Meet the Maker: Soumya Annapurna Kalluri – Dwij
We catch up with Soumya Kalluri, found of Dwij, which means second life, that rescues and upcycles old jeans and gives them a second life as beautiful handbags.
““dwij“, means second life, (द्वि = Twice, ज = Born). We rescue the jeans that would otherwise end up in a landfill and give them a second life. The name symbolizes our process and vision.” – Soumya
Dwij makes upcycled jeans. Their creations are ethically-designed to address the ills of fast fashion. They make their products at their manufacturing unit in Bhandup, Mumbai. dwij comprises a team of four. Their names are Zubair, Vrushali, Sandesh, and Soumya. As part of our series on the Makers that make Engrave, we spoke to Soumya about dwij and what it has in store for us. We invite you to the conversation. Welcome.
What were you doing before you started doing this?
Prior to founding dwij, I worked at Godrej & Boyce on their upcycling project. By education, I am a Mechanical engineer from Pune University and Masters from Germany in Commercial Vehicles Technology.
Why did you choose to do what you do?
In today’s world, fast fashion is all around us. Driven by the retail boom, we tend to impulsively buy new and trendy garments, while ignoring the perils of its manufacturing process and its disposal mechanism.
Denim is one of the textile materials that use the most resources and chemical processes to produce. On account of its durability and versatility, denim has been chosen as the first material for the purpose of upcycling. We work with post-consumer jeans and post-industrial denim.
We are fascinated by names. What’s the story behind your brand name?
“dwij”, means second life, (द्वि = Twice, ज = Born). We rescue the jeans that would otherwise end up in landfill and give them a second life. The name symbolizes our process and vision.
Which are your best selling products?
One of our best-selling unisex products is Messenger bag, which is manufactured from the upper part of the jeans. This product is finding instant attraction by youth category. In addition, our upbeat bags & peppy bags are also very popular and liked by working women.
What kind of people do you create your products for?
While we focus these products for consumers who need a trendy & sustainable alternative for buying quality & durable products, we mostly have the customer base of conscious consumers who buy to reduce their dependency on virgin cotton/ synthetic/ PU/ Plastic/ Paper shopping bags.
What are the challenges you face in connection with achieving your goals?
Our foremost challenge is to manage logistics for the collection of jeans in a cost-efficient manner by setting up collection centres.
Secondly, we face challenges in the listing of all our bags on the online platform since all our bags have unique colour combinations, although we try to maintain similar shades across all our varieties.
Where do you see your brand three years from now?
We would love to be the one-stop solution for cost-effective, and long-lasting products made from post-consumer textiles.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I am always motivated to be associated with an environmental or societal cause. Had it not been dwij, I would have continued in a corporate set up in their upcycling cause.
Visit the Dwiji Shop on Engrave.