Yesterday, Scroll.in released an article that highlighted the work of a 32-year-old designer and artist named Sudheer Rajbhar, who started his own sustainable label called Chamar Studio, which makes eco-friendly bags, belts, and wallets. Rajbhar sits in a crowded slum located in Santacruz and has another workshop at Dharavi, and has empowered the men of his community, who are categorized by the government as the “Other Backward Class”. Rajbhar saw as an opportunity to change the perception of his “chamar” community, who were known to be simple leather craftsmen, to something that is meaningful and gives them recognition as true artists. Today, Rajbhar’s bags sell at trendy shops and boutiques across India and one retail outlet in Frankfurt, Germany. Initially, Rajbhar created these bags out of cow napps leather, but needed another solution once the ban on the slaughter of bulls was mandated. After this, Rajbhar decided to do some digging and discovered the durability and versatility of rubber tyres. These recycled tyres “are natural rubber and don’t lose their original components even after being recycled,” says Rajbhar.
Though rubber tyres are a quite heavy material to be working with, Rajbhar is working with designers to help him perfect his design. That’s the beauty of a sustainable collection, there is always space to improve the materials designers have to work with. For the current collection, Rajbhar got together with the cobblers and shoe shiners that sit at the busy train stations of Mumbai. While Rajbhar is only making bags and belts, he does hope to expand into other accessories and shoes and has a goal to have a team of 500-700 artisans who will all get to put their emblem on the final product.
It’s stories like this that make us smile at the Seams For Dreams headquarters. Rajbhar’s journey is truly inspiring and we hope to hear about more individuals who are making a big difference in our planet and the lives of others!
Keep giving in style!