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Chindi—Handmade accessories using recycled yarn

Hand woven accessories made with recycled yarn by low-income craftspeople in India

Photo of Tanushri Shukla
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Chindi [which means "scrap" or "waste" in Hindi] is a social enterprise based in Mumbai, India. We collaborate with fashion houses and textile recycling facilities to recycle mixed apparel waste into yarn. We work with a group of low-income craftswomen from the slums of Dharavi to crochet, knit, and weave this yarn into high quality accessories. 

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Chindi

Website (if applicable)

www.chindi.in

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Mixed Apparel Textile
  • Mixed Footwear Textile
  • Synthetic Leather

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

We partner with Geetanjali Woollens, one of the world's biggest exporters of recycled yarn. Nike's apparel waste will be manually sorted by colour and fabric, then mechanically pulped and woven into yarn, which is then twisted into 4 plys to produce yarn we can hand weave with. The yarn will then be crocheted into products by our team of craftswomen. Please see the recycling process at this private link: https://medium.com/@tanushrishukla/textile-recycling-8561bf6d1f1e The synthetic leather can be used to make the straps and other trimmings—these are currently made with upcycled tyre tubes that resemble leather and are extremely sturdy.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

These bags are part of our first collection using recycled yarn. We plan to soft launch this collection in early May.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Piloting
  • Full-scale roll-out

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Our target market comprises conscious consumers who are willing to spend a little bit more than usual to purchase an ethical, handmade, sustainable product. We focus primarily on women, aged 28-45 living in urban cities of India like Mumbai and Delhi. We also hope to sell internationally soon. Our product benefits our consumers, our textile recycling partners, fashion houses looking for sustainable ways to dispose of their waste, and especially our craftswomen's livelihoods

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Chindi is in the process of being rebranded and relaunched as an affordable luxury brand of sustainable accessories—attached are some images of our work-in-progress rebranding. We plan to soft launch in May through pop-ups at select high-end stores and venues around Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, and Ahmedabad. We will also sell via our website and other high-end online marketplaces like Jaypore.com and Nete.in. We also intend to stock in boutique design stores in various urban cities around India. Following our launch, we hope to sell internationally via a trade fair and online marketplaces like Etsy. For production, we have partnered with CORP [www.corpindia.org] that runs 20 vocational training centres for women around Mumbai. We currently work at their Dharavi centre and have the potential to train women at their additional centres and quickly scale up production in response to market demand.

How is your idea innovative?

We are India's first organisation specifically tackling the problem of textile waste. We focus on recycling rather than upcycling textile waste so that we can work with large quantities of mixed waste. We then hand crochet it into one-of-a-kind products that currently do not exist in the Indian marketplace. Our raw material and production process is ethical and fair end to end. Finally, our products are completely circular and infinitely recyclable for which we hope to establish an EPR program.

What inspired this idea?

I was living in London and working in publishing when I made a trip to India where I visited the garment manufacturing unit run by my family. Here I heard the word "chindi" a lot and saw large sacks of mixed waste being dumped in the Deonar landfill behind our unit. This was the a-ha moment.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Tanushri, Founder—Former publishing professional and digital strategist who has worked in agencies and publishing houses in Mumbai, London and New York. Shibani, Product Designer—Former head of product development at Yamini Textiles & export houses.

In what city are you located?

Mumbai

In what country are you located?

India

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

Sole Proprietor

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Chindi is an organisation ahead of its time—for 3 years we have been working on spreading the word about circularity in textiles in India, long before designers were interested in the concept. We are now at an exciting moment in our evolution when our product approach, raw material, design, and the market's awareness have all converged. We are entirely bootstrapped and self funded, which restricts our ability to employ more women and market our product internationally.

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