Upscale and upcycle

Amal S Pillai’s venture is unique. The young entrepreneur is driven by just one ideal — reducing the waste we generate

author_img Aathira Haridas Published :  23rd November 2021 02:14 PM   |   Published :   |  23rd November 2021 02:14 PM


KOCHI: Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. The law of conservation of matter sees its application on a large scale at Amal S Pillai’s venture. He gives a breath of new life to old articles. From discarded and broken terracotta pieces to old clothes, everything goes through a makeover in his hands.  “Every material, every piece of fabric has a story to tell. But this is forgotten once they become ‘discarded’. But really, nothing is useless. You can always find new uses for articles and ensure their longevity by upcycling them,” says Amal, a native of Kollam who works at a solar energy firm in Chennai.  
His brand, ‘Amsham Handmade’, takes upcycling to a whole new level. While T-shirt yarn gets refurbished into dolls or dreamcatchers, terracotta pieces and coconut shells become jewellery pieces and cloth yarns into bags, rugs, and tapestry. The list is endless. It all started when Amal went to Bengaluru for an internship. He was 19 then and his room needed a floormat. Amal made one using waste fabric. That was just the start. Seeing his work, his friends gifted him a tailoring machine and there was no looking back.

 “I ensure that I don’t buy anything. When you can upcycle, why buy something new? We have to ensure better product utilisation and reduce waste if we need to make the world a better place. It is all about conserving energy and reducing waste. I want to stop more waste from ending up in landfills,” he says. According to him, it is about embracing a sustainable way of living and doing one’s bit to preserve the planet.

A lot of people send discarded materials to Amal. “I make something out of it and I always give them something in return for bringing me that piece,” he says. He has created over 200 concepts from waste products and made more than 1,000 articles. He sells every piece for less than Rs 500, making upcycling affordable.

The upcycled jewellery pieces also flaunt exclusive designer looks. “I ensure that every piece is unique. You wouldn’t get it outside in the stores. There are, however, certain imperfections that make them more unique. Like, if there is a bend due to a crack, I retain its shape,” he says. 

But sustainability also has a few roadblocks, he says. “When a man gets crafting or making dresses, the society has a problem with it. People ridicule, but nothing affects me. For me, the important thing is to do what I am passionate about. If I can reduce the waste we make, I believe I have fulfilled my purpose,” he says.

His dream is to start a boutique with sustainable items. “It will be a place where people can make something out of a pre-owned item. You walk in with something old and get it remodelled into something amazing,” says Amal.