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  • Claire Kalikman

NEHA CELLY HAS DESIGNS ON YOUR JEANS

August 2020

The Wardrobe Crisis




NEHA CELLY SAW FIRST-HAND HOW DAMAGING THE DENIM INDUSTRY WAS - SO SHE DECIDED TO CHANGE IT. IN OUR NEW SERIES ON EMERGING TALENT, SHE SITS DOWN WITH CLAIRE KALIKMAN TO ANSWER HER QUESTIONS.


CK: Tell us about your brand. NC: I am the founder of a denim design and research house called Bluehemia. I am based in India, where the designer denim market and the use of sustainable practices are slowly growing. For 15 years, I’ve been working in the denim industry with both global denim mills and smaller brands. As a conscious designer, I recently collaborated with the denim company Arvind Mills to start a sustainable brand called 'nece gene'. ‘Nece’ happens to be my initials, but it also stands for “necessary.” The brand focuses on buying mindfully and needfully, and includes high fashion denim as well as denim basics. All the garments are made from waste from the denim industry including yarns, fabric scraps, and small denim yardages. My customer, just like me, equally values denim, fashion, and the gift of nature. 





CK: Why is sustainability important for you? NC: Sustainability is a way of life. The next generations deserve to enjoy the mountains and oceans just the way we did.  [If] the most sustainable garment is the one that is not created in the first place, the second most sustainable garment is made with no virgin materials. Our brand uses no new raw materials, from fabric to trims to packaging. We believe in a closed loop system that does not harm the planet. These small acts can bring about change and make the planet a happier, greener place for everyone.

CK: How does your company implement sustainable practices? NC: In 2018, the international jeans market grew to USD 57 billion, with almost two billion pairs sold around the world. This immense number of garments comes with huge rises in waste and pollution that are growing worse each year. With each pair of jeans manufactured, there is small yardage, cutting, and sampling waste. All of these byproducts are sent to the landfill and [add up to] a large carbon footprint. Seeing this waste while working in the denim industry, I realised the importance of ‘closing the loop’ by recycling the waste in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Nece gene uses denim industry waste that would otherwise go to the landfill. Our ‘Wetland’ dress is created with more than one thousand small denim scraps!



CK: What makes the denim industry so polluting?  NC: It’s huge - think billions of garment. Manufacturing jeans is a polluting process that [often] involves toxic dyes and chemicals, many of which end up in our water supply. The denim industry also uses a tremendous amount of water, from growing cotton to creating the ‘worn’ look in jeans.  CK: Can you tell us about some of the brand collaborations you’ve done, and how you use denim for jeans as well as other garments? NC: Our main partner is Arvind Mills. We use their industry waste to create our products. We have also collaborated with the footwear brand Greeensole to make high quality shoes using refurbished soles. Another collaboration was with Tex Fasteners, a zipper company that makes their products out of recycled polyester and without the use of water in its dyeing process. We are looking forward to new projects that make all products #scrapmadewow.

 Watch the Nece Gene show at Helsinki Fashion Week below.


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