out how to upcycle and make a new product from it. Like yesterday only I found a lot of iron mesh sheets at a construction site and I am already thinking about what and how to make something valuable and aesthetically cool out of it. Creative process? It’s just about making the best possible use of it in the most efficient and radical way possible.

A new product’s value is considered to be much higher. And waste has somehow largely had a negative connotation attached to it. The frequent perceptions around it are that it is a re-utilized byproduct or fad to work with. Can designs made from waste come to have a similar value to fresh pieces? What have your experiences been with this in your practice?

We’ve been conditioned to believe this. It’s only a small section of the crowd today that has opened up to the idea of upcycled products and substituting them from a regular purchase in their everyday lives. Personally, I like to believe that products made from waste should actually have more value than a regular product, owing to the simple fact that the design process is much harder ( we can be at it all day to prove how) and takes much more creative thinking whereas the production is equally and painstakingly difficult in some cases. But it requires an overarching systemic change in the way people think and interact with products and their wants/needs in general; something that only collectively can be achieved with all stakeholders actively involved.

What are some of the ways in which we, as consumers, can use or connect with ‘waste’ – our personal waste and the waste that we generate, apart from recycling it?

I am no expert and am learning on the job everyday, but I believe it’s something as simple as being mindful of the waste you create. Seeing where and what you can put back to use, what you can avoid using. Seeing where and how you can collaborate with brands and give them the waste you collect for them to use it further in making new, circular products. Just simple, small things – repeated everyday, by everyone that will eventually account for a larger, societal change.

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How ‘Fast’ Can We ‘Slow’ Down?

How ‘Fast’ Can We ‘Slow’ Down?

A Glance Into the Problematics of Change

With slow fashion trying to change the dynamics of the fashion business, our designer Neha Kabra from our sustainable brand Maati by Neha Kabra, speaks about the contradictions the trailblazers of the ‘slow’ industry are recurrently met with in the face of the insatiable demands of fast production and consumption.

What does a fashion revolution mean to you, and how does that play a role in the way the brand keeps evolving?

A fashion revolution is where we address the real problems, the core matters, and not just use it as a fad word or keep it as a trend. It’s where we talk about the raw material problem and the landfill problem, and how to tackle it.

What are some of the problems that you’ve seen come up in these everyday processes of sustainability?

Each process has its own problems. And when we talk about slow fashion, when we talk about sustainable brands,churning four or five collections, a year is practically not possible. I mean, there’s nothing slow about it. And in fashion, I think each process, say even if the fabrics are produced, the weavers I work with, it takes nearly two months to produce 50 meters of fabric.

One loom only produces around 12 meters of fabric in one go. And that takes nearly a good one month. So there are multiple looms working to do that and if the fabric only takes two months to come and then the actual production takes place. So it has its own timeline and the constant need in fashion to have something “new” constantly has unfortunately become a cultural practice. That we see something and we want it and to produce that design immediately is something beyond my imagination as production takes such a long time. And to bring that change I think is more of a challenge at the moment. Yes, people are aware about sustainability, people are aware about the story and where it’s coming from, but still, constantly wanting something new is a very, very big challenge.

 Do you feel that that’s a change that might be coming soon? Or do you feel that it’s gonna be a really slow shift where we’re actually able to become accustomed to or understand that we need to consume more mindfully? That it’s not just that production needs to be slower, but the rate of consumption needs to be slower.

I don’t want to sound pessimistic but sometimes pessimism is what supports us to reaching toward that goal. But I do feel it’s far away for everybody right now. By the end of it, everybody looks for business. For everybody, it’s easier to produce at a larger scale  money wise. They say it’s easier to produce 50 pieces in one design than producing one of 50 new designs. And the constant need of needing new, new, new – how do you let that go completely? The culture we are living in is a very fast culture. So it’s not only fast fashion, but fast lives we are living in. With the social media impact, I’m not saying it’s all bad, always, but by now in our culture, there’s so many other brands which are even expediting fast fashion. Even if you want to reverse the phenomena, there are a lot of brands on the opposite side. So while we are actually running into the direction of slow fashion, there is also a lot of expedited fast fashion. I don’t see it happening, fast, but I’m hoping that the change will come because this is exactly like when I started – people were not aware about what sustainable fashion is. Especially in India, I think four or five years down before the word was just becoming a trend. But now I think most people, after having been affected by Covid – 19 are much, much more aware about it. People have become wiser on their spending. They’re not just buying for the sake of it. So I think change will come. It’s taking its own sweet time, but it will come, it has to.

