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JOD-Threading Circularity in Heirloom for Sustainable Fashion

The issue of upcycling and recycling textiles to reduce the amount of waste in landfills has been widely discussed. However, the implementation of circular economy concepts in our daily lives requires significant innovation and creativity, which is still in its incipient stages.

Priyanka Raajiv's 'JOD' is a pioneering fashion initiative that combines fashion, elegance, and social responsibility in its designs. This narrative provides a glimpse into the colorful and stylish concept that is leading the charge sustainably.  Priyanka Raajiv, the visionary behind 'JOD', shares her insights and experiences in creating fashion that is both chic and sustainable.

For those who hold the belief that fashion is inherently wasteful and that sustainability necessitates compromise, a thorough reading of this narrative may alter these views. Therefore, it is recommended that the narrative be read in its entirety.

Jod by Priyanka Raajiv @ omemy

The Art Of Jod 

What is Jod Technique?

Jod in Hindi means to Join. To us Jod means coming together of Intuition, skilled wisdom, and the artisanal hands to become One Garment and One with God.

The technique is essentially a zero-waste, circular design process where heritage, heirloom, and vintage fabrics form the basis of our garments with the incorporation of elaborate surface design applications. The surface design work adopts studio textile remnants, joining them together through embroidery, patchwork, appliqueing, and other techniques all rooted in Indian Craftsmanship.

We collaborate intelligent and intuitive design to our inventory of textile scraps and surplus as the first step. The design framework plays with the patterning, innovative color palettes, unique texturing, and construction. And, finally, the craftspeople and artisanal embroiderers bring the design to life.

Our collaborative processes are our way to bring beauty to life that is universal, individual, and mystical.

Is Jod a traditional Craft?

What is the history of Jod Craft ?

​Kantha and Godri concepts are century old tradition of stitching patchwork and layered clothing from old used clothes and discarded sarees which evolved from the thrift of rural women in the West Bengal, Orissa, Bangladesh and Kutch Regions of Indian subcontinent. They are the  oldest forms of embroidery originating from India, its origins can be traced back to the pre Vedic age, prior to 1500 BCE. The layered old textiles were worked upon with a kind of running stitches leading to women’s artistic expressions and be passed down to generations.

 The Art of Jod is loosely inspired from above and has been adapted to suit the sensitbilites of the modern world.We have been practising this zero waste philosophy since the inception of the studio and we can proudly say that we have preserved the surplus fabrics,wrong cuttings, side cutting and pre production waste in the studio and never discarded.

One can say that it is an ancient art form however contemporised..


Can I get my heritage textiles upcycled into a Jod product/ apparel?

Yes please, we undertake customized upcycling projects where we can upcycle your heritage textiles into a Jod apparel!. 

Our Restoration Project called Roop has been especially designed for people who wish to retain their heritage textiles for emotional and cultural purposes. 

Project Roop has the powerful ability to restore, balance and heal.This is a garment memory project where clients’ garments of sentimental value such as heirloom sarees and dupattas find a spot in the limelight. The rehabilitation/upcycling process focuses on touching up old embroidery work, stitches, restoring each one's wearability and resilience and uplifting pieces with new embroidery wherever required. This also involves repurposing vintage garments into new wearable pieces transforming them into new sarees, jackets, lehengas, gowns and more.

We have restored some 300 pieces of emotional and heirloom value so far. Over 300 kg of textile remnants have been upcycled through this endeavor.

How long does it take to get a “Jod Craft" product customized?

Usually 3 weeks - 9 weeks, however, the exact timeline depends on the complexity of the heritage to be upcycled and the final envisioned project.

JOD Production Process
JOD Production Process

Is the Jod technique suitable only for apparel products? 

We have done some memorable “Jod” projects for apparel end-products.

JOD Cushion Cover
JOD Cushion Cover

However, in my personal life, I have been applying these techniques to Jewelry, Decorations, and Furniture for Spaces So, I guess there are infinite possibilities.

What is the relevance of the “Jod technique" in terms of sustainable living and circular fashion?

The fashion industry is a significant contributor to environmental degradation, with concerns focusing primarily on energy consumption, pollution, and waste. This seeks to analyze key metrics about the environmental impact of the apparel industry and to highlight how Priyanka Raajiv is actively working towards sustainability through its practices. The dyeing and finishing processes employed by the clothing industry are energy-intensive and contribute substantially to water pollution. These processes contain toxic elements such as heavy metals and carcinogenic substances. However, Priyanka Raajiv has adopted a unique approach, utilizing pre-dyed fabrics for patchwork designs. This strategy eliminates the need for dyeing while ensuring a diverse color palette without compromising on design flexibility. As a result, the brand significantly reduces energy consumption, water usage, and the release of pollutants associated with traditional dyeing processes. The impact of synthetic fibers, predominantly derived from fossil fuels, on the climate is substantial. Chemical treatments during fiber production and finishing stages pose environmental risks. Priyanka Raajiv, however, prioritizes the use of natural and sustainable fibers like organic cotton and pure silk. The brand employs traditional, artisanal methods of production, avoiding industrial-scale processes and chemical treatments. By doing so, Priyanka Raajiv minimizes its carbon footprint, promotes renewable resources, and mitigates the release of harmful chemicals into the environment. The disposal of textile waste and landfilling pose significant environmental challenges. Priyanka Raajiv actively participates in recycling initiatives by repurposing textile remnants into value-added garments. The brand uses patchwork techniques and creative design approaches to create unique and sustainable clothing items. By doing so, Priyanka Raajiv contributes to recycling and waste reduction efforts and promotes sustainable practices in the fashion industry.

