Episode 7

full
Published on:

16th Apr 2024

Threads of Change: How Sarees Are Reshaping Fashion's Future

Dani Mahendra shares the inspiring journey behind Sareecycled's mission to transform discarded sarees into stunning jewelry and accessories, all while empowering women and promoting sustainability. From the inception of the brand to the innovative upcycling process, Dani shares insights into the heart and soul of Sareecycled, offering a glimpse into the future of fashion where creativity meets conscience.

Dani is a pharmacist, serial thrifter, mum and social entrepreneur who is passionate about empowering women as without them change does not happen

Connect with Dani:

@sareecycled on Instagram

Dani's Website

Mentioned in this episode:

About the show:

This is ´╗┐Reloved Radio: Sustainable Fashion Stories, the fortnightly show that brings you inspiring stories from guests who are making a positive impact in the sustainable fashion space.

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Join the Reloved conversation on Instagram.

Credits:

Music: 'Old Leather Sneakers' by PineAppleMusic

Transcript
Dani:

It's that clash between their culture and living in the Western world.

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The nod to the heritage comes from the

fact that I am using something that

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has been around for thousands of years.

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What I wanted to do though, was

bring it to modern day women so.

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you're still carrying a piece

of that culture with you.

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It's just that you're not wearing

it in that traditional way.

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Chryssius: Hey Relovers!

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Welcome back to another episode of

Reloved Radio, where we share inspiring

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stories of sustainable fashion and the

incredible individuals shaping its future.

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I'm your host, Chryssius Dunn, and today

I'm chatting to a very special guest.

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And I say very special

because she's my cousin.

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Well, technically she's married

to my cousin, but same, same.

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Dani Mahendra is the creative force

behind Sareecycled, a brand that's

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redefining fashion and making a

meaningful impact on the world.

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With a passion for upcycling and

a dedication to empowering women,

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she's weaving threads of change

through her innovative designs.

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Welcome to the show, Dani!

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Dani: I'm so happy to be here.

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Thanks for having me.

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Chryssius: It's a pleasure.

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So tell us about Sareecycled

and how it came about.

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Yeah.

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Dani: So Sareecycled was basically

a brand that evolved from a concept

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during my maternity leave, to be honest.

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Chryssius: Where all

the best ideas happen.

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Dani: Exactly.

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So basically what I really wanted to

do was have a sustainable business

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that combined by, you know, South Asian

heritage and bring it into Western

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culture, which is a little bit of a

reflection on myself because, you know, I

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was born in the East, raised in the West.

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And essentially, all of the designs

that we've come up with are just things

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that I wanted to bring in elements of

that traditional South Asian heritage.

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So, using like a South Asian traditional

garment, a saree and bring it in

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for the modern day woman to wear.

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So one of the main aims of Sareecycled

was to work with either an institution

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that empowers women or an organisation

that empowers women, but also be able

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to give back to that institution or

to women and children in general.

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It took me quite some time and it

was only, I would say, like two years

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after I finally got the idea that,

yep, this is actually how I can do it.

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And so using sarees was a no brainer to

me because as a Sri Lankan born person, we

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wear sarees all the time and especially

growing up in Australia, we tend to

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only wear sarees for special events.

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And we never wear the same saree twice.

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So most people have, you know, I'm going

to say like up to like 10 to 20 sarees

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just stuck in their wardrobe unworn.

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So I knew that sarees were going

to be quite a like an easy thing to

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work with especially because it was

an existing fabric people generally

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wouldn't use it again for anything

else, especially in Australia.

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Back in India, they would generally try

to reuse their sarees as much as possible.

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There's definitely a history there of

people passing it on from, say There's

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like a culture of having servants there.

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So basically they would

pass it to their servants.

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Their servants might make something

else out of it, like cushions,

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or they might make something

for the kids out of that fabric.

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So it, it's kind of well known that

you would reuse a saree in India,

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but the same concept doesn't really

stand anywhere else in the world

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because we're not used to reusing,

we're not used to recycling products.

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And so using sarees it was just like an

easy idea for me and what I wanted to do

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was focus on accessories in particular

because as you know in Melbourne most

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people just tend to wear black, me

included, I'm wearing black today.

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And sarees being so colorful and having

those little throughout it, all the little

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designs that come into the different

types of sarees that you can get.

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I knew that it would be like the perfect

piece to upcycle into new things.

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Chryssius: And what kind of products

are you making with the sarees?