When you’re exploring new fabrics or materials, what kind of input do you get from the artisans? Do they often already know about it or are they also exploring them with you? 

It’s both. So when there was a fabric like bamboo, there was still awareness that the fabric is being made. We get the samples, we all touch, feel, see what works for us, what doesn’t work for us. But in bamboo there are so many weaves that are coming in. And when we get those and when we all sit together that’s what amazes them and where we all explore together.

They sometimes really can’t believe that our world has so much technology that is a boon. That’s what strikes them. They feel that this is going to be for the better. And at the same time, it’s slightly worrisome for them too because they are concerned that if people will shift to different styles given the state of fast fashion. There are pros and cons of both. But you have to constantly tell them that “no, (y)our practice is completely different”. You still have to make them [artisans] believe that what you are doing is absolutely fine because they’re growing everything organically. For example, kala cotton is a wild cotton grown naturally without any pesticides and insecticides. So you have to constantly assure them that what you are doing, your process is good and it’s not going to go anywhere. But of course, they (and all of us) do have to accept some of the changes we see coming in fashion – whether for better or worse.

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For the Love of Fabrics

For the Love of Fabrics

Telling Tales of Threads

High quality materials and craftsmanship are the cornerstone of all our brands. At IKKIVI Zine, we spoke with Aarushi Kilawat, Founder and Creative Head of The Loom Art about her deep connections to fabrics, what a revolution means for her, and how she believes we can cooperate in the face of competition.

What does a fashion revolution mean for you and The Loom Art?

A fashion revolution is a larger word with a lot of weight. From when we started to where we are now, we have mellowed down with the word and how we use it – sometimes a revolution doesn’t have to be put out in such big letters. As people, our own journey with a fashion revolution is one where we are trying to understand what it means in which context. But for us at The Loom Art, what a fashion revolution really means is that we need to keep re-doing ourselves and the ideologies we have been working on. What we see is that post the pandemic, people are more aware of slow fashion and slow living, and how we can sustain ourselves with bare necessities. Our challenge now is to see how long we can sustain that lifestyle.

None of us can always do the right thing in every direction, and so with a fashion revolution, it’s important for us to find our own direction. For The Loom Art it’s about people who work with us. I am someone who loves being involved with my people, not just professionally but also emotionally. The whole essence of people who work at the ground level – our artisans – are our backbone. It’s about being able to offer them a livelihood, and encourage their younger generations and communities to pursue careers and be part of this craft.

Have you been working with the same artisans for the last 5 years?

Yes, the team I started with is still with me. We’ve grown ofcourse. And we’ve all been very emotionally involved in the growth of the team. There’s a different high to that altogether – we’ve gone from a team of 3 to 25 now. And all of them know what we (The Loom Art) are about, even though they weren’t all from the same background when we started.

What are the fabrics you work with and why do you choose them?

Until 3 years ago, we primarily used only khadi as it is a fabric that can last a lifetime. Now we’ve expanded our range, but only to include other handwoven fabrics. Along with khadi, we now do a variety of silks and linen. I love to hold and smell the fabric and I love how India is so rich in craft. Each of these fabrics has a tremendous amount of potential to be made into different silhouettes, and with each, the pieces would still be gorgeous.The fall, the texture, everything comes through with these fabrics. I also choose to work with them as the garments made from these fabrics are exceptionally durable and each piece of clothing can be passed on from generation to generation. I like the feeling that it travels a journey and passes on to another person, to have another story.

There is a general notion that sustainable businesses should stay or be small; that when they scale up too much it becomes harder to maintain sustainable practices. Do you think there is some truth to this idea?

Yes, but not completely. You need to be able to follow certain practices and maintain quality over and above everything. You never want to lose our essence due to the pressures of quantity, and if you get too wrapped up with the numbers game, you might lose your ground. The middle ground is always there where you can do your thing, offer it to others at a growing scale domestically and internationally, and still stay sustainable. That middle ground is key.

Customers and consumers were limited to shopping online during the pandemic. We consequently see a lot of competition for attention in the digital space for lower price points from customers over what may be sustainable. Does this ever have an impact on your work?

Yes, sometimes there is a fight for attention. But what we are trying to do is create a conscious community, not force anyone to do something. Keeping up with trends works for some people, and that’s okay. There are people who love what we do at The Loom Art as well as in sustainable fashion, and want to know more. Those are the people we want to work for and are working for. People have lost the idea of touching and feeling and knowing the garment and understanding why it costs what it costs, especially when made ethically. It becomes a challenge and I have also struggled with it. But we have been able to create a valuable section of consumers who know what we are, see our brand value and support our work. For them and for us, it’s not just about sales. It is about having  a conversation and narrating your story, as well as building a community through physical interaction. What I think is most important to understand is what you do and why you do it.

