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22-YO Turns 200 Plastic Bags into Ancient Embroidery, Earns Spot on Lakme Fashion Week

Maharashtra resident Sara Lakhani launched a collection where she made clothes with Kantha embroidery using plastic waste, landing a spot on Lakme Fashion Week 2022.

Did you know that even after a ban on single-use plastic in 25 states in India, we continue to produce 34,69,780 tonnes of plastic as per a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCP) report? This number is suspected to double in the next five years.

With an urgent need to address the situation, a 22-year-old Gadchiroli-born Sara Lakhani is on a mission to upcycle plastic into beautiful embroidery. She uses waste polythene bags to make threads, which are in turn used to make intricate Kantha embroidery.

Her latest collection ‘Trash or treasure’ was showcased at Lakme Fashion Week in 2022. She used more than 200 polythene bags to bring the collection to life.

Hailing from a small town in Maharashtra, Sara was always driven towards trees and natural beauty. But she was also privy to a serious issue — watching her father, who worked in the field of pharmaceuticals, burn plastic waste helped her realise the devastating impact this action had on the environment.

So when it came to designing her collection of clothes, she had a clear idea of what she wanted to do. “When I started off with the project, I knew very well that whatever designs I make have to use sustainable materials,” she tells The Better India.

She started experimenting with various methods of embroidery and found Kantha to be the most viable, one as it could use the most plastic. “I spent hours in the workshop with embroiderers as one piece would need at least 15 days of manpower and extremely delicate hand work,” she says.

“My generation understands how important it is to be more sustainable, and how our activities cause damage to the environment. I wish to explore more and make clothing in India sustainable and eco friendly.”

Edited by Divya Sethu