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Dani: So it's mostly

focused on accessories.

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So we make necklaces.

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So they're basically fabric bead

necklaces where sarees are just sewn

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into I guess, lengths of fabric and

then we fill each bit with wooden beads.

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And we also make the similar

earrings to go with it.

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So they're like basically beaded earrings.

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We also make butterfly fabric

earrings and also as well.

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And more recently just because I

love the look of kimonos I've really

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wanted to have like a small amount

of kimonos to try and upcycle.

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So, my collaborative partner,

Sewing the Seeds, they graciously

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tried to make some kimonos for me.

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And I've got a small amount of stock

of kimonos as well made from upcycled

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sarees, which was quite exciting.

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And they look amazing.

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And the perfect thing

to wear to the beach.

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I just wanted to make something that

was very colorful and give you that

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feeling of happiness when you wear

it, almost like dopamine dressing,

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that's what my aim was, yeah.

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Chryssius: And sarees is make the

perfect upcycling material because

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they're basically untouched fabric.

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Dani: Well, that's the thing.

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It's so for people that don't

know what a saree is, it's like

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a really long piece of fabric.

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And when I say long, it's like up

to nine metres long that essentially

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just kept as a whole piece of fabric.

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You don't normally cut into

a saree when you wear it.

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It's just basically wrapped

around and then draped across you.

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So, it's virtually just untouched.

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And it just made sense to use it

because, once you have worn it once,

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it's basically still brand new.

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There's very little and tear

when it comes to a saree.

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Obviously, if you've worn it correctly.

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It just made sense.

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And the fact is that

because it's brand new.

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In this like, modern day and age,

we tend to buy a new saree for every

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event, meaning that the existing, you

know, items that you've got in your

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wardrobe you're not actually using again.

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So what I have done as part of Sareecycled

is I've had a lot of followers that

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wanted to donate their sarees, and

these are people living and residing

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in Australia that have basically just

stocked up on sarees, just similar

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to myself, where they've just been

sitting in their wardrobes, no one's

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going to re-wear them again and so

people just basically store them.

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And that's all that happens to them.

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They don't really see

the light of day anymore.

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And so lots of people contacted me to

actually try and donate their sarees.

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So this is actually what I'm working

on at the moment, thanks to my

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Mum, she's an excellent sewer.

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From my grandmother down to my Mum,

my auntie, everyone basically still

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earns a living to this day by sewing.

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So, yeah, my Mum was, um.

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so happy to help with the business.

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So she basically has taken on the

role of being basically my one

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person manufacturing team to create

some things in-house as well.

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So that's quite exciting with some of

these donations that we've received.

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And I can't tell you how

many sarees I've got now.

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I think I must have at least close to 50

sarees sitting in boxes, to be upcycled.

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Yeah.

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And that it was just from, I think...

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three people.

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Chryssius: So how many accessories are

you able to make from a single saree?

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Dani: Oh, so many.

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It basically what I wanted to do

was firstly try to make a set.

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So I wanted to make a kimono that's

got a matching necklace, matching

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bracelets bangles and earrings.

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And.

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from speaking to our collaborative

partner, the one saree can actually be

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used to make around 25 to 30 necklaces.

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Chryssius: So...

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50 sarees is a LOT of accessories.

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Dani: It's a lot.

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So that's why I wanted to use the

majority of them to make kimonos because,

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you know, I didn't want to have too

many of the same accessory around.

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I wanted every accessory to be unique.

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So generally with all of our accessories,

it's either one of a kind or it might

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just have a duplicate, but that's it.

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There's no more than, yeah, maximum of two

of each type of product, which is quite

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unique actually when you think about it.

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Chryssius: You mentioned earlier

that people don't tend to

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wear a saree more than once.

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Why is that?

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Dani: So, look, I don't know if

it's just a, like a cultural thing,

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but whenever there's an event like

there's this unspoken mentality that,

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you know, if you don't wear something

new, then it's almost like bad,

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you're bringing bad luck to the event.

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So it's, Like for New Year's Day,

for example, on like the first of

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January, every year when we go to the

temple, I'm a Buddhist I was always

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told I had to wear something new.

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I couldn't wear something old.

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So, I think it's just a cultural thing.

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It just gets passed down from

one generation to the next.

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It's just what we're growing up with.

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Yeah, and that's very hard to change.

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. the other culprit Is definitely social

media, with the younger generation.