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Changing the Ways in Which we Work

Changing the Ways in Which we Work

Tracing New Trajectories in Fashion

Cultivating change and correcting large scale issues at the systemic level in the fashion industry is often thought to hold more power and potential to make a real difference in how the fashion system works. While this may be a truth true in its own right, we want to share with you how we’re inspired by our brand Em and Shi and their founder Mansi Bhatia about the qualitative change working differently and more mindfully can bring to a brand’s artisans, people and the environment – making change just as potent at the micro level as at the macro.

What does a fashion revolution mean for you? What are the ways in which it has taken shape through your brand?

For us, the revolution would kind of mean in the smaller steps because, if you talk about things at large or if we really require things to change, they kind of have to change at a much more macro level, such as in terms of regulations and certifications. For us at Em and Shi, what it means is to do the best for everyone. To create our processes in a way where it is the most sustainable, and by sustainable I mean, it’s good for the people who are working for us, it’s good for the people who are gonna be wearing the garment, it’s good for everyone involved at every stage. Often when we try to achieve that sort of perfection in terms of what we’re trying to do. It’s like, if today I was supposed to shut everybody who’s working in fast fashion, we would have so many unemployed people and they would in turn, go somewhere else, you know? So I feel like a revolution kind of has to come from smaller steps. And what we do is to kind of make our processes easier on everybody, including the environment and the people whom we can take care of on our level.

I think I learnt that only because when I started, I came in with this whole revolutionary mindset to “do this and do that.” And what I found is that most of it is not possible because either it would be beyond our means as a growing business or it wouldn’t make sense for the people who are working for you. So when we came in, we kind of wanted this sort of approach where everything is super systematic, but what I’ve realized and found helpful is that we mold our structure according to the people that are working for our brand – to kind of change what we are doing to suit them more.

Does it feel like it has made a difference for your artisans and team, and for the brand?

I believe so, yes, because we still have the same people that started working with us from the beginning. Our pattern making hasn’t changed at all. Not even one of them has left or gone away. The fact that they haven’t felt like they need to step out and look for anything else, or even when they are trying to voice their voice, or if there’s anything that’s not working for our and their system – a few minor things obviously – they come to us and we accommodate that. And we really want to.

Could you share with us an instance where molding your ways of working to suit the needs of the artisans hold an impact on their everyday life, and consequently, beyond?

In the villages and spaces, anywhere where the women are working, their kids are hanging out in that area and they are often playing there too. Sometimes if they feel like blocking a piece of cloth, they are blocking it as well. I can’t stop it. The children are by no means involved in the production process, but rarely if they want to do it for play, I don’t discourage it. At the same time that’s their community. That’s literally the name of their community. They’re “printers”. We too have gotten a little more comfortable with them doing it as a community and not having to hide the fact that their children also hang out at their workplace. This is the reality, and we don’t have to modify it to show a different picture to someone, for the very reason that this is the way they work and people need to understand it. It also helps them to have their children around as there’s no one to take care of or be with them at home, and they are too young to be alone.

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Creating Honest Change Through our Individual Paths

Creating Honest Change Through our Individual Paths

Why Being Who We Are Matters

Our sustainable brand Ahmev started out in 2019, unaware of the pandemic that was to strike us all. Finding their ground in the midst of uncountable challenges, they’ve carved a unique place for themselves as an ethical fashion brand in the last couple of years. We, at IKKIVI, spoke with co-founders Kanchan Sharma and Manish Garg about what revolutionizing the fashion system looks like, issues that small ‘sustainable’ brands face, why standing our ground and following our hearts matters, why they work the way they do, and the many things they are exploring.

What does a fashion revolution mean to you?

Kanchan: The fashion industry has played a major role in impacting the environment. In the world of fashion, everyone has done their part – they’ve shown the different meanings and definitions of sustainability and slow fashion. We have too. We recycle and make different things from scraps as well as waste material. However, an important part of what a fashion revolution means to me is showcasing Indian heritage and supporting different artisans by being personally involved in each part of the process. Whenever I create a collection, I personally involve myself by connecting deeply with the inspiration of every collection, working with organic fabrics, supporting women and karigars, and amalgamating modern and Indian sensibilities together. This makes a big difference for us, and being able to now have an international presence is a milestone for us. We only aim to go upward and impact more lives through our work.

What is a challenge that you see conscious fashion brands are likely to experience over the next decade?

