RIL launched the Circular Design Challenge (CDC) five years ago with the audacious goal of fostering an awareness of sustainability and circular practices in all facets of the fashion industry. The CDC is now an annual event during fashion week. This initiative, a dynamic partnership between RIL, the United Nations in India, and Lakmé Fashion Week, aimed to promote transformative values in the fashion industry.
The Circular Design Challenge has been instrumental in bringing India’s fashion industry closer to environmental consciousness over the years.
This season, CDC announced its global expansion, which culminated in the most recent season of Lakmé Fashion Week x FDCI. The organization’s mission is to provide a global platform to talented fashion designers worldwide. R|Elan is presenting the next-gen fabric brand by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), in association with the United Nations in India, the CDC focuses on cultivating eco-conscious creativity within the fashion industry for a greener and more sustainable future on a global scale.
For five years, CDC has recognized and assisted exceptional winners who integrate eco-friendly innovations with fashion. Past winners include Malai Biomaterials Design, which develops sustainable leather substitutes, Bandit, which is an expert at upcycling different materials into eco-cool products, Pieux, which focuses on recycled materials and modular garment construction, and I Was A Sari, which upcycles discarded sarees while empowering women artisans.
This season, the CDC invited designers from all over the world to contribute to a more sustainable and circular fashion future by expanding its competition on a global scale across the UK, EU, and APAC regions. The CDC has been successful in becoming a catalyst for change.
The design challenge prioritizes important sustainability factors, assessing characteristics such as product durability, biodegradability, and multifunctionality. Then, knowledgeable jury members keep a close eye on things like closed-loop systems, ethical material use in production, energy efficiency, and other aspects, making sure that the social and environmental effects match up with one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the UN.
The British Council for the UK, Redress for Hong Kong/Asia-Pacific, and Istituto Marangoni for the European Union are just a few of the cross-border partnerships that CDC maintains.
The Asia-Pacific edition of the show recognized “Studio Medium” by Riddhi Jain and Dhruv Satija, “Banofi” + “Studio Beej” (Consortium) by Jinali Mody and Arundhati Kumar, and Pei-Wen Jin from the region as a finalist this season Without’ by Anish Malpani as the three finalists.
Amesh Wijesekera, a London-based Sri Lankan designer, qualified for the finals during the UK jury meet, while Felipe Fiallo was the winner from the EU jury meet.
Utilizing innovative patent-pending technology, Without produces superior materials from discarded Multi-Layered Plastic (MLP) packaging, providing a broad range of environmentally friendly products.
One of its innovations is the line of sunglasses called Without, which are made from recycled chip packets and emphasize functionality with features like UV protection, comfort, and durability. Without is an impact-driven startup that promotes circular products as part of a guilt-free consumption philosophy.
The brand is essential to improving waste pickers’ standard of living because of their inventive process and dedication to social empowerment.
PRODUCT CATEGORIES, PRICING AND TARGET MARKET
Anish Malpani, the founder of Without, told Apparel Resources, “Our main product is the world’s first recycled sunglasses made from plastic waste, which is currently priced at Rs.1500 and can be customised as per consumer preferences.”
The target market for the brand consists of Gen Z and millennials living in Tier-1 cities in India who are between the ages of 25 and 35.
“Our main goal is to connect with people who care about fashion and sustainability and who are socially conscious.”
PRODUCTION AND MANUFACTURING
The company handles all of its manufacturing and production internally. The brand sources its plastic waste locally from waste pickers, and its facilities handle the extraction process.
Local suppliers also provide the palettes. The glasses are produced using a combination of domestic and international collaborations; the lenses are usually sourced from suppliers in China or India, and the hinges are sourced from local distributors.
Speaking about the lead times, Anish stated, “The process would take somewhere between three and six months internationally if we had to design a new pair.” This would entail everything from the drawing to the manufacturing process. Nevertheless, our lead time for the style we currently have on the market is one week
PRODUCT CATEGORIES, PRICING AND TARGET MARKET
There are presently two primary categories at Beej: lifestyle and fashion. A selection of purses, belts, wallets, and small accessories are available in the fashion category. The brand offers gifts, travel, and home products under the lifestyle category.
India is Beej’s main market, serving men and women in the 30- to 50-year-old age range. With a nationwide reach throughout India, the brand sells its products online through its website, channel partners, and a few select offline stores. It also provides international shipping services.
The group at Banofi works as a material science start-up with a focus on developing a plant-based leather substitute made from leftover banana crop material. The main product line includes Banofi leather panels, which come in various thicknesses, hues, and finishes with price ranging between US $ 30 and US $ 45.
The brand targets people between the ages of 20 and 45, appealing to a wide range of consumers, especially those who place a high value on making environmentally friendly decisions.
Products from Banofi have become popular all over the world, reflecting the growing interest in conscious fashion. Currently, the UK, USA, and India account for the majority of its clientele.