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It's all about posting that pretty picture

in your amazing glittery saree or lehenga

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and then posting it all over socials.

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And then unfortunately, you can't

wear it to the next event because

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it's already on your socials.

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So people just end up purchasing

another saree or another lehenga.

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Which, it's unfortunate because

these things are they're beautiful.

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I just don't understand why You would just

wear it once because it's, amount of time

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and effort that goes into producing it.

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Like some of these sarees can cost

upwards of like a thousand dollars.

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or some of the well known Brands, they're

like a couple of thousand dollars.

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So like, how can you not wear that again?

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I just don't understand.

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Chryssius: Yeah, I don't

really get it, either.

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Until recently, you also ran

Sustainable Sarees, which is closed

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now, but it was essentially a preloved

marketplace for South Asian clothing.

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And I remember we were chatting and

you were saying that there was a lot of

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stigma around purchasing a preloved saree.

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People just didn't want

to buy them, right?

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Dani: Yeah.

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It's just that I think culturally,

if you think of a preloved item,

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it's not even called preloved.

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It's just called secondhand.

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That instantly changes things.

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They, there's this mindset that if you're

buying something secondhand that firstly,

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it's dirty and maybe not visually dirty,

but it's just that just concept of being

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dirty and that it might be, like, ripped

or stained or So people just avoid it.

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Everything to do with secondhand items.

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Unless it's obviously a borrowed

item, so it might be like, your

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cousin's saree or your mum's saree.

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Chryssius: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that

every saree I've worn has been borrowed!

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Dani: Which is so weird, if you're buying

a secondhand saree from someone you

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don't know, that's like, totally illegal.

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I just don't understand that concept.

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Cause when I was running that business

people used to comment all the time, say

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saying, is so needed, but the same people.

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then go and purchase more new products.

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So it's really it was such a strange.

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Feeling so I did a pop up for it.

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I'll tell you a story.

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I did a pop up store where I

was selling basically all of

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my vendors pre loved goods.

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I could probably count at least

10 different women who were, I'm

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going to say around their 50s and

60s, who came up to me and were

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like, what you're doing is amazing.

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I don't know why we don't

have this available here.

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We need someone like you to

basically sell our sarees.

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We've just got stacks of them in our

wardrobes and we need to get rid of them.

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We're not using them.

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But those same women were then going

to the other stores and buying sarees

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and like, they using it as an excuse

to buy what I was trying to promote.

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anyway.

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Each to their own.

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I think, that mindset shift

is exactly what we need.

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But it's not going to happen instantly.

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And we just need more businesses

talking about some of the small

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changes that we can all make to then,

eventually have that big effect.

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So, they talk about like,

change starts with one person.

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So that's all we need.

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We just need one person.

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And then yeah, and hopefully we'll

see some more change in the future.

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Chryssius: Tell us about Sewing The

Seeds and the women who are making the

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majority of Sareecycled's products.

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Dani: Yeah.

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So I mentioned that, you know, part

of Sareecycled's mission was work with

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an organisation that empowers women.

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And so when I started off trying

to figure out how I was going to

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upcycle these sarees, I contacted

quite a few different organisations.

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And...

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to be honest, it was just very difficult

and it took me quite some time to

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find an organisation that fit with

values that I wanted for the company.

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And so, Sewing the Seeds

basically ticked all of my boxes.

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They are a registered charity

in Australia and they work with

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women in Pondicherry, India.

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So they work specifically with a gypsy

tribe who are called the Nari Kuruvas, I

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might not be pronouncing that correctly.

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Essentially a marginalised

community within Pondicherry, India.

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And the women there that the founder

of Sewing The Seeds actually met

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asked her to teach them how to sew.

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That's what they wanted most.

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And so I know there's a lot of negativity

and some articles that have been released

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where, you know, people are coming up

with these, like, sewing training centres

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and sewing women, but it's actually

not leading to any sort of difference

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in society or in their community.

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But Sewing The Seeds I find is

quite different in that this is

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actually what the women requested

and that's what they wanted most.

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And so, Gail, the co founder of Sewing

The Seeds what they did was they She

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basically, these women a training

centre full of sewing machines.

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She got them in a trainer, obviously,

to basically teach them how to sew.

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and then the other problem they faced

was Once they've produced things, they

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didn't have anyone to sell them to.

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So, the women would then have to

go out to local markets and then

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try to like hustle their products,

which again was not exactly the aim

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of what Sewing The Seeds is about.