Kanchan: People have attached sustainability with restrictions too. Nearly everyone requires certifications that are expensive and processes that are long, and are not clearly marked or very straightforward. We ourselves have had to change our terminologies and how we speak about a fabric because they are patented. An example of this is khadi.

Manish: For small businesses that are actually sustainable and committed to doing more, this presents quite an issue right now, as this is not a one off case for when you are establishing your brand’s name and its credibility. Whenever you want to apply for B2B or competitions, certifications have become a preliminary requirement.  Each country has their own certifications, and they don’t always connect across the world as there aren’t always standardized guidelines. We think this is a large challenge that we expect conscious businesses will continue to face in the coming years and will have to find ways to overcome.

How has the last year been for Ahmev as a brand? 

Kanchan: We started Ahmev in 2019, and I was never a dreamer. Manish pushed me to pursue my dreams and showed me what I can do, and having worked on them consistently, we are glad that the last year has been a very successful one for us. I have enjoyed the process – working with the karigars and my business partners Manish and Anchal. Our karigars are growing, and with them, our brand. We’ve been partaking in the making of each garment ourselves, and being involved in the small everyday practices has been so therapeutic. That’s really been the beauty of our enterprise being a start up.

The color white has been so important to you and to your brand Ahmev. How has your relationship with the color developed in these years, and how do you feel about adding other colors to your collections? 

Kanchan: I still face the issue of people asking me to make the same design in a different color. Even Manish used to suggest that we should make our garments in other colors if there is a demand for it. But people have come to accept it, and so has our team, as this is our brand’s USP. I have never used color, and I have even been afraid of them. Over time, I have been coming to understand color a little more and really worked on it with this new collection. But white is still our trademark, and we want to see that forward.

We’d love to know of some of the new things you’ve been doing at Ahmev

Kanchan: We’ve been doing more capsule collections as our customers enjoy them a lot. We’ve also been experimenting with menswear and doing trials on Manish!

Manish: I too have been exploring myself more through this, and hand painting some of our clothes with Anchal and Kanchan. In fact, I think I’m now becoming quicker at it than them!

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The IKKIVI Pop Up

The IKKIVI Pop Up

Bangalore Diaries

Two years since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we held a pop up in mid March in Bangalore, India. A sweet, socially distanced event that was all about celebrating and having fun with sustainable and vintage fashion, we loved spending time with our customers and friends in person after such a long time.

While we have consciously chosen to have our shop online to ensure that we make our clothes to order as much as possible, prevent overstock and minimize wastage, we had some starkly pleasurable moments when we set up shop that have certainly inspired us to have pop ups more often!

1. The tactility of a garment creates an unparalleled connection

Meeting people and seeing them feel excitement and wonder through touching, holding and trying a garment as a truly unparalleled experience was heartwarming and telling of how phenomenological our relationship with clothing is really designed to be. The comforts of shopping for sustainable fashion online, though equally undeniable, do still hide from us the immediate, felt emotions that arise upon sensing and feeling the softness of a fabric, running our fingers through the stitches of a fold, imagining where and how we would don this style, understanding the differences between ‘fit’ and ‘size’ with each style, and feeling clarity and surety in investing in a product.

2. The experience of our community

It was so delightful to meet people from all walks of life, talk about clothing and homeware, share with each other our learnings and challenges within sustainability, know what we are all up to, and truly enjoy the beauty and playfulness of fashion together through the days. This sense of community inspired and rejuvenated us all alike to keep with our commitment to living consciously and making a change in the fashion industry.

3. The joy of discovery

One of the most valuable things we saw people find joy in, was experiencing the wide-ranging independent sustainable Indian brands that are innovating with different tools and resources, and uniquely blending traditional fabrics, techniques and modern styling to design contemporary silhouettes. Getting an insight into our homegrown clothing brands Artisan Luxe and Doodlage, jewellery and accessories brands such as Roma Narsinghani, STEM, and Carte Blanche, and tableware brand The Burrow, along with many others, allowed everyone to not just shop if they needed to, but explore freely and build on the idea of cultivating a conscious wardrobe and lifestyle.

As the central and state restrictions on holding public events get further relaxed now, we’ll be having a lot more pop ups through the year and would love to see you at them. To know more about when and where our next pop up will be, please follow our Instagram page. And ofcourse, you can always shop our mindfully curated collections online whenever you like.

