UpCycled City – From Dreams to Dystopia and Back! (Featuring Doodlage)


Since times immemorial, whenever society has been through its worst… We’ve seen art bring it back to life!


It’s simple, the power of imagination, colors and creativity have a way of easing pain and infusing new life into things and times that are in a state of decay…! We’ve heard about some of the most amazing music being created during wars… the best of writers and poets emerge during civil movements… & even the word ‘Renaissance’… which stands for the biggest art revolution the world has ever seen, literally means ‘Rebirth’!


In my mind, street-art is no different! We’ve seen all over the world from SoHo in New York to the current city of Detroit… Street art has the power to rebuild and resurrect downtrodden areas of a city…!


A tour guide on my last trip to New York once told me… “SoHo used to be an extremely poor, scary and criminal neighborhood at one time! But that also meant… that it was cheap! And so, artists with no money started coming and settling there! And when artists start congregating in one place, that place is fated to flourish! Because they bring with them imagination, and compassion and their art – street art which attracts tourists, photographers and the media! And once that happens, the dystopia that you may have envisioned for that place, begins to give way… and life is reborn” … We all know the fantasy land that SoHo is today with all the expensive restaurants and high-end boutiques…! And while I don’t remember his name, his words simply stuck in my mind and I’ll be thankful to him forever!


Let’s look closer to home… we’ve seen a massive street-art movement in Mumbai, in Bandra recently! And most of it, was created and commissioned in the smaller Koliwada villages and alleys of Bandra. Why? Because most of these spots had become places that no one wanted to tread into… drug peddling, crime and a general feeling of ‘let’s stay away’ lurked around! But street art turned it all around! We now have tourists flock to these villages for graffiti walks and photography! In fact, right when we went to shoot for this post on Chapel Road, there were 3 other groups of young photographers and models all shooting around the same area!


Imagine what happens to the economy of these places! When art meets forgotten streets and lost alleys, magic happens!


And the same magic happens when art meets old, waste, discarded fabrics – when Art meets Fashion!


According to me, there’s a connect between old forgotten fabrics… and the city of Mumbai!

Just like old fabrics that were once considered rich and grand, are now being labeled as ‘old fashioned’ and irrelevant… Mumbai, which was once the city of dreams… the glitz and glamour hub of India, is now taken for granted. Places that were once celebrated are no longer cared for… and the once gorgeous streets and alleys, are now rotting away in decay.


Imagination and the intent to transform something undesirable into something that’s coveted and lusted for, is what the brand Doodlage does! Which is why when I thought of doing this piece on street art… there’s no other fashion brand I could think of collaborating with, other than Doodlage!



Every outfit that I wear here, is made from discarded pieces of fabric that would otherwise have been thrown away – burnt or just left there to add to the pollution! Doodlage follows a zero-waste policy and using ‘art’ they turn these discarded shreds into highly fashionable street style apparels!


Both street art and the brand Doodlage (and other young upcycled fashion brands like them), aim to use creativity, art and doodles to bring alive and upcycle something that was once great, but has now lost relevance over time… And that, in my mind, is an amazing way to turn Dystopia, back into dreams!


Bollywood Art Project – Chapel Road, Bandra. Outfit from Doodlage



Outfit: Carpeted Mesh pants and Square printed top from Doodlage A/W 2017 collection. Place: Chapel Road, Bandra



Outfit: Carpeted mesh pants and square printed top from Doodlage. A/W 2017 collection



Outfit: Printed Relaxed Midi from Doodlage. A/W 2017 collection… with Happy Socks and heels from Charles & Keith.


Outfit: Printed Relaxed Midi from Doodlage. A/W 2017 collection.


Art has the power to resurrect from the ashes, even what’s dead and gone….

Art is the most intense form of expression that the world has ever known…

Art, is a scream of freedom… It is a ray of hope post the decay and destruction!

Art has the power to repair and rebuild…! Art lets you dream… and breathe new life into a state of dystopia…!
















Hope you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed working on this! Do leave your comments if you did.


Lots of Love



PS: All this amazing photography is by Sonalee Das.



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About Me

Sonal is a Post Graduate in Luxury Brand Management from Polimoda Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing, Florence (Italy) and has over 9 years of experience as a Brand Strategist working in the advertising industry.

She has also been a Consumer Insights Miner specializing in fashion and luxury brands.