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So then what Gail actually went and

did was she used a lot of her contacts

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to try and find like international

businesses or brands that would

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be willing to purchase some of the

products that these women make.

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And so now Sewing The Seeds actually

supplies quite a lot of products to

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a lot of businesses around the world.

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So Sareecycled included.

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And they basically try to help the

women by firstly training them to

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sew, but then also allowing them to

earn a living wage by selling their

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products to all of these businesses

that can be found internationally.

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So they're not having to, you

know, travel an hour or two to a

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market to then sell their goods.

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And so that's what I

really liked about them.

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And the second thing that I really wanted

was, like evidence to know that they were

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actually doing what they promised to do.

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So, the main things that I wanted to know

was, you know, have they actually made a

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difference to the lives of these women?

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They would ensure that, you know,

women were seen by a doctor.

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Some of these women had never actually

had a health check in their life.

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So they would organize for a doctor

to come to the training centre for

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the women to basically have a checkup.

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They would provide them with loans

for their children to get educated.

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And these loans were interest free loans.

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So basically unheard of in India.

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Again, it just shows that when you

empower women, you empower the community,

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because if you can have those women

teach their kids and give them an

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education, then instantly those kids

are going to be uplifted themselves.

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Like, they're going to be able to use

education as a way out of poverty.

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And because they're a registered

charity, everything is above board.

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They've got all their financials up to

date and have access to that as well.

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So that was really important to me

because everything was out in the open

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and I could look up everything and make

sure that, you know, what they're doing

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was correct and above board basically.

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Whereas a lot of the other

organisations I contacted, it was very

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difficult to get that information.

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So yeah, these are definitely the main

points that I wanted for Sareecycled and

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for an organisation that I was going to

use to provide products for Sareecycled.

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Chryssius: Sustainability is

obviously another big focus for you.

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Apart from relying on donations, how

do you go about sourcing new materials?

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Dani: So, Sewing The Seeds does the

majority of that for me because most of

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our products come from them at the moment.

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And yeah, so, in India, there are

there's actually a position and I really

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wanted to look up the name, but I cannot

remember the name of this person, but

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it's actually a job there where they their

main livelihood is actually to go and

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source sarees and these vintage sarees.

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And.

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They might, have like a person

that wants specifically a pure silk

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saree that is from this region.

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So they will use their connections

and contacts to find that

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particular product for that person

which may be a preloved product.

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It may be brand new, but generally

will be preloved because, you

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know, it's a vintage product.

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And so, yeah, I need to

look up the title for you.

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There's like these wholesale markets

in India that sell loved sarees.

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That's all they do.

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They just gather all of these sarees

that have been worn and no longer

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used, and the whole, like, market

is just full of preloved goods.

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So again this is why using a organisation

that's based in India was just so

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Because no other area or no other

country could do the same thing.

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Like I tried looking in Sri Lanka as well

because one of the main, know, things

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that I wanted to do was give back to

the people in Sri Lanka being of a Sri

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Lankan background, but they just don't

have the same like I guess, wholesale

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environment that they had in India.

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And so, yeah, Sewing the Seeds would use

these kinds of people and these wholesale

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markers to actually source the sarees.

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But in addition, because they

are a charity as well, they

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also receive donations of

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So, it's a bit of both.

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Chryssius: Are you able to share any

examples of how Sareecycled has made a

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positive impact on the lives of these

women that are making your products?

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Dani: Oh, that's a tough one, Chrissy.

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It's hard for me to answer

that because Sewing The Seeds.

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Want to maintain the privacy of the

women but I can share like, in terms

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of like a general way so a lot of the

women, they come from backgrounds where

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they're not they may have experienced,

like, sexual violence, domestic

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violence they may have been involved

in child marriage, that type of thing.

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So, the women involved or that come to

the training centre at Sewing The Seeds

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are very much looking for an escape.

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And so the training centre acts

as a safe space for the women.

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It's only women allowed in the training

centre and it creates this I guess,

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for them to open up to each other, and

communicate with each other and talk

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about what's happening in their lives.

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So Sewing The Seeds doesn't really

tell me exactly, you know, the name of

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this person that produced the bangle,

for example, and their history, just

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to maintain that level of privacy for

that individual, and honestly, I think

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that's just something to admire because

it's quite a sensitive environment and

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It's a sensitive topic for a lot of the

women that come to the sewing centre.

