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Green 'August'
By Paromita Pain

Young Indian designer Siddhartha’s eco-friendly attire, under the label ‘August’, has earned him international recognition

He made his debut early last March at the Lakme Fashion Week. For 25-year-old Siddhartha Upadhyaya, this wasn’t just about his collection of ‘green’, eco-friendly attire under the label ‘August’, it was also a test of his creative DPOL. The already patented DPOL stands for ‘Direct Panel On Loom’, which, in the days to come, could change the way the fashion industry works the world over.

“Simply put, it is a computer attached to a loom. It’s a combination of hardware and software: an integration of process and machine,” says the young designer.

Designed to support sustainability, the process enables the production of ready-to-stitch, shaped, woven garment components that are already finished at the edges. Since it basically involves saving the design on the computer, which then prints it out on panels of cloth instead of paper, it cuts fabric loss, besides reducing chemical and water waste. Of course, his label ‘August’ works only on this technology.

Environmentally friendly

Explaining its benefits, Siddhartha says: “Design is imparted to the garment at the time of its weaving, thus reducing the cost, time and energy for embroidery or printing. The design lies embedded in the garments, thereby adding a new dimension to designing.”

DPOL ensures a continuity of design and motifs. Garments of multiple colours, textures and weaves can be produced using a single lot of yarn on the machine.

Art always interested Siddhartha, so applications to the IITs also saw him taking a chance at NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology). NIFT came through and he studied to become a fashion technologist.

“I came out with an initial DPOL process during college, and took a cost benefit analysis as one of my projects. Now, DPOL is far more advanced,” he says. 

It would be the easiest thing to look at the technical benefits of Siddhartha’s inventions, and laud him only for them. This isn’t just another story of someone making it big in the arena of eco fashion, but also one that shows it pays to have faith even when avenues of encouragement are few.

“Experts in the textile and fashion industry said the process wouldn’t work. We wasted a lot of time convincing people that it could be done. I tried convincing people and wanted their support. Later, it was only my parents and sister who pushed me to take a chance. I kept myself aloof for months after college working on it individually, and the results today are impressive,” he says.

The London Museum of Arts certainly thinks so; DOPL has earned itself a place there. Siddhartha also has plans to market it. “Initially I would like to sell the products made through this process directly under my label, and later co-brand it with a licence, as Dupont does with LYCRA,” he asserts.

His team consists of his father, a tech professor at IIT Roorkee, his mother from whom he inherited his love of designing and the arts, his sister, an MBA graduate, who manages all his affairs. “And me -- a dark horse who was given a chance by my parents to go ahead and design my dreams,” he grins.

Siddhartha doesn’t fear competition. He says: “Our product provides unique garments, but the fashion industry itself is very competitive so every second designer is our competitor.”

Lakme Fashion Week also saw him present ensembles that can be worn in two different ways. “These clothes can be worn the regular way or upside down, creating altogether two different looks of the same ensemble, for two different occasions. They are not just reversible, they can be worn upside down as well,” he says.

He wants to set up fashion studios around the world where people can walk out with their own unique design. The studio will lock the design only for that particular customer, taking customising to a new level. He hopes to work closely with NGOs sourcing designs from the differently-abled.

Siddhartha’s proudest moment? Ask him and he breaks into a Whitney Houston number: ‘Give me one moment of time when I’m more then I thought I could be, when all of my dreams are a heartbeat away and answers all up to me…’

Visit http://august.synthasite.com/ for more.

(Paromita Pain is a senior reporter and sub-editor with The Hindu and its feature supplements Young World and NXg

Infochange News & Features, January 2011

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