The upcycled chic scarf touches many facets of sustainability. It is about transforming livelihoods of tribal women, it is about solving a major pollution problem which was also a health hazard for local people, it is about upcycling waste into an elegant fabric using little energy and resources than traditional manufacturing, and last but not the least, it's a story of passion and determination of 4 years of trials and experimentation to upcycle the chicken meat industry feather waste into an elegant fiber!
There is one main person who is the force behind this upcycled scarf! With a graduate degree from a design school, along with his creative instinct and talent has made Radheshji a genuine upcycling guru. He used to see dumps of chicken feather waste from a poultry shop and wanted to do something about that. After four years of intensive trials and interim failures, he was successfully able to convert the chicken feather waste into a refined elegant fabric and won several awards including a patent for his innovative fiber!
He is from an area in India which has a rich heritage of art and culture built over centuries by tribal artisans and communities. In the last few decades, tribal people have become the poorest, uneducated, and backward community and very few could keep up with the socio-economic change resulting from mechanization and Industrial growth. Tribal women were the worst affected, they had no choice but to earn livelihood by picking and selling dry wood collected from forests, work as unskilled temporary laborer in fields and stone quarries.
With a mission to uplift the lives of these women, he now works along with his wife to make it possible. They together have trained 200 plus women in handloom weaving techniques. By providing them with fair wages and a friendly work environment, they are making a huge positive impact on the lives of these women and their families. With each scarf, these women are weaving a life of dignity and hope for their community.
Interested in knowing further about the patented process? Here is a more detailed description.
The chicken feather waste collected from different poultry sources is passed through multiple (close to 30!) sanitization and de-feathering steps. No harmful chemicals are used in this treatment; instead, centuries-old textile care techniques do the magic by using natural agents such as alum, lemon, and soapnut. Once the feather pulp is extracted, artisan women utilize the traditional hand-wet spinning techniques to create a light-weight fiber from this. The fiber finally gets weaved into a fabric through the warp and weft handloom technique.
The process doesn’t end here! The bonus treat of this defeathering process is that its byproduct gets converted into a compost which gets distributed among the local farmers as an excellent bio fertilizer.
In short, this scarf hits all checkmarks of earth-friendliness!