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But what I can say is by purchasing

things through them, they're able to

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make a positive impact for these women.

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Aside from providing them with an

opportunity to create products for

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Sareecycled, a lot of the money goes

into providing them with education

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in terms of women's hygiene.

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Again, something that they never

really was educated on and so

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it's just definitely something

that Sewing The Seeds is working on

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educating the women on these topics.

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Health care, which we've already

kind of touched on that, you

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know, a lot of the women have

never even seen a doctor before.

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So this provides them with an opportunity

to actually get some health care.

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And then, providing them

with that living wage.

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So, there's obviously a difference

between earning a fair wage and a living

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:

wage where a living wage means that

they actually have enough money to

351

:

pay for all of their daily necessities,

but also to have some savings as well,

352

:

which is again quite unheard of in,

communities that are experiencing poverty.

353

:

Chryssius: Sarees have a cultural

significance in many parts of the world.

354

:

So how do you honour and celebrate

their heritage in your upcycled designs?

355

:

Dani: I like to think that

Sareecycled is just a mixture of me.

356

:

And the reason why I say that is because

like I really struggled growing up with

357

:

the concept that I was a Sri Lankan

born individual living in Australia.

358

:

So I would avoid my culture

as much as possible.

359

:

Like, I would avoid wearing sarees to

events avoid all the cultural celebrations

360

:

that happen throughout the year.

361

:

And it was only maybe once I hit 18 and

went to uni and things and met other

362

:

people like me that I realised oh wait,

it's okay to celebrate your culture.

363

:

It's okay to say, you know,

you're from Sri Lanka.

364

:

It's fine.

365

:

Like, it's totally acceptable.

366

:

And I don't need to myself.

367

:

As much as I would like to stick to being

traditional and not really, changing the

368

:

concept of what the saree is Sareecycled

is all about making something that's

369

:

more modern out of a traditional saree.

370

:

So, the nod to the heritage comes from

the fact that I am using a saree and

371

:

I am using something that that has

been around for thousands of years.

372

:

And I'm not creating things that are

going to offend, say, the culture.

373

:

I'm not creating, don't

know, g strings or something.

374

:

I'm still very much trying to

make sure that, you know, it's

375

:

not offensive or anything.

376

:

What I wanted to do though, was bring

it to modern day women and making sure

377

:

that they can incorporate something

that is just so colorful, so full of

378

:

tradition into their everyday wear.

379

:

and A lot of purchases that are made are

actually from South Asian Australians

380

:

because they understand that they, I

guess they echo everything that, you

381

:

know, I've just said, because that's

what they've grown up with as well.

382

:

It's that clash between their culture

and living in the Western world.

383

:

So I think whilst I do want to maintain

that traditional aspect of, you know,

384

:

and the history of the saree the concept

of Sareecycled is not necessarily that.

385

:

It's mostly to bring it up into the modern

day age so that it can be worn every day.

386

:

Sarees aren't worn every

day here, obviously.

387

:

As a South Asian Australian, you

can still wear a saree, but it's

388

:

just going to be your necklace or

your bangle, or be your kimono.

389

:

I could be anything, so.

390

:

you're still carrying a piece

of that culture with you.

391

:

It's just that you're not wearing

it in that traditional way.

392

:

Chryssius: When you're working in an

industry that's dominated by fast fashion,

393

:

I have no doubt that promoting upcycled

fashion and sustainable practices comes

394

:

with its fair share of challenges.

395

:

How do you overcome that?

396

:

Dani: It's so difficult.

397

:

It's extremely difficult.

398

:

I guess the main thing is that I'm

working in a niche environment.

399

:

So, People that are buying fast

fashion aren't necessareely going

400

:

to be interested in Sareecycled

They're two different people.

401

:

So in terms of trying to work

around the concept of fast fashion

402

:

and trying to navigate that, I am

still myself working through that.

403

:

And the problem is that it's very

difficult to get someone who's into

404

:

fast fashion and so used to purchasing

from fast fashion to purchase a

405

:

$20 Sareecycled necklace when they

can get a $5 necklace from Shein.

406

:

So the price point really

makes it difficult.

407

:

And what I really do try to make

people understand is that, you're

408

:

not just paying for the product.

409

:

You're paying for everything that

goes into producing that product.

410

:

As I've mentioned, everything that

we make is completely handmade.

411

:

Either hand sewn or

using a sewing machine.

