Ribhav Kapur, the 38-year-old founding father of Econock — a Delhi-based luxurious model which makes sustainable equipment — has all the time been inclined in the direction of eclectic but practical issues.
His coaching in style know-how on the Nationwide Institute of Trend Expertise (NIFT) in Mumbai geared up him to ship environment friendly outcomes. For over a decade, this coaching got here in useful on the planet of ‘excessive style’ working beneath famend designer Manish Arora.
All the things, nonetheless, modified for Ribhav in 2017 when he was engaged on a collaborative venture between Manish Arora and Swarovski, the legacy Austrian jewelry model.
Talking to The Higher India, Ribhav remembers, “We needed to do window installations for Swarovski utilizing their crystals and beads. Resulting from unexpected causes, quite a lot of beads and crystals which had been to be shipped by Swarovski bought caught in transit. We needed to improvise to fulfill the deadline for the installations. So, we contacted Swarovski and bought to know concerning the crystal mud (a byproduct of constructing crystals) which was obtainable in varied colors and sizes as effectively.”
“We made the installations utilizing some beads and quite a lot of crystal mud from Swarovski apart from outdated supplies and unused materials in-house,” he provides.
Having led operations for a main designer label for over a decade, Ribhav understood that optimising time and design high quality had been the first manufacturing parameters. A transparent give attention to design, high quality, value and time left little room to optimise wastage.
“It was solely this Swarovski venture which required us to work with restricted assets, for whom we curated an set up. This was actually a eureka second for me. It gave me a perspective of how restricted assets can empower inventive designing,” he remembers.
This curiosity led him away from the world of conventional excessive style to pursue a grasp’s diploma in sustainability from Malmö College in Sweden, the place he was uncovered to “newfound information on sustainable enterprise practices, the round economic system, and upcycling”.
“Combining my love for journey and innovation, I got down to construct my dream venture — Econock, a model that creates luxurious equipment by upcycling,” he provides.
Ribhav’s dream venture started with upcycling scrap leather-based to make equipment. Established in 2020, Econock makes a variety of equipment comprising baggage, satchels, wallets, bracelets, telephone slings and passport instances, amongst others, largely manufactured from scrap leather-based.
On the coronary heart of their model is sustainability, performance and sturdiness. As their web site notes, “By making one of the best use of discarded leather-based, materials and threads, we remove the initiation of uncooked materials processing, leading to upcycling the prevailing materials in the direction of a practical trigger.”
Working with scrap leather-based
In accordance with a Authorities of India web site, “The leather-based trade in India accounts for round 13% of the world’s leather-based manufacturing of hides/skins and handles sturdy annual manufacturing of about three billion sq. ft of leather-based.” When employed within the textile, garment and footwear trade, nonetheless, quite a lot of scrap leather-based is generated in the course of the manufacturing course of.
Within the style trade, Ribhav notes that wastage exists at every stage from product designing to growth and scaled manufacturing. Large proportions of waste are generated to maximise earnings, significantly throughout scaled manufacturing, to avoid wasting time and prices per unit.
“We all know leather-based is notorious for being dangerous for the setting. However what about scrap that’s already current and obtainable? My imaginative and prescient was to make use of this waste leather-based to make luxurious merchandise, and after quite a lot of brainstorming, we got here up with our first assortment — Refined Survivor — which marked the beginning of Econock’s journey,” says Ribhav.
The principle supply materials Econock employs is leather-based scraps that are oddly formed and sized. They’re principally stays and cut-outs of bigger leather-based skins.
“Take the instance of the Nora Tote Bag from our Refined Survivor assortment. The bottom is made out of waste leather-based. In the meantime, the 2 halves on the floor are created from a single sheet of leather-based with the optimistic half positioned on the higher panel and the remaining waste utilised within the backside sections so that there’s zero wastage,” explains Ribhav.
“We consider that the style trade must be aware whereas creating new merchandise and designs and take heed to the wastage that’s generated. Our purpose is to create a world the place excessive style is synonymous with sustainability, the place each bit is thoughtfully crafted to minimise waste and be environmentally acutely aware,” he provides.
Talking to The Higher India, Gouri Rawat, the inventive head at Econock, talks concerning the selection of working with scrap leather-based and why their model went forward with it.
“Once we first labored with scrap leather-based, quite a lot of occasions folks questioned our selection of fabric. They requested us why we couldn’t use extra vegan supplies. We don’t endorse using leather-based however scraps (waste) exist. Even with new-age supplies like cork, we are able to’t overlook the side of scraps being current as a result of they’re harming the setting as effectively. Our work is to upcycle these scrap supplies and eradicate waste that leads to landfills,” explains Gouri.
She goes on so as to add, “With scrap leather-based, we’ve began reinventing floor elaborations and methods to seek out methods of upcycling this waste.”
However not all scrap leather-based is similar, and given the truth that they’re a luxurious model, a sure diploma of high quality is predicted. To make sure high quality, Ribhav notes that Econock sources scrap leather-based from famend leather-based merchants for export and trade suppliers in Paharganj and Noida.
“We have now constructed mutually useful relationships whereby we’ve got monetised their discards, thereby establishing a dependable and sustainable provide chain. As of now, we solely use leather-based scraps. We don’t recycle outdated leather-based to make new merchandise as a result of that requires an intensive [chemical] remedy course of. Nonetheless, we do provide customisation of outdated leather-based baggage for our prospects in order that they will reuse them in new avatars,” he claims.
Sourcing scrap leather-based, nonetheless, is a problem. The first problem, in response to Ribhav, is discovering high-quality scraps and industrial byproducts to make sure the sturdiness of their merchandise.
As he explains, “Moreover, we face challenges in sorting and utilising the varied scraps, which regularly are available in varied sizes and irregular shapes.”
