Meet The Homegrown Label Giving A Fresh Lease Of Life To Fashion Waste
Crystazine Embroidery Studio houses a wide range under one roof, from weightless jewellery crafted out of hand-work to embellished accessories and home decor items like monogrammed pillows, and uniquely conceptualised frames. Even though the idea behind the studio is different in itself, it’s the homegrown label’s conscious sustainability practices like up-cycling, recycling and reusing waste that’s grabbed our attention.
Founder and designer Tazeen Khatib’s career trajectory is as interesting as the concept of her new label Crystazine. As a fresh graduate, she skipped the usual route of celebrity styling and merchandising, and chose to make a career from the art of hand-embroidery. While designing clothes on paper was taught in her curriculum, she learned the karchob (an authentic process of hand-embroidery on a wooden cot) skill on the field. She is now the head embroiderer at the studio.
Taking us behind the scenes in her studio, the designer gave us a complete low-down of how even the smallest step towards conservation leads to a more eco-friendly business, which is the dire need of the hour.
Re-Using Mixed Materials
“While the conversation around sustainability may sound intimidating, I’ve always believed that small steps can trigger a domino effect, and this is the philosophy that I’ve consciously chosen to weave into my offering when I launched my own label in 2020. As a homegrown label, we’ve turned our focus on fashion waste which poses grave concerns for the future when considered against the context of textile pollution. For us, the solution came in the form of a more conscientious approach towards raw materials and cut-offs. The same philosophy has been extended to our workforce. The karigars are trained to adopt the mindset of minimal wastage and accountability for the waste generated at every step of the production cycle.”
Procuring Fashion Waste From The Market
“As a designer, sourcing trips are omnipresent in my daily itinerary. During one of these diligent markets runs, I observed that the faux leather samples on display in stores would be worthless once its inventory was exhausted. Given the seasonality of trends, these samples would have had their ultimate destination marked as the trash can. To subvert that destiny, I now make frequent trips to these stores to procure these waste scraps for lining the back of our earrings. A simple yet ingenious hack — since the back of a design isn’t visible, different colours, as well as the tiniest scraps, can be put to productive use while ensuring that we’ve done our bit towards dialling back the environmental footprint of our brand. Small swatches of fabrics collected from vendors, thus, find a second life in the detailing of our signature frames.”
Zero Value Fabrics
“Our discerning eye for up-cycling has also led us to acquire unused embroidery samples and swatches from designers and export houses. Given the nature of their work, each season ends with an excessive number of cut-outs that possess no value to the manufacturing units. Often, designers also hold access to excess samples from previous seasons that weren’t included in their collections or have gotten rejected due to creative direction changes. However, we believe that there is value to be found in every piece of work produced during the design cycle. We often refurbish them or, if nothing else can be done, we extract the raw materials from the fabric to be reused in accessories.”
“When we say that sustainability is woven into our brand’s DNA, we mean that in the literal sense. If you were to take apart any of our creations, you’d find that the base fabric has been derived from scrap felt pieces generated during our own production process. When it comes to taking accountability for fashion’s impact on the environment, we believe that no step is too small and we are glad to be doing our bit by breathing fresh life into discarded material and fashion waste.”
Revival Of Lace Scraps
“Thread-work swatches are reused in the most ingenious ways for creating beautiful pieces of wall art. Leftover expensive lace fabrics are generally discarded from the garment industry warehouses. We then convert the 3D embellishments and appliques as surface textures for our frames.”
The designer concluded the narrative by voicing why it’s important for her to make a build a brand that serves a larger purpose. “I think at the end of the day, I come home feeling content, knowing that we optimally consumed our resources without generating a lot of waste. It was important for me to lay the foundation of my brand on ethical principles because as creative entities, it’s our collective responsibility to reduce the carbon footprints. Being sustainable in my approach, also helps the brand monetarily, as we are constantly utilising leftovers in our new designs. So in hindsight, when you’re ecologically mindful, you’re simultaneously benefiting the brand.” How’s that for a business tip?!