S06 Episode 271 | Anuj Sharma on button masala and questioning cut & sew as the primary way to join garments together

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In episode 271, Kestrel welcomes Anuj Sharma, an innovative designer, to the show. Anuj developed a unique method to make clothing called Button Masala, which does not require any cutting or sewing to construct a garment. “So, how come such a beautiful material like fabric has only one joining system? I realized that it’s so visual-based. So, I decided to teach — largely because I thought it was important to have everybody knowing the idea of what is design and what it can do to you and what you should be asking for and why you should be asking for it.” -Anuj

When we talk about shaking up fashion or reimagining new systems, why don’t we ever question cutting and sewing? Aren’t there other ways to bind fabric together?

The short answer is – yes.

Historically, many garments were draped, especially in warmer climates, to ensure air flow. As this week’s guest points out — in India, where he is from, fashion designers didn’t even exist until the 1980s. Before then, there was only a need for textile designers, because stitching was never needed.

But with the globalization of quote unquote fashion, cut and sew has become king.

If fashion wants to claim to be an innovative industry, shouldn’t we also welcome alternative ways of connecting fabric – beyond the cutting and sewing system?

This week’s guest, Anuj, thinks so. He has created one alternative way to bind fabric together, called Button Masala, and for him, it’s all about sharing this technique with anyone and everyone so they can utilize it for themselves.

Quotes & links from the conversation:

  • “I said, oh it looks like a mistake if you do that. But what if there are many buttons and many button holes. If there’s one man making noises and shouting in a building, then it’s his fault and you can take him to jail. But if the whole building is shouting, then it’s not a problem — it becomes a festival. If one button is wrong, it’s a mistake, but if many buttons are wrong, then it’s alright — it’ll become a pattern. So that’s how I decided to put many buttons on a fabric in a day.” (11:55) -Anuj

  • “In a way, I created LEGO of garment making.” (12:57) -Anuj

  • “The whole idea of consumerism is so beautifully brought into peoples’ life, that people feel unfulfilled if they don’t buy something for a few days. This whole idea of beauty — that every time you wear a new garment, it makes you look better. And I keep constantly telling my students and I keep trying to break the myth of what is beauty. Because it’s all connected to the myth of beauty. Because what we need, we already have.” (19:25) -Anuj

  • Follow Button Masala on Instagram >

This week's episode is brought to you by Organic Basics is a carbon-neutral, Copenhagen-based brand creating underwear, activewear and everyday essentials. If you’re interested in checking them out, you can use code CONSCIOUS10 to get 10% off. FYI – I don't receive any commissions.

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