“We meticulously type these supplies, utilizing bigger panels for larger silhouettes and medium ones for smaller baggage. Even the tiniest bits of waste generated throughout our manufacturing course of are repurposed as floor elaborations, thus guaranteeing zero wastage,” he provides.
No Econock with out conventional artisans
A standout function of Econock is its capability to marry sustainability with a wealthy tapestry of conventional craftsmanship and experience.
As Ribhav notes, “At Econock, our artisans play a pivotal function in infusing our merchandise with a wealthy tapestry of conventional craftsmanship and experience. They concentrate on varied conventional crafts, with a specific give attention to leather-based craftsmanship. Our expert leatherworkers rework leather-based scraps into beautiful equipment, using their experience in reducing, stitching, and adorning to make sure high quality and sturdiness.”
“Past conventional crafts, our artisans additionally embrace upcycling innovation, discovering inventive methods to repurpose even the tiniest waste supplies, leading to distinctive floor elaborations and particulars. Their numerous expertise and creativity are instrumental in making our choices distinctive, genuine and sustainable,” he provides.
Take the instance of Alim Ashraf, a conventional leather-based craftsman and native of Muzaffarpur, Bihar, who realized how you can work with leather-based working in a small-scale unit together with his household. At Econock, his work begins with sourcing the scrap materials and bringing it to their studio.
“Right here, we work with our in-house designers who give us a sketch of what they need. We carve out a sample accordingly, lower the scrap materials, piece them collectively, after which we develop the ultimate product,” he says.
Furthermore, he has purchased into the idea of upcycling however notes that there are challenges to be encountered that aren’t current when working for a conventional agency.
“What we do is gather items of scrap leather-based, match them, and additional fine-tune them to develop new merchandise. This takes some effort. With recent leather-based, you’ll be able to mould it nonetheless you want. Once you work with scrap leather-based, nonetheless, you will have restricted flexibility. You need to determine how you can craft a brand new piece from the restricted materials obtainable in order that it seems like part of the design and never misplaced,” he provides.
Impressed by Kintsugi
Underlying all their work is a design philosophy impressed by Kintsugi — a conventional Japanese artwork kind used to fix damaged pottery with treasured metals — inside the realm of waste supplies.
“We have now tailored this method to fix and rejuvenate discarded supplies, crafting them right into a set of utilitarian equipment. This method not solely breathes new life into waste supplies but in addition embraces and accentuates the inherent fantastic thing about imperfections, aligning completely with Econock’s ethos of sustainability and transformation,” says Ribhav.
“We’re dedicated to sustainable style and creating high-end, experimental items utilizing waste supplies. Our designs prioritise performance and longevity with numerous silhouettes. Our assortment highlights revolutionary upcycling methods with easy shapes and practical particulars” he provides.
As Gouri notes, “Once we began this model, we had this concept of working round sustainability. Coming from a design background, my preliminary ideas had been to create items which are so eclectic in nature and effectively thought out that folks can be shocked to seek out out merchandise like these are made out of waste. This was the design philosophy that kind of went into our merchandise. For instance, Noir Et Blanc incorporates a monochromatic method, whereas Gold Riddance makes use of daring gold tones. We showcase craftsmanship in our Excessive-Braid all-upcycled leather-based line.”
“Our equipment should be very utilitarian and so they can’t be simply a part of one other fad. We don’t wish to create equipment that may finally find yourself in landfills as soon as a seasonal pattern has handed. They’re sturdy by way of materials, utilitarian by way of their performance, and design-wise, they’re archival in order that they continue to be in your wardrobe for a very long time,” she provides.
Shifting forward, nonetheless, they’re increasing their product vary to incorporate jewelry crafted from scrap leather-based and steel, and have developed a brand new cloth created from waste threads. Emblematic of their new product vary is their upcoming assortment ‘Creation of Eve’, which reimagines the story of Eve (from Adam and Eve) by upcycled equipment.
“May we present Eve in a extra highly effective gentle as a result of she has been ignored a number of occasions in historical past? We wished to couple that concept with how folks usually overlook or overlook waste as effectively and that’s how we got here up with an entire storyline,” she provides. The method employed within the creation of their Eve assortment takes inspiration from the idea of Kintsugi.
“We tried to use the identical idea with scraps and be a part of them with golden embroidery to make sure there’s zero wastage. We have now created an entire cloth from waste threads popping out of shirts and T-shirts. As quickly as you have a look at our assortment, you’ll be able to already see that there are smaller scraps in bits and items and a golden gentle that’s gleaming from inside it. That appeared like a good way to introduce the creation of Eve in her strongest kind,” she says.
The transfer into jewelry is a part of their bigger evolution as a model. Econock initially began off with making upcycled baggage, however just lately tapped into smaller equipment.
“Not everybody can afford our upcycled bag however folks have requested us whether or not we might make smaller utilitarian equipment. That’s once we got here up with a small vary of equipment like a wine case for gifting and smaller journey equipment, like telephone slings and passport instances, that folks would simply wish to purchase. They are often a part of the bigger Econock group even when they will’t afford our upcycled baggage and as an alternative purchase our smaller items. With girls adorning quite a lot of equipment, we determined to create a jewelry line as effectively,” explains Gouri.
Regardless of taking these steps into new product territory, Econock stays a bootstrapped enterprise. “We wish to construct this organically. However down the road we’re eager to discover companions and buyers who’re in synergy with the values we are attempting to inculcate right here,” says Ribhav.
In a world of quick style and costly designer labels, right here’s a self-sufficient model focusing totally on sluggish, round and sustainable style decisions. Potential companions and buyers might want to perceive this in the event that they wish to collaborate with Econock.
(Edited by Pranita Bhat; Pictures courtesy Econock)