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Fashion Revolution Week

Fashion Revolution Week

How You Can Be Part of the Movement

The catastrophic collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory (24th April, 2013) in Bangladesh that killed over 1130 garment workers manufacturing clothing for several major fashion brands has revealed the vast complexities that have prevailed in the fashion system for over half a century, and has become a caveat for the fashion industry in the last few years to take measures towards the betterment of the working conditions of its people and within their factories. The industry’s complex value chain and systemic inequalities compel us all to be(come) vitally involved now in reforming its structural practices and building awareness about sustainable and ethical fashion – both as producers and consumers.

As the industry is starting to change slowly, this Fashion Revolution Week, a time where brands and producers are urged to give consumers an insight into their production processes – what goes on behind the scenes at their brand – we’d like to share with you how you can be part of the revolution with us.

1. Do research on the brands you (want to) shop from and asking them questions 

In order for us to be able to make conscious choices when shopping, it’s important to understand the processes of production and supply chain through which our garments or products are being made. Asking the brand questions about how the products were designed (whether they were handcrafted or mass produced), what kind of materials were used in their make (were they organic or include chemicals, vegan or utilized animal products/ residues), where they were manufactured (locally or globally), what kind of techniques their design processes included, the amount of waste generated, minimized and reutilized in their creation, the number of hours it takes to produce one product, the working conditions of their artisans and fair pay are some of the most direct and immediate ways in which we can inquire about what went into the making of their goods and services, and prevent us from being influenced by greenwashing. It’s okay if you may have previously purchased from a brand that you love without knowing about their methods of production, learning about them today is still valuable, as, in the long run it will help to make more informed decisions.

2. Use the #whomademyclothes hashtag on social media 

The #whomademyclothes hashtag has come about as a way to encourage people to ask brands where their clothes come from, who makes them, under what kind of working conditions and pay. One way you can partake in this is by taking a photo of your brand’s label during Fashion Revolution Week, and asking the brand #whomademyclothes? by sharing it and tagging the brand in your post on Instagram or Twitter. Many brands may not respond to the question or share only limited information about it, but brands that are genuinely aware and involved with the people who work with them are likely to show transparency of their processes. If a brand doesn’t respond, we encourage you to keep asking them and exercising your consumer rights.

3. Learn about the impact of fast fashion

The social, economic and environmental effect of fast fashion is nearly irreversibly damaging for both our environment and people. More than 60% of clothes are made of synthetic materials derived from petrochemicals that do not decompose, but instead break down into smaller and smaller particles called microfibers and microplastics. Discarded clothing made of synthetic fibers now sits in landfills for 200 years. 97% of fast fashion is produced in developing countries with poor labor laws, human rights protections, forced and child labor under dangerous working conditions and abuse and unlivable wages. While knowing about such injustices and labyrinthine difficulties that surround the fashion system can feel discouraging and induce in us feelings of anger, guilt and shame, we hope that knowing the realities of these situations can strengthen your resolution to consume and create differently, and shift consciousness by learning about the workings of fast fashion more frequently.

4. Understand the scope of slow fashion and climate consciousness

It can be difficult for brands to start out 100% sustainable in all their practices. But a label’s openness to evolve with time is a characteristic that is bringing on a lot of innovation and advancement in sustainable practices. Learning about how certain slow fashion brands are innovating and challenging themselves to do better with each collection can inspire our curiosity and build trust in participating and supporting a fashion revolution at the micro, everyday level. For example, our sustainable brand ‘Doodlage’ wields scrap waste and recycled materials, ‘SUI’ uses organic fabrics made from hemp, and ‘Mishe’ employs orange peel fabric to create novel designs – all of which are taking them – and us – a step further in understanding sustainable production and studying the influences of diverse materials on the natural world. At the same time, following the work of world leaders, climate activists, organizations and policy makers can educate us on the agency and power we hold at a collective level and how we can initiate action and change, as both individuals and businesses.

5. Cultivate awareness with friends and family

Nothing makes being involved in creating change as fun as having trivia games, movie nights, book clubs and conversations with our loved ones! Coming together and thinking about the ways in which we can create a community around the subject, engage with it meaningfully, build a more conscious wardrobe and allow each other to learn a little more than we knew a day before goes a long way in making a real difference.

Sustainability and fashion revolution as a movement and practice, will always keep building and challenging us to be better – and with it, our methods. In our ideal to make fashion 100% sustainable and slow, together, as a community, we believe it is of key value to keep our eye on progress over perfection, and do as much as we can, when we can. Every step counts. Every decision makes a difference.

