zy-lk (@zylkline), a born sustainable brand, paves way to a new world of organic, conscious and ethical clothing. Offering sustainable fashion online, the métier of zy-lk is upcycled silk.
Incubated in 2015, zy-lk has invested nearly 5 years into in-depth R&D, with special emphasis on the silk upcycling process. zy-lk offers a wholesome experience rather than just an outfit to ethically minded, environmentally conscious and fashion forward customers.
Core of zy-lk: Upcycled Silk
The dearth of industrial recycling of silk results in accumulation of silk garments in landfills; for which millions of silkworms were previously reared and killed. zy-lk intends to give silkworms life beyond their second death by extending the life of silk.
Silkworms are reared in high numbers and boiled alive for their cocoons right before they can enter metamorphosis into the next phase of life. The silvery silky thread removed from the cocoons then passes through so many skilled hands to be dyed and woven into glorious yards and yards of fabrics. No silk piece produced has ever lived its life without sparking awe by the viewer and the wearer alike. To much remorse, all this effort and all the lives of silkworms killed, boils down to nothing when the garment is discarded after one tear or a simple stain. To ensure that it isn’t all for nothing, zy-lk aspires on working diligently towards this textile revival. Featured in The Vedas from the first century, sarees are of great cultural importance and one of the most commonly used silk garments in India. The silk sarees are very generously embellished with borders made from real silver threads and sometimes even gold threads. Despite being an heirloom piece, millions of sarees are discarded every year. The metal threads are cut away and melted into solid forms and the silk is thrown away, considered trash.
At zy-lk, landfill-bound pure silk is recycled through tedious and intimate handwork.
“zy-lk extracts silk by hand,
thread by thread, strand by strand”
These extracted silk threads are then reeled onto discarded plumbing PVC pipes, numbered by colour and stored to be later used as embroidery on all garments or braided for constructing one of the masterpieces. Our first step with this textile revival is careful categorising and sorting of every saree brought in, they are rated depending on their use and deconstructed accordingly. The sturdier and newer of the silk is directly upcycled, instead of extracted, by fusing it with a stronger fabric to be reborn as belts, belt bags or corsets.
Areas Of Eco Impact
It is impossible for a brand to be 100% sustainable yet zy-lk adopts an encompassed approach to sustainable fashion. Striving with a holistic view on sustainability and betterment of the planet, whilst every small detail is also thought over. The founding principles of zy-lk are as follows:
- Recycle: Always prioritises recycled materials over virgin materials
- Organic: Opts for organic materials where recycled options are unavailable
- Slow Fashion: Adopts made-to-order business model allowing manufacturing only against order placed. Therefore, eliminating the accumulation of deadstock
- Fair Trade: Ensures favourable working conditions for the workforce
Besides recycling landfill-bound silk, zy-lk prioritises the use of recycled raw materials and trims over virgin materials at every stage of the manufacturing process until the delivery.
- Base Fabrics:
- Woven Recycled Cotton used in clothes are locally sourced as undyed fabric from a GRS 4.0 (No. ONE-2164-180705-T-GRS) certified supplier.
- Knitted Recycled Cotton (70% Pre-Consumer Recycled Cotton:30% Organic Cotton) was locally sourced as yarn with GRS certification (No. 1011200/00149048), then knitted and pre-stitched into unfinished t-shirts as zy-lk’s atelier is not equipped to stitch knitted cloth against orders.
- GRS certified Recycled Polyester threads are used in stitching all white coloured garments and garments that use white threads. Currently, recycled polyester threads are one the most sustainable thread options.
- Recycled Fabric Buttons are made in-house with small bits of base fabric stuffed with silk waste generated in the silk upcycling process.
- Recycled Tin Buttons are made in-house from recycled soda cans tucked in the base fabric of choice to make more polished looking cloth buttons.
- Some name labels for accessories are made from waste leather bits hand-picked from a landfill (12.9688497, 80.1334559).
- Corrugated cardboard boxes made with recycled paper are used for packaging.
- Invoices and letters are printed on undyed, recycled paper.
“zy-lk utilises biodegradable,
recycled and natural fabrics only”
zy-lk believes that the major problems of landfills are to be addressed without further delays, hence prioritising recycled raw materials.
zy-lk wants its pieces to forever last in your wardrobe passing through generations, never ending up as toxic waste. Therefore, it is made sure that the biggest portion of every item is biodegradable with the least environmental impact not only during production but even after it is relieved of its buyers’ ownership. Keeping this in mind, in the absence of recycled materials, organic materials that have natural sources are preferred.
- Base Fabrics:
- The garments are made from undyed natural fabrics locally sourced from suppliers having Ecological Plant Fiber Certification (No. 475943-488322). Natural fabrics opted by zy-lk are made from lotus stem, orange fibre, banana fibre, hemp, corn fibre or bamboo fibre.
- Natural Dyes:
- zy-lk hand-dyes fabrics in-house with dyes made of madder roots, marigold petals, areca nuts, annatto seeds, turmeric and indigo leaves. Some of these dyes are GOTS 5.0 certified (No. GOTS-ONECERT-06-1909) and locally sourced. The water waste post in-house natural dye process is poured into backyard soil after cooling.
- Labels are locally made with organic cotton from a trusted manufacturer.
- Coconut shell buttons are locally sourced from small scale manufacturers.
- Mother of Pearl buttons in natural shades are chosen in small quantities.
- Tags are made from recycled paper embedded with plant-able seeds.
- Cords for suspending tags are made with hemp or jute.
- Biodegradable plastic covers for overseas packages.
“zy-lk hand-dyes fabric with
roots, seeds, flowers and leaves”
zy-lk revives century-old techniques of natural dyeing to combat the increase in water pollution caused by the dyeing industry and to reduce the impact of harmful chemicals against skin. Colours that cannot be achieved using natural dyes are occasionally hand dyed using eco-dyes that are least harmful to the environment.
Fast fashion makes it more difficult to keep up to sustainability due to the need for mass production. zy-lk is a slow fashion brand that individually handcrafts each of their garments against online orders. All embroidery is done by hand and not by machine to increase its value in addition to its beauty. Due to this, there is an individuality and uniqueness in each piece of garment manufactured, almost no two pieces are the same.
“All garments from zy-lk
zy-lk adopts the fair trade policy where transparency and mutual respect is ensured for international trade. A great deal of empowerment is provided to maintain the rights of the stakeholders and to establish a decent livelihood. As per zy-lk’s basic principles, the brand is against child labour and ensures that the children of the entire workforce are being schooled and not forced into labour elsewhere. Primarily, special care is given to protect and empower women who are prone to get affected by the garment industry standards set in India. In the hiring process, first preference is always given to hearing and speech-impaired women who usually find it difficult to obtain jobs in a safe and ethical working environment. The core team is well trained in the local sign language for ease in communication.
“zy-lk employs hearing and
To know about the hands behind zy-lk, do visit the #WhoMadeMyClothes section.