Cloth wastage is harmful for environment
Sujata Chatterjee from Kolkata, decided to reduce cloth wastage, encourage women empowerment, conserve natural resources like water, and meet the clothing needs of the less fortunate…
Q: What made you start a fashion enterprise in tandem with nature?
I wanted to become the change I wanted to see around: From consumers with overflowing cupboards who don’t want to repeat outfits, to millions of people who struggle to find basic clothing! I started my enterprise with an aim to solve the problems on both sides of the societal pyramid. ‘Twirl’ basically means to go around or spin - the name for the brand signifies the ‘sustainable circle’ that we want retail to become. We collect clothes from people and reward them with points that can be redeemed to buy upcycled products on our website.
Q: How do you utilize the goods thus collected?
After the team collects the clothes, we either donate it or upscale it as fabric to create new products. Till date, we have supplied over 10,000 upcycled products and given a new lease of life to more than 2,000 fabric pieces. Initially, all the clothing our team receives goes through a thorough check. If the fabric is reusable and can be upcycled, only then does it undergo a wash and steam; and then the fabric is taken and used to redesign new and unique products like accessories, bags, etc. The ones that are rejected are donated via donation drives, which our team regularly conducts in collaboration with other NGOs.
Q: Who are the ones getting employment through you?
Women in Kolkata and surrounding areas have a flair for weaving and stitching, especially since West Bengal has a thriving handloom culture. It is this pool of women that we are leveraging. The reuse and upcycling of fabric and product manufacturing is done predominantly by rural women, which will also provide them a source of livelihood.
Q: What is the USP of your team?
We are a group of motivated, young women determined to break stereotypes and bring about a change in the society. Our focus is to be all-inclusive and give an opportunity to girls from all kinds of background and nurture their talents in various ways. We are proud to say that from manufacturing to operations - girls from various strata of the society handle the show.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
When I was starting Twirl, I faced a lot of negativity around me and nearly everyone I met was sceptical about how, as a woman entrepreneur, was I going to start an ecommerce company, based on a new concept, and that too from Kolkata. The more criticism I heard, the more determined I became that I wouldn’t stop.” One of the things that still continue to affect me is the lack of support from my extended family and friends who have not joined the Twirl circle. But the silver lining has been that complete strangers have appreciated the work we are doing and they have not just become our customers, but referred us to others and became our greatest supporters. My biggest challenge was and is to make people aware of Twirl and the work we are doing. It is an ongoing effort to make people realise the adverse effects of cloth wastage on both society and the environment.