412

:

So there's someone

that's working all this.

413

:

There's someone who's sitting there hand

sewing the necklace, using the sewing

414

:

machine to produce that particular item.

415

:

Takes time.

416

:

It takes effort.

417

:

So, I've mentioned that my mum

is helping me with a lot of this.

418

:

So for her to create like one kimono,

it takes her at least a couple of hours.

419

:

She does it, maybe like an hour

every couple of days just because,

420

:

she's currently also working.

421

:

But just to produce one kimono, it

would take her around half a day,

422

:

then that kind of tells you the

amount of time that, overall, it takes

423

:

to produce one particular garment.

424

:

And so if you're comparing something

that's entirely handmade to then something

425

:

that is either completely manufactured you

just don't know what you're paying for.

426

:

You don't know if your 2 necklace

is being produced by a factory in

427

:

Bangladesh by a 10 year old girl.

428

:

Like you don't know.

429

:

And so that's what I think

people really need to realise.

430

:

When you're purchasing from a

sustainable brand one of the first

431

:

things you should be looking for.

432

:

Like where are these products coming from?

433

:

Who's making them?

434

:

And what is the business doing

to be sustainable and what

435

:

do they see for their future?

436

:

So that's the kind of stuff that I think

people should be looking for and that's

437

:

what I try to promote through Sareecycled

and our social media page and things.

438

:

But yeah, it's incredibly difficult

439

:

Chryssius: I mean, yeah.

440

:

The thing is our values today are so

different to what they used to be.

441

:

Whereas in the past, we would place a lot

of value on something that A) would last

442

:

a long time and B) may have been handmade.

443

:

Whereas now a lot of consumers just,

they just, don't have the same values.

444

:

And it's really difficult to change that.

445

:

Dani: Obviously we need more sustainable

businesses to kind of like hone in on

446

:

this topic and talk about it more but

without that I don't think anything

447

:

will really change unfortunately.

448

:

That's just my opinion and I think

it's just going to be too hard too

449

:

difficult for Us as sustainable brands

to go against the big guns like shine

450

:

who make two billion dollars of profit.

451

:

So, yeah, it's very difficult.

452

:

Very difficult.

453

:

Chryssius: For people who might be

looking to make more sustainable

454

:

fashion choices, what advice would

you give them for incorporating

455

:

upcycled pieces into their wardrobe?

456

:

Dani: Oh, start small always start small.

457

:

So, for me.

458

:

been into thrifting.

459

:

I've never ever been into thrifting.

460

:

I only really understood

thrifting once my son was born.

461

:

Okay.

462

:

Before that I had a friend in uni who

took me to a couple of thrift shops

463

:

and I was like, why are we here?

464

:

I don't understand.

465

:

And she was like look at this.

466

:

And it was like, basically like this

bejeweled purse and she's like, you would

467

:

never be able to find this anywhere.

468

:

I just still didn't understand it though.

469

:

And so that's why I think

you just need to start small.

470

:

You can't just go ahead and do like a big

vintage purchase and be like, yup, now,

471

:

You really need to start small.

472

:

And so, that's why I wanted to

create accessories with Sareecycled.

473

:

So yeah, you can still wear,

like, you know, your K Mart

474

:

jacket or whatever it is.

475

:

But just add, like, a

handmade piece to it.

476

:

And just, you just have to start

somewhere to create change.

477

:

So As long as you can make it easy

for people to access it it's something

478

:

really small that they can incorporate

into their daily wardrobe or their

479

:

life, then I don't really see why

people would hesitate on that.

480

:

That would be my advice.

481

:

If you want to start wearing

upcycled pieces, just start small.

482

:

You don't need to go straight to like,

a bomber jacket or whatever it is.

483

:

Just start with a ring.

484

:

And then see if you like it, oh yeah.

485

:

You know, you might go through a

thrift shop and buy a ring and you

486

:

really like it, and you tend to

actually kind of get addicted to it.

487

:

So for me, and why I say that I started

to get addicted to it was when my son was

488

:

born, I realised how expensive it was.

489

:

Kids, items are so basically the beds, the

cots, they're the big ticket items, right?

490

:

But then even just like

clothing, I couldn't believe it.

491

:

Like he literally wore a size, I think

zero outfit for maybe three months?

492

:

And so you're just constantly purchasing

things for them as they grow up.

493

:

So I just couldn't believe it.

