ilẹkẹco.: Redefining the Garbage to Treasure model

A magazine ad on a flight from Atlanta to Fayetteville, NC for a paper bead bracelet caught the eye of Anthony. Thus began his journey into sustainable fashion, as he thought about his own garbage, including parking tickets, grocery receipts and random paper produce, and how he could divert it into usable material.

The result was Ileke Co, a brand that finds innovative ways to upcycle waste paper, into one of a kind handcrafted products including earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other forms of unique jewellery. Diverting paper waste from landfills and giving them a second life, defines this brand based in Lagos, Nigeria.

“Lagos state, Nigeria’s Biggest Commercial city, has a population of 20 million people and generates well over 10,000 metric tons of waste every day. Paper, of course, makes up a substantial part of it. Unfortunately, most of it gets burned, contributing to air pollution.”

Hand rolled and hand painted, Ileke Co.’s alluring jewellery aims to redefine the present, conventional notions of what jewellery should be created from, through their ingenious methods.

“I believe with more publicity, more consumers will become aware of the need to rethink about the waste been generated through fast fashion”.

Ileke Co. also hopes to, one day, create a sustainable paper yarn out of waste paper, to be in turn used to make versatile fabrics- once again creating treasure from garbage.

Author Nayanika Bharadwaj

Designer, artist, illustrator and writer passionate about sustainable design and living. Recently graduated with a degree in fashion from NIFT, Mumbai. Currently living in Chennai, India

More posts by Nayanika Bharadwaj

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