About the Brand
Punah: translates to ‘afresh’ which means - in a different way.
True to the meaning of its’ name, Punah:, a slow fashion brand founded by Aashita Jain, aims to provide an upcycling service to its' audience by giving a second life to textile waste using Indian handicraft techniques. The brand reimagines textile waste generated at all levels - be it pre-production, production, post-production or even post-consumer waste. More so, they even upcycle their dead stock and repurpose them into new pieces.
Punah: is known for its bespoke denim pieces using several textile handicraft techniques to revamp each and every outfit. They work with skilled artisans who restore and customise these pieces either according to a unique design or as per the client’s wishes.
“If not an entrepreneur, I would have been a traveller. I love exploring new places, thier crafts and their food.” - says Aashita Jain.
Growing up, Aashita was always keen on exploring fashion. With limited resources and choices at her disposal, upcycling was a skill she picked up in her early days - reworking outfits that she had got from the local flea market or transforming her mother’s sarees into dresses and co-ord sets. Needless to say, the values of repurposing and sustainability were ingrained into her during her tender years and has shaped her into the strong woman she is today.
After graduating from Pearl Academy in 2015, she worked as a stylist, buyer and merchandiser at a fashion rental company. During this time, she was witness to the frightening amount of waste generated by the fashion industry. Eager to find a solution to this problem, she started reading more about sustainable, ethical and slow fashion. She remembers watching a documentary called “The True Cost” that was the last straw to nudge her into being the sustainability crusader that she is today. Set in New Delhi, the documentary depicts the amount of toxic water waste generated during the dyeing of jeans.
She started experimenting with upcycling her friends’ and colleagues’ old denim wear, in an attempt to give them a new life. Soon after, this side hustle became a full time venture and a 360° upcycling service and brand, Punah: was born.
After the inception of Punah:, Aashita’s relationship with her wardrobe and her clothes has evolved too. Shopping is no longer a whim, all purchases are conscious, need-based and timeless pieces. She makes sure to only buy products which create a low impact on the environment and supports small sustainable labels.
Punah:'s design process is unconventional to say the least. Instead of coming up with design ideas first, Aashita sources the materials and fabrics. Piles of factory rejects are sifted through and then fabrics are handpicked by Aashita herself. The designs are then developed on the basis of the acquired material. During the designing process, she uses up the scraps by crafting them into small elements and details to the pieces. This is her favourite part of the entire process - experimenting with ideas and sampling different techniques.
(Seen Here: Bette Dress)
Contrary to popular belief, upcycling takes nearly double the time and effort as compared to creating something from fresh material. This is because, while upcycling waste, first a surface itself has to be created and then a garment has to be made out of it. When post production waste like factory-reject garments are upcycled, things become even more challenging as a pre-stitched garment comes with multiple restrictions as is.
Punah: makes sure to do its bit towards reducing environmental production - that’s why, instead of producing textile of their own, they work with pre-existing surplus. Although surplus, stitched garments are sourced from Delhi and Jaipur alone, discarded textiles are sourced from manufacturing units all over India.
Punah: believes that the key to building and growing a sustainable brand is research. Knowledge is power, and the more we know about the evils of the fashion industry, the better a chance we have at eliminating them. Greenwashing will never stand when opposed by real sustainability and sooner or later, consumers will know the difference. Being true to oneself is the first and most important step to being better.
The three pillars of sustainability at Punah: are fair trade, 360º circular fashion and zero waste practices. The craftsmen, seamstresses and artisans are the backbone of the brand and are well preserved with fair wages and proper working conditions. Creating upcycled garments from the whole spectrum of textile waste ensures a positive cycle of production and repurposing even scraps by means of embellishments and patches assures zero waste.
In the past year, Punah: rescued 150kgs of textile waste, and aims to rescue 450kgs this year.
Having said that, the story doesn’t quite end there. Even their packaging is eco-friendly and promotes the values of mending and reusing.
The tags used with their products are made from plantable seed papers with not just the garment details but also the details of each and every person who has worked on that outfit. A small repair kit made out of leftover fabric pieces which contains fabric swatches, a needle, threads, trims and spare buttons is also attached with each order. Their newest addition to the orders they send out is a small heart shaped pin made from production scrap which symbolises their motto; 'remade with love'. The outfit is then packed in a bag made from an old cotton sari with a handwritten note for the customer. The final mailer packaging is made from cornstarch which is 100% biodegradable.
Products and Upcoming Plans
Punah:’s most recent Unwind Collection embodies a beautiful fusion between the intricate zentangle patterns and a tonal kantha embroidery. Complete with patchwork panels, these silhouettes are perfect for a tropical summer!
Currently, Punah: is working on a capsule collection of accessories and they’re also looking to collaborate with some other brands for their upcoming collections.
While we, at Refash, are eagerly waiting for these projects, we’re spending our summer afternoons lazing in their Simone Shorts or Diane Skirt!
Content Credit - Sanandita Ghanty
Image Credit - Punah: