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    Every year, Puducherry-based, iconic leather brand Hidesign gives its customers the chance to create something with The Art of Reuse contest. “The idea is to create awareness about zero wastage. And the importance of making something worthwhile from excess,” shares Dipen Desai, the brand manager.

    Contestants have to buy a kit, sold at a just Rs.10 at all Hidesign outlets and Amazon.com, to participate. This contains scraps of factory excess leather, a fabric punch, five metres of waxed thread and a needle — enough to get one’s creative juices flowing. Currently in its fourth year, this time around, the theme chosen was ‘icons’.
    “We’ve never had a theme in any of the earlier editions. But we need to make changes to keep things interesting and ensure that we get a decent number of entries,” explains Desai.
    This time, participants were expected to be inspired by their icons. With close to 100 contestants so far, Desai reveals that they’ve received some interesting entries, from elaborate Coco Chanel-inspired necklaces to Pocahontas-esque wallets.
    The first move
    “When we started this initiative, people were skeptical. But for each of the four editions, we’ve received over 100 entries. What is interesting is that participants come from across professions and backgrounds; we’ve had homemakers, doctors and even atomic researchers send in their creations, apart from design students and bloggers,” he tells us.
    With results yet to be announced at the time of going to print, Desai shares that the winner will get an all expenses paid trip to their factory in Puducherry, where he / she will get to design their own handbags. The second and third prize winners will receive gift vouchers worth Rs.15,000 and Rs.10,000 respectively. Hidesign also sent out their kits to a select list of 15 bloggers and here are the top three entries.

    Himanshi Mukhija, Kintyish
    “I made a pair of statement gladiator sandals with a peacock motif. My icon was Lisa Ray and I was inspired by her free-spirited nature. The two sandals, when worn together, form a whole peacock. With something like this, you need to think of what would complement the leather well and which colours to play up,” explains Delhi’s Mukhija, an MBA student and part-time designer.Dayle Pereira, Style File
    “The fabric punch looked a little intimidating and I thought I couldn’t make anything with what was in the kit. But I managed to rustle up a really classy looking sunglass case, inspired by my love for summer. A few other things that you could try making are tiny accessories, like a coin purse, a tassel or even a belt,” shares Mumbai-based Pereira, who works as a marketing strategist.Shanaya Sardesai, Little Miss Sinner
    “As kids, DIY was something that we’d do quite often. Now due to time constraints and pure laziness, we just buy something if we need it. Hidesign is bringing back the love for DIY and that’s quite nice. I made a tassel, which seems to be quite a rage at the moment. The tassel can be attached to your bag (like I did), to a bracelet, to a belt or used as a pendant. The possibilities are endless. You can also get creative and make a pouch, a necklace or a clutch,” says Sardesai, a DJ and model from Mumbai.

    Details: hidesign.com
    —Rashmi Rajagopal

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