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CARVING a Path Toward a More Just Future

Carving a Path Toward a More Just Future

What We Can Do Today Amidst the Climate Crisis

Capitalism and colonialism underpin a large array of contemporary social issues, and now, as climate reformers and researchers are showing us, they are one of the leading systemic causes aggravating the challenges we face with climate change. At IKKIVI Zine, we had a conversation with climate justice activist Lauren MacDonald on our present failures and struggles in contributing to climate justice, what being hopeful in the midst of crisis can look like, and why she thinks we need to move from taking individual action to collective action to make a greater difference to the movement.

Alexander Hoyles: shot for @greatergovanhill magazine by @alexander_hoyles

1. What were some of your early experiences in understanding climate injustice?

When I was 17, I encountered veganism for the first time. I quickly decided to go vegan after learning about animal, environmental and human rights abuses in the animal agriculture industry. From there, I began to develop a wider understanding of social justice issues and how they intersect with each other.

After developing this understanding for around a year I became an organizer for Glasgow’s Fridays For Future climate strikes in early 2019. I have been heavily involved in the climate justice movement since.

2. Could you tell us about some of the neighboring issues that climate (in)justice intersects with, and how?

All societal struggles are linked and have the same underlying causes: capitalism and colonialism. We need to abolish the systems of oppression that we currently exist under and create a fair world in which all life is cared for and protected equitably. To achieve climate justice, we must have justice for everyone. We need total liberation for humans, non-human animals and the planet.

Alice Aedy (instagram: @aliceaedy)

3. What do you think are some of our most critical failures or challenges as a public in understanding the climate crisis?

Whilst the public, at least in the UK, generally care about climate change, most don’t understand the severity of the climate crisis and what we actually need to do to mitigate its effects. In my opinion, the climate justice movement should focus more on disseminating information about the climate crisis and social justice issues in an accessible way. There are so many people who are concerned about the climate crisis — they often just don’t have the resources and preparation they need to take collective action.

Generally, we need to focus so much more on onboarding people into social justice movements. As the climate crisis gets more and more out of control, we are seeing a substantial rise in the number of people willing to take action to safeguard the earth. Those  who are experienced in climate justice organizing need to be ready to meet these people with the information and training they need to build confidence as an agent of change.

Will Gibson (Instagram: @williamgibsongla)

4. In the midst of so many tensions, how can we work for a sustainable and equitable future without losing hope?

Due to how unfathomably catastrophic and heartbreaking the climate crisis is, the default mindset in our campaigning is that we are going to lose. It certainly doesn’t come naturally to me to be hopeful; no wonder we struggle to imagine a better world when the society that we live in is so different from the one we want to see. I get out of bed every day having a deep understanding of the impending collapse of nature, and that can be really, really hard.

It affects every facet of my life.

But to feel hope, we don’t need to feel positive about the climate crisis and the situation we are in right now. I see hope as something I am actively building upon every day. I still struggle, but I actually find that by encouraging myself to feel hopeful about my own ability to create change, it took me out of a massive phase of burn out and gave me back my ability to act. This allowed me to actually envisage winning the Stop Cambo campaign and encourage others to do the same. Now, the Cambo oil field is paused indefinitely.

5. What can we say to someone who doesn’t believe in climate change?

The climate crisis is an indisputable truth. To say that the climate crisis does not exist is to deny the experiences of millions who are already suffering extremely severe impacts. Pollution, extreme heat, and weather-related disasters are already claiming so many lives.

6. What are some ideas or concepts that you see people often get wrong about climate activism?

People often think that to be a climate activist, you have to be willing to do a small selection of roles: in my experience, people think of public speaking and getting arrested. In reality, the climate justice movement needs everyone. We need researchers, mental health professionals, drivers, artists, photographers and videographers, lawyers, action planners, spokespeople, media liaisons, and the list goes on. The point is, there are so many roles that go towards change-making. Everyone has something to add to the table.

7. If there’s one thing that you think we can all start doing today to help protect the environment, what would that be?

In my opinion, the best thing someone can do to take action on climate change is get involved in climate campaigning.

Whilst individual change can be incredibly empowering, we need to go beyond this individualistic lens and consider collective action. We need to completely restructure society, and to do that, we need to work together on issues much more complex than just altering our daily consumption. Being in coalition with other people who care about the climate crisis and teaming up to fight for a specific aim is one of the most empowering things I have ever experienced!

