Green is the new denim and being eco-friendly is in. Bangalore fashionista Omi Gurung is making recycling trendy, artistic and fun. Omi, a fashion designer working for his own label ‘OMI’, launched a new recycling awareness group on May 10 of this year under the same name. The group teaches people how one can use old household items to make clothing items, accessories, decorative pieces and more.
Originally from Sikkim, Omi came to Bangalore to study fashion designing at Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology in 2003. He has since been writing for several newspapers and fashion sites online, and is also the fashion editor for a local magazine.
“I thought my creativity should be used for other people too,” says Omi. “This is a new venture where I can do some social work in an exciting way.” Every weekend Omi holds a two-day workshop for people to learn what they can do to help the environment. On Saturday he shows them a presentation on little things that can be done to reduce one’s carbon footprint, followed by a demonstration of how to modify household items. He then asks them to bring waste objects the next day and sees what they can make. “It’s challenging and makes people think out of the box,” he says. “You can use old buckets for lamp shades and bulbs for decorative pieces!” There are also various demonstrations on Omi’s Facebook page, free of cost.
Omi describes three types of people who usually attend his workshops: businessmen, housewives and students. “The corporates come to de-stress as it’s therapeutic. The housewives come for business ventures or entrepreneurship as they can sell items they make. The students come because it saves money,” says Omi. Youngsters are now sporting buttons and bottle caps for earrings, trinket anklets and old painted canvas shoes. It’s Omi’s new fashion trend, and he says it’s catching on.
Omi’s group consists of about 15 people from Bangalore who get together twice a week to discuss new ideas for items and for outreach, as well as more than 250 members online. They are also planning to visit colleges to give free demonstrations. They also want to work with NGOs to sell their products, with the proceeds being split 50-50.