Scrap fabric used for making JOD
Scrap fabric used for making JOD

Jod is highly dedicated to sustainability and circular economy. Our approach involves adding value to the materials we use so that the final product is considered a valuable heirloom, which is the highest level of value and never returns to the material economy. This helps us ensure that our products are not perceived as ordinary or average. Furthermore, we are committed to creating job opportunities as we strive to accomplish our mission and vision.

Over years, almost 6000 kg of scrap textile has been upcycled, 3000 kg of  embroidered and heirloom fabrics have been preserved, 900 sarees and garment have been transformed and 300 families have been supported in the journey of Priyanka Raajiv 

Can Jod patches be customized into different widths and geometric arrangements in a fabric?

It can be done though we don't prefer that as then some pieces would be still left or we would have to use them in other pieces. We prefer zero-waste processes for the above reasons.

Since, the Jod technique combines different types of fabrics, what are the implications on aftercare like washing, finishing and storage? 

At PR studio, we make a special effort to sort and grade the fabrics likewise before creating an inventory of textile and embroidery scraps. The tailoring process is done intensively and we stay committed to promote sustainable practices. Usually,the products can be hand washed separately or dry cleaned. Storage is easy, comfortable and clean.

Are JOD products made out of 100% used fabrics and is the fabric ready-made?

Jod pieces are made out of 100% pre-consumer cutting room scraps, design room waste, and leftover materials. This is the material that is usually sent to landfill by the clothing manufacturers. It may be the excess embroideries, something that was dyed the wrong color, or just a discard after design changes or a wrong cutting. In our efforts to promote a circular economy, we always reuse fabrics and embroideries that have never been previously used or worn. So the fabric has not been worn or used before.

What is the price range of Jod fabrics ?

The range usually starts from 6000 onwards

Why are they so expensive?

They are so expensive because the whole process is extremely labor and time-intensive.

We also support fair labor practices.

JOD pattern setting
JOD pattern setting

We wish our customers to experience pure joy and appreciate our masterpieces. Usually, a JOD lehanga requires a minimum of 300 hours from start to finish

What is the difference between upcycled clothing and recycled?

Recycling takes old and unusable materials and breaks them down into new materials and processes them into other materials usable for other forms and products. Upcycling takes the materials and transforms them into something new and better than what they were before.Both recycling and upcycling are important parts of going green and reducing the carbon footprint.

Jod and Roop are essentially upcycling and conservation projects.

What is the Scope of 'Jod' in Western Fashion?

As I mentioned earlier, Jod offers limitless possibilities, which perfectly aligns with our philosophy of Intuitive, Intelligent, and Indian Design. Currently, our store has Jackets and Stoles with Western Designs that can be worn in various ways. We are also planning to expand our product categories to include Pants, Overcoats, Skirts, and Shirts.

JOD Jacket
JOD Jacket

With this story we present to you a real life example of  how innovative designs can act as a bridge between fashion and environmental responsibility by promoting mindfulness. 'Jod' as a craft is not restricted to merely mending discarded fabrics. Rather, it amalgamates the ideas of heirloom, sustainable living, responsible designing, and aesthetics, intertwined with emotions and craftsmanship. Although the technique is rooted in traditional crafts, the designs produced are inspirational, which enables the 'Jod' creations to stand out in the fashion landscape marked by wastage and excesses.

We invite you to provide your feedback in the comment section below on how this story has influenced your perception of the potential union between fashion and sustainability.

About the Author

Priyanka Raajiv is the founder of an eponymous design label and the driving force behind the studio's vision. She has a passion for working with Indian textiles and handicrafts, and her commitment to circular design, zero-waste philosophy, and sustainable fashion embodies introspective beauty, compassion, and sustainability. 

Priyanka Raajiv

Priyanka's designs have been worn by influential women like Angelina Jolie and Femina Miss India. She has also showcased her work at the New York Fashion Week, supporting education for young girls across India.

Priyanka is an alumnus of Lady Irwin College and was recognized for her contributions to the industry by Pune’s Most Powerful (2016-17). Proceeds from the label’s work support sustainability initiatives in India, including Maher, a non-governmental organiszation supporting destitute women and children. Her brand label also proudly associates with Ellen McArthur Foundation.

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Apr 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Hence proved, fashion can be responsible as well as sustainable.

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