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Tiruchy girl's stitch in time saves generations

For the aspiring fashion designer, who was then pursuing Commerce, out of lack of choices, it was a moment of awakening. 

Published: 21st November 2021 05:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st November 2021 03:18 PM   |  A+A-

As I love fabrics and clothes, seeing so much go waste really affected me. So, I decided to do something about it. My long-term goal is to create art design in movies using it Shrinidhi, Re-tailors C

Express News Service

TIRUCHY: In 2017, a pleasure trip to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) in Tiruchy changed the life of Shrinidhi Umanathan. The 23-year-old undergrad saw a huge mountain of waste near Mela Kalkandar Kottai on the way to BHEL. To her horror, she found out that it was nothing but a gargantuan pile of cloth waste.

For the aspiring fashion designer, who was then pursuing Commerce, out of lack of choices, it was a moment of awakening. “As I love fabrics and clothes, seeing so much go waste really affected me. That’s when I decided to do something about it,” she says. 

For Shrinidhi, it turned out to be her life’s mission. While working towards her passion for creativity, she also spreads awareness about the importance of recycling and sustainable living.  In October 2017, during her second year of Under Graduation, she started an enterprise named ‘Re-tailors’, in which she used cloth scrap to make different products like bags, pillowcases, screens, pouches, quilts, doormats, etc.

She also took lessons from her physically-challenged brother on how to make art and craft from waste. Later, she went on to do a trial run of her products outside big showrooms on NSB Road in Tiruchy. And to her surprise, they sold like hotcakes and there she knew there was a market for her recycled products.
Shrinidhi Umanathan says it motivated her to participate in ‘Startup Mela 2.0’ held at St Joseph’s College in Tiruchy in 2018, where she presented interior theme based decoration using waste and won first place in the competition. 

“It was my game-changer,” she recalls. She added that she has done interiors for several cafes and restaurants in the city. In 2019-20, Shrinidhi started exporting her products to Europe, and also won the Tamil Nadu Student Innovator Award. 

Expanding her venture, she has also set up a shop in Coorg, Karnataka, and sells her wares through the likes of Amazon, Flipkart, and Bunko Junko, a Mumbai-based upcycle clothing store. While she collects cloth waste from wholesale textile shops across the country, some even pay her for collecting waste. Interestingly, she has no machine at her shop. She gets the stitching done through freelance tailors.  

Have you ever wondered how much waste is generated in a textile unit or at your local tailor’s store? It’s a lot! It usually goes on to become a threat to the environment. Shrinidhi Umanathan is now planning to buy a machine from Bengaluru-based TrashCon that separates dry and wet waste. The dry waste is converted into sheets which are replacements for plywood and can be used to make furniture. The wet waste is converted into fertilisers. 

She also plans to collaborate with the Tiruchy City Corporation once she gets the machine. “I want to create awareness about waste. My long term goal is to create art design in movies using it. I want to do a fashion show every year based on waste,” she adds.


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