Crafting memories

Delhi-based sisters Ayesha and Manisha Desai give a new lease of life to old clothes for a more sustainable way of life.

Published: 09th September 2017 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2017 05:24 PM   |  A+A-

Ayesha Desai

Open your wardrobe and more often than not you will come across old T-shirts, kurtas, dupattas, saris, and what-have-you—things no longer of any use to you but you are too sentimental about them to give them away. So, they lie in some forgotten corner till they are moth-eaten and lost in time.

Delhi-based social activist-turned-entrepreneur sisters Ayesha and Manisha Desai, founders of Cornucopia Concepts Pvt Ltd, have come up with ways to make your memories stay alive well past their shelf-life.

‘Cornucopia’ means nature’s inexhaustible abundance, and this is what the Desai sisters are giving to society. They are crafting discarded clothes into one-of-its-kind pieces to be showcased with pride.

Passionate about the environment and always on the lookout to reuse and repurpose everything, Manisha began experimenting with old clothes a couple of years ago. Soon, the sisters realised that they could help preserve memories and the environment at the same time. And Cornucopia was born in February 2017.

Manisha Desai

Ayesha, 38, says, “It’s amazing to get people to look at their possessions in a new light. Through our products, we encourage people to try and extend the life-cycle of their clothes—the ones they don’t want to part with or donate. We aim to provide sustainable alternatives to everyday utility items.”

Old clothes are repurposed into keepsake quilts, bed covers, cushion covers, bags, wall hangings and torans.  “People are pleasantly surprised to see their old clothes being transformed,” says 36-year-old Manisha.

People with basic knowledge of stitching as well as skilled tailors are employed by Cornucopia. If there are bulk orders, they try to outsource them to women’s organisations that are into stitching. This also helps empower women at the grassroots level.

What’s on the cards in the near future? “We are keen to start working with other mediums such as glass and metal, and design our own line of organic cotton children’s bedding,” they say.
They are also venturing into eco-friendly gifting this festive season to encourage people to gift responsibly.
The next time you are spring cleaning and you don’t know what to do with the clothes that are too old to be used but too special to be discarded, you know where to head.

Going green

All the material is sourced locally to ensure that there should be tiny or zero carbon footprint

The aim is to provide sustainable alternatives to everyday utility items through working on the principles of fair trade and environmentally safe alternatives

They reuse old clothes to make quilts, bed covers, cushion covers, bags and wall hangings

How it Works

Options are presented to the customers according to the type of material that they want to repurpose. The material is either picked up from the customers’ home (if they are in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi or Gurgaon), or shipped to them. A design template is worked out for each products. These templates are shared with clients who select the design. Some clients request something apart from the templates. Depending on the customisation, each product takes between one-four days, with one-two people working on it. Products range from Rs 450 to Rs 6,000.

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