Though Karishma Sehgal loved fashion, she didn’t think it could shape up to become a career path. But once she realised that her true calling was fashion, Karishma went on to study Fashion Communication. “It instilled the faith that I was meant to do something in the fashion space. My education helped me get a very holistic perspective of the industry. It also made me see the dirty side of fashion. To know of this and to not do anything about it felt wrong,” she says.
She started The Baksa Project as an attempt to reconnect with her past through clothes. “I wanted to bring out beautiful fabrics and scraps that have been with my family for many years and to repurpose them by creating unique pieces of clothing. According to me, fashion is my visual language. It allows me to make a statement without having to speak. It gives cues into my journey, my culture, my being.”
Before starting the project, she spent a good four months studying the sustainable fashion market. “As a consumer and lover of fashion, I had a false, preconceived idea that sustainable fashion was not for me because what was available in the market didn’t suit my style or budget. On researching and learning about how I could make sustainable fashion choices to suit my own needs, I realised that sustainability also meant using, reusing and repurposing what I already had. Once I had that understanding, everything else fell into perspective.”
The projects that come under her initiative are vintage and upcycled. The garments under the vintage projects are made using vintage fabrics — mostly sarees that she has sourced from her mother, grandmother and great grandmother’s closets. The upcycled garments are newer garments. “I upcycle a six-year-old jacket that is not usable anymore using recycled materials like soft drink cans, unused embroidery threads, beads from a broken piece of junk jewellery, etc. in interesting ways to make it wearable, artistic and personal. These garments are a lot more quirky and experimental as compared to the former.”
There’s no greater purpose in blindly following fast fashion — it doesn’t do the environment any good and doesn’t set your style apart from the world. Karishma strongly believes that fashion needs to slow down and the only people who can steer that change is consumers.
She urges people to break up with fast fashion and be more conscious. “I feel that one must make an effort to care for their garments and find ways of reusing and repurposing them, whether it’s by attending workshops, organising clothing swaps or by dedicating weekends to recycling and DIY projects. It is little things like these that can spark a change in our consumption habits,” she sums up.