The Jaipur Upcycling Project

Jaipur sarees

Can Upcycled fashion be luxury? 

On a recent trip to jaipur we explored hidden lanes of the old city to find vendors who collect old saris, some even from the 60s or before. Traditionally these vendors are kabaddi wallahs, ‘ waste collectors’ who collect items from households as per kilograms and sell them in street markets. But who knew one could find ways to add value to these old pieces of textiles and make high fashion that is sustainable. 

What is it that has lead to the movement of Upcycled fashion? 

People want to buy from independent brands than bigger brands and chains as there is a demand from uniqueness. Stylish women who travel the world and Instagram millennial seek inspiration from around the world and there are global trends rather than fashion restricted to a country. Also, there is a shift in attitude and ‘Less is more’ philosophy can be seen as people are investing in quality products over quantity that can be bought on the high street. Price of Fashion is high and there are more social obligations in this day and age, hence a need for a wardrobe to fit all these occasions is needed. Another factor could be that Women dress for other women, so women want variety and for that Co branding is nice as brands create limited edition collections and it provokes women to buy quickly. It’s special too as one feels they have access to something that only a few have. For smalls indie brands it is only possible to produce in small quantity and hence maintain the uniqueness in design as it is not trend driven but the kind of sourcing of fabrics that one makes on buying trips.

Guylaine says her ideal client is a Boho- Chic confident woman who is experimental and someone sensitive about the idea of this product that has a story and can understand the thought behind an up-cycled product. Guylaine hopes her brand would be more know for its values in the coming years.


To explore Luxury Upcycled fashion, we chatted with Guylaine Tilleau-Joncour of Hand.So.On France, who makes womenswear collections that are sourced In Jaipur( and other asian cities) , made in Morocco, marketed in Paris, worn in New York and around the world.

Guylaine founded her boutique indie label only 2 years ago when she visited a Vintage Market in Paris and came across a woman who sold old fabrics and bought some out of love for the lovely prints and her interests in cultural arts. Serendipity played a role and soon she found herself making dresses and kimonos of these collected fabrics with a tailor she knew in Morocco.

Guylaine says that she tried to work around the patterns and wanted to keep the spirit of these saris hence chose silhouettes that did not require too much cutting. Her kimonos were sealed with hand stitching and carefully needled closures. She was happy to have retained the patterns and yet create fashion that she later sold at a private sale and then a pop up store. 

She recalls there was no looking back since and she started to source more authentic patterns for cities in Asia and visited suppliers across Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia and even from Africa. 

Guylaine who has worked as a fashion editor with at Marie Claire Paris, L’officiel, Singapore Elle and edited advertising ad campaigns for brands says her inspiration lies in street style in Paris. She is now selling her collections at Barneys and boutiques like By Marie in Paris and Avant garde’ Geneva. Some of the upcoming collaborations will be a limited edition collection with Zadig and Voltaire.

editsayali goyal