494

:

And In preparation for my son being

born, I started thrifting things.

495

:

I was on Marketplace all

the time, buying things.

496

:

Like, he's cot his secondhand.

497

:

He's pram is secondhand.

498

:

They were the two main big

things that were secondhand.

499

:

We had a nursing chair

that was secondhand.

500

:

I just didn't understand why

people straight away wanted to

501

:

buy brand new for these things,

because they're made to last.

502

:

Like a cot, how could you spend, you

know, $:

503

:

going to use for a year and then they're

going to move on to a toddler bed?

504

:

Like, I just couldn't grasp that

concept and why or how people can

505

:

justify that only to then throw it out.

506

:

So that's how I got into it.

507

:

But obviously everyone's

triggers are different.

508

:

And yeah, I think you just got to

start small and I guarantee you

509

:

will get addicted to it though.

510

:

Once you do start.

511

:

Chryssius: As someone who sells

on Etsy, how do you engage with

512

:

your community and your customers

to build that sense of connection?

513

:

Dani: If you don't know what

Etsy is, it's basically a

514

:

marketplace for handmade products.

515

:

So a typical Etsy user will

use Etsy because they know it's

516

:

going to be a handmade product.

517

:

It just made sense for me to sell on

Etsy, but in terms of fostering that

518

:

community, that's actually very difficult

to do on Etsy, because you don't really

519

:

have that social media component.

520

:

You basically just have the shop and it's

like any other marketplace like eBay or

521

:

Amazon, people just search for your item.

522

:

And find you.

523

:

So, in terms of fostering that community,

that's why I opened the Instagram

524

:

account and to try and not just promote

Sareecycled, but just the concept of

525

:

sustainable fashion or green fashion.

526

:

A lot of concepts that I do try to talk

about are, just making sure people

527

:

are aware of, where their products

are coming from to rethink or make a

528

:

conscious decision when they're making

a purchase and also be aware of just

529

:

general facts and figures of what fashion

waste looks like in this day and age.

530

:

So, I don't know about you,

but I was obsessed with that

531

:

ABC program, War on Waste.

532

:

Oh my god.

533

:

God, like my mind was blown.

534

:

Just visualising how, one

garbage truck full of clothes

535

:

goes to landfill every second.

536

:

is that?

537

:

Like how, and what was really

great about War On Waste was they

538

:

would show you how much a garbage

truck full of clothes looks like.

539

:

Presenting the facts and figures

is one thing, but actually

540

:

seeing it, like, It's crazy.

541

:

That was also like part of the

spark for me to start something

542

:

like this or to start something

like a sustainable business.

543

:

If I hadn't have watched that and

seen what the outcome of all of this

544

:

is, I don't think you can fully grasp

the concept of the whole life cycle

545

:

of fashion waste, from the production

right through to its end of life

546

:

and just ending up in landfill.

547

:

Not so, not necessarily in

Australia, but just in third

548

:

world nations around the world.

549

:

It's just heartbreaking to see it.

550

:

Chryssius: They're just being used

as a dumping ground for all the

551

:

fast fashion that we don't want

552

:

Dani: Exactly.

553

:

That's right.

554

:

And it's, no one really

cares and that's the problem.

555

:

Chryssius: How does Sareecycled embrace

slow fashion principles, like quality

556

:

over quantity, and mindful consumption?

557

:

Dani: Yeah so Sareecycled only

produce very small quantities

558

:

of every item that we do make.

559

:

We are very much focused on being

small batched and, One of the things

560

:

that I wanted to make sure that I

just didn't have excess stock lying

561

:

around so we just make very limited

quantities enough to basically promote

562

:

the brand hopefully change some

people's minds at the same time.

563

:

And the second thing that I know

that I really need to focus on

564

:

is producing things in house.

565

:

So, by using a production partner in India

it means there's quite a lot of cost

566

:

involved, but not just the cost of the

shipping, but like it's the environmental

567

:

cost of the shipping as well.

568

:

So, that's why I really wanted to make

sure that we were able to then produce

569

:

things in house so that, I could

eliminate that cost or reduce the cost.

570

:

Because I don't think I'd ever stop

using Sewing The Seeds because There's

571

:

just such a great organisation.

572

:

But yeah, I just wanted to try and

reduce that cost where possible.

573

:

And, try to be.

574

:

more sustainable where I can.

575

:

Chryssius: Looking ahead, what

are your hopes and aspirations

576

:

for the future of Sareecycled?

