Sustainability through the generations

Every shirt has a story. 

Every textile has a story, what the story is, is questionable...

The Archway Shirt is one of our staple silhouettes. The shirt is based on a dressmaking pattern that my Mother used in school when she first arrived here in the UK 1976, from Kisumu Kenya. 

McCalls dressmaking pattern vintage 1970s

 

When her family immigrated to the UK, they moved into a road in Archway, and recently I had the opportunity to create a ‘Styled Heritage’ shoot for a feature in Here’s Magazine

For the shoot I made a variation of the Archway shirt from a saree that my Baa (maternal grandmother) gave me. The shirt was made from the inner end of the saree so that I could keep the Pallu (more ornate shoulder end of the saree) to wear as a half saree. 

Archway photoshoot Heres Mag
Photocredit Pratibha Gurung Here's Mag

My Baa kept her sarees and clothes in pristine condition, with my Bapuji, her husband being the one that would always make her blouses. I remember him pressing her most precious silk sarees ready to wear with his dab tailor hands. 

She wore them plenty of times, and the stigma attached to rewearing things at events, weddings wasn’t something that she bought into at all. 

This idea of sustainability around preserving and valuing their clothing is inherently connected to many of our elder ancestors. The ‘I can’t be seen in something twice’ is a trend that I see as coming into play during the baby boomer generation. 

The Archway Shirt in Bottle Green

I would propose that this new trend revolves around the energy of the trauma that these baby boomers parents and the generations before them had gone through. Filtering through in the baby boomers new found ways of life, and a lot of the time this was embedded with immigration.

The byproduct that follows this was assimilation and displacement. Which brings me to the formula for the unconsciousness in this generation around where the textiles and clothing actually comes from and who it’s made by. 

Walking through London Archway Immigrant Story

 

Photocredit Pratibha Gurung Here's Mag

Walking through the street in Archway where my Baa would have taken the brand new footsteps with her children brought a full appreciation of what the level of change and challenge there would have been to create a new life in the UK would have been. My daughter was also with me, wearing a Mini Bili luxcycle shirt and trousers. Hers from luxury upcycled saree and dupatta.

Here at House of Bilimoria we aim to take on responsibility for the lifespan and cycle of our products. Items being made from vintage, second hand and heirloom, or end-of-line textiles that are sat around that would also eventually hit landfill. 

Our circular design policies are ones that are inspired by the ideas that are presented here, not only looking at the planet which is of utmost importance, but also the people and our heritages and stories that are slowly getting left behind.

The Archway Shirt in Bottle Green

With COP26 ahead of us, and the common goals we are working towards, we are truly committed to the fight against fast fashion. Not only seeing this as a problem but an opportunity to have people become more connected to themselves, the planet and humanity. 

So what questions are you asking your clothes?

Join in our conversation over social media, via instagram, facebook and twitter

Stay tuned for the unveiling of LANDED, the story, on the 21.09.21

 

Colour.Love.Light

Shilpa Bilimoria Founder and Creative Director Sustainability Advocate

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