I WAS A SARI was adjudged the winner of the ‘Circular Design Challenge Award 2019’, India’s first award for sustainable fashion, at a gala event held at Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) Summer Resort 2019. I WAS A SARI will receive cash prize of Rs. 20 lac and an opportunity to present his/her collection at the upcoming Lakmé Fashion Week Winter Festive 2019. The Circular Design Challenge received 900 entries from over 30 cities in India. After a shortlist of 8 designers presented their collection at LFW summer resort 2019, the eminent jury selected the winner. The award and a cheque of Rs. 20 Lacs was presented by Mr Gunjan Sharma, CMO Polyester Business Reliance Industries Ltd. in the presence of Mr Atul Bagai, Country Head, UN Environment India and Mr Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President, Head of Fashion IMG Reliance, to Stephano Funari and Poornima Pande for their label I WAS A SARI. The jury gave an honourable mention to the runners-up, Aman Singh of label Bareek and Kanika Ahuja of label Lifaffa.
Poornima Pande, 33, and Stefano Funari, 50, from Mumbai are part of I was a Sari an eco-ethical lifestyle fashion brand.
Poornima has a degree in apparel manufacturing from NIFT and Stefano has studied at the Universita Bocconi in Italy. An underprivileged community of women in Mumbai made the products with the up-cycled pre-loved saris.
Their designs utilize existing resources in terms of fabrics and materials and reinvent them into unique pieces. The winning collection comprised recycling of plastic tarpaulin into a raincoat, bag and umbrella, a 3D appliquéd garment, bags and shoes as well as a men’s wear creation, long T shirt with funky logo and carry bag.