KOCHI: Slingit! a collaborative venture between Kochi-based artist and educator Radha Gomathy and women stitching collective in Alappuzha; sends out a powerful message with trash. Textile waste never looked so cool, let alone wearable. With myriad patterns, vibrant colours and ergonomic designs, the bags brought out by Radha Gomathy are a treat to the eyes.
Over the past decade, Radha has scripted a history of sorts, developing a sustainable use for tailoring waste. One of the pioneers in upcycling, Radha says everything just fell into place, the many thoughts of hers culminated together to create the repurposed wonders her bags are.
Available in all sizes and shapes, the bags are a result of continuous trial and error with fabric and designs. The range of products includes pencil cases, mobile phone pouches and sling bags of myriad sizes.
Radha says the journey wasn’t easy. Back when she started, upcycling or sustainability was unheard of. “When I used to go to tailors asking for fabric scraps, none of them could wrap their head around my request. They would ask me to take the whole trash or none at all. Only a few people let me sort out and choose the correct fabric. And that is how it began,” says Radha.
Over the years, the designs evolved and Radha diversified. She rebranded her enterprise recently into Slingit!. “Upcycling was always an aspect that was close to my heart. It resonated with me but reached fruition through these bags,” she recalls. Priced nominally and available in varied tones, the designs are a treat to one’s eyes. “I don’t just stick to cotton. Whichever fabric can be used goes in as the raw material. Everything is trash, be it cotton or not. It is all about upcycling the trash,” says Radha. She was recently in Thiruvananthapuram to participate in the sustainability and alternatives expo organised by the Haritha Kerala Mission and Suchitwa Mission.
Crafted from the textile scrap are little dolls, each with its own personality. Each one is different, Radha tells you. “I even have dolls that each person can relate to. Since they are crafted out of garbage, they have been called Garby,” says Radha.