The winner SUSMITH CHEMPODIL AND ZUZANA GOMBOSOVA – CO FOUNDERS MALAI BIOMATERIALS DESIGN were felicitated with a 20 lakh cash prize presented by R|Elan™ to build their sustainable fashion brand, and will also get an exclusive opportunity to showcase at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2020. The pair was inspired by the beauty and purity of natural material and by the life cycle and ecology of the coconut palm. They worked with local coconut farmers and processing units in South India to get their waste coconut water that was the primary resource for the growth of their bacterial cellulose, which was transformed into Malai, a vegan alternative leather. The duo also worked with local communities of suppliers whose ethical approach is transparent and verified. The brand used waste coconut water and banana fibre, so that the products were easy to recycle, to compost and improve livelihoods of farmers and communities.
Zuzana Gombosova, a material researcher and designer from Slovakia. She is a graduate from MA Material Futures at Central Saint Martin’s College of Arts and Design.
Susmith C S,a product designer and maker from Kerala. He is a graduate of MDes Product design & Manufacturing at IISc Bangalore and has a background in mechanical engineering.