8. What is something you’d like to communicate to our audience which you feel doesn’t get talked about enough?

I’d like to add a youth perspective to why the climate movement is dominated by young people. The youth are, I would say, inclined to be more ambitious about the fight for climate justice. I had a conversation with an MP during COP where they said to me and my friends that decarbonising the UK in time to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees was impossible. At first, hearing someone

who has been in the UK’s political system for decades tell us that decarbonisation was impossible made us feel extremely deflated. But in reflecting on this, I realized that as youth, we don’t have the privilege of believing that what we need to achieve is impossible. We are the ones who will live through that breakdown for the largest proportion of our lives. Our whole futures are at stake, compared to someone who has already lived over half their life in terms of life expectancy. Similarly, people in the most-affected areas do not have the privilege of believing that we do not have the power to achieve climate justice, because if that were the case, this means certain obliteration of their land and untold suffering for their people.

If you’d like to know more about Lauren’s work, you can visit her website.

. . . . . . |Alice Aedy (@aliceaedy)

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25 Books on Mindful Living

25 Books on Mindful Living

A Journeying Through Multiple Perspectives

There are so many wonderful books that can support us on our journey into living more mindfully each day. Here are 20 – some conceptual, some ethnographic, some tales, and some narratives – that we feel offer something unique to all of us:

1. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living (by Shauna Niequist)

A coming toward our core selves from the busyness of our lives, this is a book that can set us to rediscover who we want to be.

2. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (by Don Miguel Ruiz)

A text that explicates how we can try to change our self-limiting perceptions that create discord and move toward  new experiences of love, independence and joy. 

3. Loving-kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (by Sharon Salzberg)

This is a book that shows us how the Buddhist path of lovingkindness (metta in Pali) can be a path to liberate our heart and experience the many meanings of happiness.

 

4. Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life (by Lilian Cheung and Thich Nhat Hanh)

Offering pragmatic practices, nutritional counsel and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teach us how to gently adopt and integrate mindfulness in relation to our food habits in our everyday lives.

5. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (by Jenny Odell)

An in-depth account of how different fields and personal experiences can express the limits and power of our attention, here Jenny Odell shares with us how we can work to leave behind the productivity-obsessed cultures we are all a part of, and come to a more collectively shared understanding of the ecosystems that are connected with us.

6. Mindfulness : Connecting with the Real You (by Vinay Dabholkar)

A learning into our unconscious practices of self-deception to become more self-aware in the process and dissolve thoughts that are untrue or unproductive.

7. Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More (by Courtney Carver)

A text that looks into how we can simplify our lives by allowing ourselves to focus on what’s important and how we can create space for it. 

8. Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World (by Franz Alt and The Dalai Lama)

A plea by The Dalai Lama for us to stand up for a renewed and more climate conscious world, and to let younger generations assert our rights to an optimistic future.

9. Inward (by Yung Pueblo)

A collection of quotes, poetry and prose that traverse the journey to unconditional love and the wisdom of self knowledge. 

10. The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (by Pico Iyer)

A look into the surprising and counterintuitive adventures of slowing down and sitting quietly in a room in an age of constant movement.

11. The Practice of Not Thinking: A Guide to Mindful Living (by Ryunosuke Koike)

A mapping of how embracing simple Zen practices into our daily lives, can allow us to reconnect with our five senses and live in a more peaceful, optimistic way

12. Mindful Eating On the Go: Practices for Eating with Awareness, Wherever You Are (by Jan Chozen Bays)

A pocket-sized book on some of the principles underlying mindful eating to understand the “nine aspects of hunger” that we feel, while going deeply into our needs and cravings without judgment to heal our relationship with food.

13. Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication (by Oren Jay Sofer)

Thinking about how “what we say matters”, Oren Jay Sofer pens in this discursive book how observing our interpersonal relations can help us carve three fundamental skills for mindful communication: leading with presence; coming with care and interest; focusing on what matters.

14. Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader (by Marc Lesser)

A thoughtful workbook for cultivating a more intuitive approach to mindfulness, Marc Lesser shares how and why he believes living from our heart shapes powerful leadership both individually and professionally.

15. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World (by Haemin Sunim)

An invitation to deepen mindfulness and joy in eight foundational areas of our lives.

16. Destination Simple (by Brooke McAlary)

An elementary and succinct introduction to the features of slow living.

17. Mindful Zen Habits: From Suffering to Happiness In 30 Days (by Marc Reklau and Manuel Villa)

A 30 day exercise guide for us to try to cultivate new habits that support us in giving room to our emotions, slow down our thoughts, and listen to our heart and body.

18. Slowness (by Milan Kundera)

One of Milan Kundera’s earliest fictional works in French, this book is a thoughtful contemplation of contemporary life and the ways in which our innate connections with slowness, memory, desire and speed intersect and conflict with each other.

19. Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything (by James Gleick)

A humorous look at the unlikeness of our hurried world slowing down in the near future, this is a work that displays our responsibility to reflect on the meanings of ramifications of  our lifestyles.

20. Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me (by Alexandra Kuykendall)

An insight into the disillusionments of comparison and loving our ordinary, “actual” lives and selves.

21. Zen: The Art of Simple Living (by Shunmyo Masuno)

Simple rituals designed to practice through the business of our modern world over a 100 days.

22. The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done (by Kendra Adachi)

A conscious way of overcoming conventional narratives of what it means to live rightly and healthily, this is a text that inspires us to live by our personal definitions of well being and what matters to us, and lazily letting go of who we are not.

23. 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week (by Tiffany Shlain)

Lessons on how rest and living 24/6 positively affects our productivity, feelings of connection, and cognitive presence.

24. Mind Full to Mindful: Zen Wisdom From a Monk’s Bowl (by Om Swami)

An exposition on the art of happiness with Om Swami’s humor, stories and wisdom as he walks us from being mind full to mindful.

25. Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life (by Marie Kondo)

A mindful process of simplifying and organizing our work life.

Are there any you’d add to our selection? We’d love to hear from you and know about the ones that you love and have made a difference to your experience in living consciously. We look forward to hearing from you at zine@ikkivi.com and our Instagram, where you can join our conversation as we share the books we have been reading every month.

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 21 Things We Learnt in 2021

21 Things We Learnt in 2021

The Gems That Guided Us In The Year That Was

Each year carries many new beginnings and learnings for us, and this time we wanted to pen and share ours from the last year with you. Here are 21 things we learnt in 2021, and are taking forward with us in 2022!

1. Shadow work 

A practice of healing and self-growth that has helped us unwrap the parts of ourselves that we unconsciously repress or hide from ourselves.

2. Communicating who we are through our art and design

Working on our typography, visual layout and experimenting with different niches to express to you what we are doing and where we are heading

3. Following a personalized routine 

The rhythm of doing things with consistency in ways that suit us individually has been grounding and exciting

4. The effect that energy has on us

Understanding how our body and mind responds to another’s energy and the impact it has on us, as well as others, has brought forth powerful change in how we conduct ourselves with everyone.

5. Balancing spending time with ourselves and socializing with our loved ones

It’s taken us quite a few months to nail this one and arrive at a place of peace and joy with it.

6. Including more healthy foods into our diet

Addition, subtraction; subtraction, addition has been the key for us.

7. Produce a podcast

We learnt how to prepare, record, edit and publish a successful podcast series from scratch and had so much fun in the process

8. Move from a place of personal authenticity

We’ve continually dedicated time to understanding ourselves more and be guided to follow what feels authentic to us

9. That we love listening to audio books, sometimes over reading

They make us feel like the speaker is personally involved in what they’re talking about and offer more ease with their work

10. Stay calm and problem solve under stress 

Keeping our head down and solving different challenges calmly in high crises situations has been a revelation

11. Open up with new people

A little uncomfortable to begin with, engaging with new people freely has shown itself to be a delight.

12. The power of repetition

Mindfully doing things over and over has taught us how capable we are of mastering skills

13. Slow work 

Throughout the year we fine-tuned practices that would allow us to work slowly and have fun doing it.

14. Trying things outside our comfort zone can be both safe and fun

We made a whole list with this one and followed it to the end to notice that there’s so much we enjoy about the things we are often hesitant to try before.

15. The value of filing and organizing our work documents 

Simplifying, editing, cleaning, organizing, recategorizing, optimizing on a bi-weekly basis make things dramatically easy to navigate through

16. To practice interdependence 

Asking for help as well as doing things collaboratively with others is as much a joy as doing everything independently.

17. To improvise or moving with spontaneity

Moving with our natural urges and creativity when they come up, even if they don’t coincide with our elaborately planned schedules.

18. To trust our driving skills more

Passing through the narrow roads of Bangalore everyday amidst the thickest traffic has given us more confidence in taking the wheel.

19. Use a planner (more) effectively

Whatever the templates or prompts, we’ve seen that we first need to make our planner our own and give it our personality in order to make it work and have it offer us the results that it’s designed to.

20. Understanding that no matter how perfectly we try to do things, we will still make mistakes and errors

They aren’t always avoidable and we don’t have to penalize anyone to learn how to do things correctly

21. That rest inspires action

The most beautiful thing we learnt – timely rest sparks our creativity, willingness and desire to do things in a way that nothing else does.

Are there any things from our list that coincide with your own from 2021? If you still haven’t made one, we encourage you to go ahead and make it now for we wonder what sweet things you’ll remember and continue to do!

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