More often than not, we throw away our old denim jeans when they go out of fashion, not realising the cost the environment pays for it.

When 16-year-old Nirvaan Somany came to know about the waste produced by the fast fashion industry, it left him deeply concerned.

Born and raised in the capital, Nirvaan would often see how parents donated jackets to homeless people during the winter.

He started Project Jeans where he converted old denim — that would otherwise end up in landfills — into sleeping bags for people living on the streets of Delhi.

“Since denim has very good insulating properties, I thought of making sleeping bags with it. Denim is very strong and never gets old.”

With his mother already in the clothing business, collecting fabric and stitching them into sleeping bags became easier.

He has collected over 1,400 denim jeans. It takes seven pairs to make one sleeping bag.

“We used the sleeping bag on our porch. I think it should work up to 6 degrees Celsius,” says Shivani, Nirvaan’s mother.

Nirvaan has also hired 10 women from nearby villages such as Rajokri to make these bags.

“These women were unemployed before. We trained them in making these sleeping bags. They can make one bag per day, which adds up to 300 bags a month,” he says.

Today, Project Jeans has collection centres in Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and other cities.

“I want to create awareness about the fashion industry. While buying this, they will learn about why denim should not be thrown. Many people are willing to buy them,” says Nirvaan.