Repurposing old to gold   

Priyanka Tayi's Kula Studio aims to enables people to adapt to sustainable, slow and conscious fashion

Published: 08th March 2022 01:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2022 01:53 AM   |  A+A-

Priyanka Tayi, founder of Hyderabad-based Kula Studio. 

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  Priyanka Tayi, a fashion designer, had worked with the bigshots of the fashion industry, including Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, Ajio and Westside’s sub-brand Nuon (Tata group). After having created, designed and worked with fast fashion brands, the pandemic threw a million questions in her face — especially ones about the growing pile of waste at landfills. It blessed her with time and a  break good enough to build a brand that brings sustainable solutions to the table. 

“I believe that the first step to sustainable living is to care for what one already owns. Slow fashion is most commonly referred to only thrifting and hand-me-downs but that means you’re still owning more. Hence the idea to start a ‘refashion’ studio that provides up-cycle services for the clothes you own. Our singular aim is to enable people to adapt to sustainable, slow and conscious fashion by giving customers the tools needed to prolong the life of the clothes they own,” says Priyanka, the founder of Hyderabad-based Kula Studio. 

In the process of refashioning clothes, they practise zero wastage. Explaining how, Priyanka says, “We source dead-stock of consciously produced fabrics and vegan leather, benefiting the clusters and ethical brands of the country. We honour the process and believe in using every last scrap of responsibly produced textiles. Some include unsold inventory of handloom and organic, naturally dyed fabrics and export stock excess that’s just sitting with the weaver which is otherwise discarded.” 

Taking us through how she put Kula Studio together, she says, “A lot of research went into creating Kula. We spoke to over 600 men and women who are regular shoppers who told us about the kind of fabrics and styles they’d like most. Denim and sarees were the most popular styles while cotton and silk were common fabrics liked. Through this, we created set templates allowing people to play around with these combinations. We enable consumers to choose a style for something they already own or pick something from the Kula fabrics. We’re more than happy to customise, and add to our templates too.”

One of the most laudable features of the brand has to be its avatar guide. “We curated our own size guide after having spoken to many people who shared how they feel like they don’t fit into the standards sizes of S, M, L, etc. We wanted to do away with that accommodating all those who fit in between.” She adds that it’s also a one-time investment where you enter your details and the website curates your avatar, unless one “evolves”. 

People from not just the city, but throughout the country have been getting comfortable with the concept of refashioning. “We have seen a 60 per cent reorder rate and had orders from over 53 pincodes in the past four months alone.”

Priyanka shares why their brand has been doing exceptionally well over the thrift store businesses. She says, “India, as a market is not very comfortable using preloved fabric yet, but they’re okay is unused inventory. Since nothing we have in-house is preloved, there has been growing popularity.” Kula had barely made any attempts at promotions and advertisements, word-of-mouth works when it holds truth, they believe. She adds, “India is ready to have what we have to offer, the idea is not new, it just has to be aligned with what the need is.”

On what’s next, she says, that with the diaspora being extremely supportive, they hope to grow beyond the country, and work on their website and designs to get tech-heavy in the future. They are also in talks with sustainable market stores across the country that are aligned with what they make. “We currently have a good problem of having to say ‘no’ to customers because of the number of orders coming in. So we’re working towards scaling up and look to adding more key players like designers, etc,” says the mother of two.

Kula offers pan-India free pick up within 24 hours of placing an order and delivers products repurposed garments, bags, buntings, etc., within 4-5 working days.  

India Matters


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