The materials are all sourced by working with India’s informal recycling communities, says founder and CEO Bijal Shah. “We pay these hardworking women and men fair wages for their labor and give new life to unique fabrics that would otherwise go to waste,” added Shah.
This is important, Shah tells Ecouterre, as although these informal recyclers have a long established history of collecting saris in India, their trade is under threat. As the country’s wealth increases, the ability to afford new items also goes up. Lallitara saw an opportunity to work with these people to form a social enterprise and provide a new market for the materials they source.
Shah also explained the bigger picture with regard to fabric waste. “Every year, 13.1 million tons of textile waste is going to landfills in the U.S.A. alone. Just try and begin to imagine how much that means around the world! The textile industry is also one of the top contributors to global green house gasses and waste water. By reusing these fabrics, we are not only saving them from landfills, but we’re also limiting the environmental harm caused in their creation.”