577

:

Both in terms of business growth

and also the environmental impact?

578

:

Dani: There's a couple of other

products that I wanted to explore.

579

:

in terms of moving past accessories.

580

:

I'm not going to go into details just

yet but in terms of that environmental

581

:

impact as well, I'm always looking

at where we can reduce that impact.

582

:

So, for example, you know, I,

did need to search between all the

583

:

different types of compostable mailers

to see which one would work for us.

584

:

Like, I didn't realise that there

was just so much variety in it.

585

:

And even though it's compostable, if

people don't compost it it doesn't

586

:

actually compost in landfills.

587

:

So then you've got to think

about that because are people

588

:

actually composting or not?

589

:

I don't know.

590

:

So then the brand that I actually

eventually went with their

591

:

product actually does disintegrate

because obviously you don't want

592

:

it to turn into microplastics

either when it disintegrates.

593

:

So it completely decomposes in landfill.

594

:

And then there's all these other things

that go into packaging like the tape that

595

:

you use or the stickers that you use, the

labels so, yeah, I'm constantly looking

596

:

at where we can reduce that impact.

597

:

But yeah, I think, The main thing that

I really wanted to do is just to start

598

:

producing things in house because then

that will overall reduce a lot of that

599

:

carbon that we're using at the moment

to have things posted from India.

600

:

Chryssius: What's the

brand of your mailers?

601

:

Dani: They're called Biogon Packaging.

602

:

they are very well known

for their doggy poop bags.

603

:

So if you've seen those green doggy poop

bags at the council parks, that's them.

604

:

Chryssius: This conversation is not

going where I thought it would, but okay.

605

:

Dani: A little surprise for you.

606

:

Chryssius: Yeah.

607

:

Thanks.

608

:

Dani: But yeah, no, they're

completely biodegradable those

609

:

bags the compostable mailers.

610

:

Chryssius: And the very last question

that I like to ask everyone is,

611

:

do you have a best bargain brag?

612

:

Dani: Actually, I do have something that

613

:

found for myself.

614

:

Again, this when I used to go thrift

shopping with that friend of mine in uni.

615

:

And we went Camberwell Market.

616

:

Mind you, I was like

maybe 18, 19 at that time.

617

:

Again, totally against thrifting,

didn't know what the heck, why we

618

:

were even at Camberwell Market.

619

:

And there was this person that

had a bucket of scarves for, I

620

:

think they were like, 5, maybe 2.

621

:

I can't remember exactly.

622

:

It was so long ago.

623

:

And I found a Louis Vuitton scarf.

624

:

Chryssius: You're kidding.

625

:

Dani: So that is my bargain bag because

I still have that Louis Vuitton scarf.

626

:

Chryssius: Excellent.

627

:

Dani: Yeah, that's my bargain brag.

628

:

That's been my best purchase

ever, as a thrifter.

629

:

Chryssius: I love that.

630

:

So if anybody would like to see Dani's

beautiful scarf, you can head to the

631

:

Reloved Radio Instagram and check

out the "Bargain Brag" highlight.

632

:

Dani, thank you so much

for chatting with me today.

633

:

I've loved hearing your story and the

inspiring mission behind Sareecycled.

634

:

Dani: Oh, no problem, Chrissy.

635

:

Anytime.

636

:

Um, Thanks for having me.

637

:

and thanks everyone for listening.

638

:

Chryssius: What's the best way for

people to get in touch with you?

639

:

Dani: Yeah.

640

:

So, you can contact me

through social media.

641

:

So just search , on Cycled.

642

:

or you can go to Etsy and

have a look at my shop.

643

:

And both, Etsy and Instagram

link to each other.

644

:

can have a look at both if you

Show artwork for Reloved Radio: Sustainable Fashion Stories

About the Podcast

Reloved Radio: Sustainable Fashion Stories
Be inspired by the individuals who are not only transforming wardrobes but also paving the way for a planet-friendly fashion revolution. Tune in every second Tuesday to discover how these incredible stories of secondhand style, sustainable fashion, upcycling, rewearing and reselling are reshaping the narrative of our closets... and, in turn, our world.

About your host

Profile picture for Chryssius Dunn

Chryssius Dunn

Wife. Mother. Op-shops. Re-wearing. Anti-fast fashion. Decaf coffee. Cat videos. Train surfing. Nude skydiving. What? Oh, I was just listing words.