Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 30, Tuesday August 5, 2008


recycling the oldies

You open the closet doors. A closet full of clothes stare you in the face. You stare back with equal force as you cross off a mental list. The blue sari perhaps? No that has a hole. How about the mulberry kameez from last Eid? It's not dressy enough. Surely that black sari which has always earned praise. No? It's been worn too many times.

How many times have you been a victim to this scenario? How many times have you opened your closet to realise that you have nothing to wear? Things are either old, worn out, don't fit or simply out-of-fashion. But hold your horses before you pack your ammunition to brave the local fabric vendors and sly sari sellers. All is not lost. You have a closet full of good clothes. Okay maybe they are not good by your current standards, but there is no reason to clear it out and pour money into refilling it. Instead, reuse, revamp and recycle.

Let's start with a few ground rules. First, unless something is so fragile or damaged that it is beyond salvation, all items should be considered for this recycling process. Second, if you are a fan of Indian soaps, STOP taking cues from what those ridiculously decked out heroines and vamps alike are wearing. India is a great place to derive inspiration from, but look at the right sources. Lastly, do not compromise your personal style by going with the flow. Whatever the current trend maybe, first assess if it suits you. That being said, are we ready to recycle?

The age-old mix-n-match theory
Sometimes we become so used to wearing "set" clothing that we forget that it is okay to mix and match. The trick to mixing and matching is figuring out how colours compliment each other. If you have that one "can't-part-with" kameez that you've worn so many times that everyone thinks its glued on to you, give it an entire new look. Pair it up with a complimentary but contrasting shalwar and dupatta. You are bound to have some outfits that come with solid shalwars and dupattas- make good use of them. And who said you have to limit yourself to solid colours. Designers like Diane von Furstenberg are always known for playing around with different prints, mixing and matching them. Take a page out of their book. Do something daring and play around with different pieces. That is the beauty of the shalwar-kaeeiz-dupatta. They are a set of three separates. So play around with those separates.

Six yards calls for several pieces
Tired of all those old cotton saris? Don't throw them away. Recycle them. And mind you, that is a lot of fabric to recycle. A sari is sufficient to make a shalwar and kameez. You can get a skirt and kurti out of it too. The trick is to make good use of the border, the patterns and the train of the sari.

As the train is the focal point of a sari, it is always good for making a dressy fatua. Use that in the front and if there isn't enough fabric, use some of the plainer fabric from the rest of the sari for the back. That will add more detail to your new fatua. The sari border is always good for sleeve edges, kurti hems, shalwar bottoms and skirt ruffles. So give those old saris some serious consideration before throwing them out.

Clip away those old kameezes
The quickest trick to making your old kameez new is to raise the hemlines. After all, short kameezes have made a comeback to stay. Otherwise, why not just do away with all that extra material and make it into a kurti? Another nifty trick to give an old kameez some new life is to clip away at the front and back hem at a thirty-degree angle and make it asymmetrical. It's all about fooling the eye and it could not be any easier.

A stitch in time saves nine
Got some old shirts lying around? Change them around by shortening the sleeves and switching those old buttons for new and interesting ones. Also adding a few rows of contrasting running stitches around the collar and sleeve edges will give it some new detail. And if you really want to be bold, dye it a different colour. Even something as simple as adding or getting rid of pockets can give an old shirt a new look.

A few clips to Capri
Tired of those old jeans? A few snips is all it takes to raise them below your knees and switch them to capris. But if you are hesitant with those shears opt for embellishments such as studs, patchwork and stitching. Or add some detail with a paintbrush and some good old bleach.

Saris, kameez, shirts or pants- whatever your closet has to offer- don't throw them away! Bring out the inner designer within you and recycle them. It'll save you a lot of money and above all, they will each be one-of-a-kind pieces that only you will have. So get creative!

By Tahiat Mahboob
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


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