Born into an entrepreneurial family, it was only a matter of time before Mallika Reddy, who started working with Dr Reddy’s Labs (DRL), was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug herself. Taking a closer look at how products are generated, collecting samples from their ‘waste’ and experimenting with them eventually led to the birth of Cancelled Plans, which aims to creatively use materials that are rejected, considered as waste and usually end up in landfill or oceans without even serving their purpose.
“We work with local factories to collect non-hazardous waste — that is often of high grade and unused due to the nature of industrial processes. We then convert these materials into design elements, and combine them with conventional materials to create useful and durable everyday products,” says the 27-year-old, who studied architecture from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles before coming back to India.
After spending three years in branding in Dubai and London, Mallika decided to move back to India to pursue a career in healthcare innovation based on design thinking at Studio 5B in Mumbai, before starting her own brand in Hyderabad. “Design is a truly powerful medium to create impact in the world. I have always been interested in sustainability and pursued an education in architecture with a focus on sustainability and must be addressed in any industry today to be relevant. There is vast opportunity and profitability in creative solutions for a world that's depleting its natural resources,” says Mallika, who started her brand last November and spent around six months playing around with waste materials and experimenting with designs.
Given that fashion is one of the most polluting industries, there is strong reason to examine the way things are done and bring about meaningful change. “Fashion is more than what we wear — it’s a testament to our culture and the times we live in, this fascinates me. When future generations look back at history, the rise of sustainable fashion will be reflective of the environmental crisis we are currently living in,” predicts Mallika, daughter of DRL’s CEO G. V. Prasad and Anuradha Reddy.
Sustainable fashion is all about responsible choices, and all strategies promoting environmentally, socially and ethically conscious production and consumption are important steps towards a more sustainable industry. “We use very low-tech techniques that are not a huge burden on resources such as water and electricity. We have a small studio set up with limited and small batch production done by local craftsmen. We work with the government to help develop our weaves, which then get produced by handloom weavers in weavers’ villages in the vicinity of Hyderabad. We are a lean team, who partner with a number of artisans across the country to handcraft our products for us, thus reviving traditional crafts and providing employment while still evolving with the times and adopting a contemporary design aesthetic,” explains Mallika.
Positioned as a premium brand — Cancelled Plans — is trying to create a little something for everyone. “We have a wide price range and different collections that suit different buying patterns. We did a soft launch at the London Design Festival to which we had an incredible response. We were also part of the Hyderabad Design Week where we generated a lot of curiosity and got positive reinforcement that we are on the right track,” shares Mallika, adding, “Our first collaboration is with Jayanti Reddy, a celebrated designer from our city.”...