Storytellers of a new generation
The Sentimental Value Of 'Old'

Five Style Icons Take The Oldest Item In Their Closet, And Style It In A New Way

The sentimental value of 'old'.

Every so often I come across an article by a media expert or regular citizen talking about environmental issues, specifically sustainability. I remember the concept of sustainability in fashion coming to light in a big way during my sophomore year of college. This was when the wave of high street fashion was at its peak, and fast fashion was the only speed at which anyone could think. Having couture looks for one tenth of the price, right off the runway? It was too good to be true. Watching the girls, I couldn’t tell if their outfits cost 300 or 3000 or 30000. 

With all this consumption of apparel, the issue of environment was bound to come up. Being prey to this myself, I accept that the psychological satisfaction (and serotonin rush) that we get from buying new items is powerful.

Charity and change begin at home. So I asked 5 style icons to present the oldest item in their closet, and style it in a new way. Recycle, reuse and reduce. They speak to me about their thoughts on sustainability, irreplaceability and how their item represents this idea.


Karishma Jhalani

Karishma Jhalani, Filmmaker 

Tell me about an item in your wardrobe that represents `old is gold’.
It’s a jacket that was designed for my mother when she was 22 years old by a dear friend and wonderful artist, Baba Anand. It is on a delicate green chiffon with hand beaded white bursts that reflect the disco culture my mother boogied her way through. 

Why is it irreplaceable to you?
It’s representative of what she cherished, and by default I have come to treasure - clothing that represents a facet of the personality not only of the wearer, but preserves a little private moment between creator and user. Baba had a small atelier of karigars who created one-off pieces designed by Baba with a specific end-user in mind. My mother chose to spruce up a sari/blouse look with this jacket, and in some ways I think I'm keeping it more classic by wearing it with high waisted white trousers. Clothes, ideas, trinkets - they all become irreplaceable once you attach a story to them.

What are your personal views on sustainability and over consumption today?
The amount of waste we produce - be it plastic, paper, water or clothing, at first angered me but now it just saddens me. We don't attach stories and emotions to consumables which is why they bear no value. I am truly the worst shopper and consciously have never been driven by trends - so I have clothing that has been in my closet for years, passed down, or designed at my mother’s factory. But it wasn't until recently that I stopped buying from fast-fashion retailers. I see the effects of our choices and am choosing to make a slight difference wherever possible. If you have the time, it’s easy to take older pieces and make something new out of them. If you understand your personal sense of style then one piece of clothing can be worn in multiple, creative ways. And the effects of that process creates your personal story.

Related: Six Makeup Artists Show Me The Most Prized Item In Their Wardrobe

Vinayak Dalmia

Vinayak Dalmia, Entrepreneur and Social Worker

Is there any item in your closet you consider timeless?
My whole ensemble - its timeless for me. These items have stood the test of time, quite literally. I have had them since college!

Why is it irreplaceable to you? 
They represent many things. First, they represent comfort. Second, they represent our culture and heritage which I am extremely proud of. Third, they represent old school values in a new age world. 

Any thoughts on sustainability and over consumption today?
Keep it simple. Have value for money. And be aware of the environmental impact of your consumption. And please don’t throw away clothes you have hardly used, give it to the many charities that exist.


Britney Uppal

Brittany Gillespie Uppal, Animal Rights Enthusiast

Let’s talk about an item in your closet that has sentimental value for you
It’s a Harley Davidson Sweatshirt from 1988. This is an item that both my mother and father had. It's in many home videos and pictures of great times we had growing up. It is a special piece that I still love to wear to this day.

Why is it irreplaceable to you?
It reminds me of my childhood, and many wonderful memories when I see it. There's a comfort level of home everytime I wear it, and where I came from. It's a piece I would wear often whether lounging around, or dressing it up in a fun manner with a pair of jeans or shorts. It still has a fun and edgy feel 29 years later! 

What are your personal views on sustainability and over consumption today?
I think more people could integrate new and fun ways to wear their back of the closet pieces. There's a reason why you hold onto special things, and it's fun to make use of them. Fashion is a revolving door. People should have fun experimenting with many of the pieces they already have instead of over consuming. Plus it can make for fun conversation when there's a connection to a specific piece in your wardrobe.

Related: I Asked Six Fashion Designers What The Oldest Items In Their Wardrobes Were

Siddharth Mahajan

Siddharth Mahajan, Brand Manager, Shivan & Narresh

Do you have anything in your closet you would consider irreplaceable?
This jumper belongs to my grandfather who bought it when he was travelling in the 1970’s. My grandmother on the other hand did not like it so much on him, so she never let him wear it. Jumping back a couple of summers, I was going through a trunk of old items and spotted it. I instantly fell in love!  I knew I would be able to style it with the right separates and hence made a grab for it. 

So it’s the sentiment behind it?
It’s almost an heirloom to me and represents my grandfather's passion to pick up something this eclectic back then. Hence it will always remind me of that element of quirk he had, hidden inside his otherwise strict demeanour.

What are your personal views on sustainability and over consumption today? 
Being a collector is always a good thing and fashion is one of the key subjects to represent things that excite and entice emotion. However, when this turns into useless hoarding with garments collecting dust in the wardrobe, it's an issue that needs correction.


Karishma Bedi

Karishma Bedi, Fashion Photographer

Tell me about an item you consider irreplaceable.
It’s my classic Doc Marten Boots.

Why are they irreplaceable to you?
I feel like they have always represented a part of me. They are versatile, comfortable and fuss free. A reflection of how I would like to see myself. (grins) 

What are your personal views on sustainability and over consumption today?
It’s scary. We live in a world with a never-ending greed for having more. No one thinks of where these things are manufactured, under what conditions and what their effect is on our planet before consumption/purchase. It’s time to make sustainable lifestyle choices for the sake of the environment, and to secure healthy futures for ourselves. It’s overwhelming to think where to start. But even tiny steps can get you closer to your goals. Personally, I try to do whatever little I can. I opt for 100% natural skincare options, car pool, carry cloth bags. Basically always choose eco friendly alternatives when available.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of

By Radha Jetley
Photographs by Karishma Bedi