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The rise of ‘’The Collaborative’’

Business collaboration is the way forward for a new sense and measure of success.

Want to create something new? Something that considers the environment including its people? 

Consider collaboration as your tool. 

Our work inside The Ecosystem Incubator thrives on collaboration. Sanja Stories is one of our key case studies and innovations in this arena. Sanja Stories embraces a regenerative, circular design that minimises waste, extends product lifecycles, and prioritises eco-friendly materials. At the helm of this entirely regenerative product and business model is a group of co-creators passionate about having a real climate impact and using a social enterprise model to ensure everyone in the value chain is considered a stakeholder. 

Read on to discover the stories behind the product, business and pioneering tech applied to this innovative co-created venture. 

The Product

The short of it is that Sanja Stories is a regenerative clothing brand creating the first pair of regenerative jeans. The long of it requires diving into the garment's journey from seed to clothing. 

The whole process is rain-fed to conserve water usage and, of course, toxic-free. From planting indigenous seeds to hand or solar-powered weaving, milling and washing, each process is highly considered. Once the fibres become cloth, the cutting, sewing and tailoring are carried out by skilled craftspeople. 

The jeans have been designed with wear, tear and evolution in mind. The unisex design can be adjusted in width and length, making it a perfect fit for the primary wearer and adjustable to any new wearer in the garment’s future. 

We’ve also worked on a modular system for the knees and pocket bags - typical ripping points in a garment - so they can be easily replaced, making the jeans as good as new. 

Every component worked into the design was considered in terms of its local sourceability. We are looking to focus on manufacturing in Jaipur, India. However, there aren’t any zip manufacturers in Jaipur. Plus, zips are very difficult to work into a circular system. Instead, we designed around the problem by opting for coconut buttons, which are more biodegradable than zips! We are also testing regenerative threads since most natural products still contain synthetic threads for performance. 

Nowadays, you can’t escape talk of toxins - at least in the ‘eco’ chamber of sustainability. Regardless, it goes without saying we decided to use a non-toxic wash made from a local nut source during the textile manufacturing process.

For circular and regenerative processes, the use of toxins needs close attention. At Circular Earth, we’re working on a research file on this topic to advise the best-case scenarios for natural dyes. And let me tell you, there are hundreds of nuances. 

Our first pair of jeans is offered as a naked product as we assess the best natural dyes and processes for customers to add their personality. 

And, that’s just the jean as a product! Now, let’s get into the collaborative business model and the work we're co-creating with our Ecosystem Incubator members. 

The Business

Sanja Stories is a collaboration of minds, skills and networks. The co-creators are Rachel Shelia Kan, who architected The Ecosystem Incubator and worked on the business model, circular design and systems. 

Building the value chain with our wide network of regenerative producers are Jo Salter and Kishore Shah of Khadi London and Where Does It Come From?, who are also responsible for the stories following the item back to seed and source, sharing the deep history of Gandhi where the Khadi movement started. 

Claudia Coveyduck, a technical product developer is working on the sizing and fit of this highly versatile product (no mean feat), along with Abhishek Jain of Mishika Crafts, who is collaborating on the production. 

And, finally, a new player on the team, copywriter and content strategist Safiya Allaf, is working on the marketing and PR for the next stage of growing the business. 

Within the model, instead of having a CEO or boss, we are all equal players coming together and sharing in its success. Our collaboration is also financial and inspired by the doughnut economic model. Without a CEO or hierarchy, everyone contributes so everyone benefits and we ensure we are not negatively impacting workers or the environment. We are using Sanja Stories as an exemplary example of what can be done with a circular regenerative product while showcasing other respective businesses in the


The Community 

Not one to stop at regenerative jeans or a new business model, we’ve also gathered a community of buyers who will commit to pre-ordering the jeans in advance. Being part of a community, they will hear the stories of the jeans as they are made - and add their own part of the story as a wearer. 

The Tech

At Sanja Stories, we are passionate about pushing the boundaries of circular fashion and incorporating innovative solutions. We’re collaborating with Vestis Labs, an Ecosystem Incubator member, founded by Fonny Bunjamin. 

Vestis Labs empowers fashion brands to work more efficiently by providing a digital platform and tool to enhance transparency and facilitate a circular business model. This collaboration marks a significant step forward in integrating cutting-edge technology with our sustainable practices. 

Transparency is at the heart of what we do. Through our collaboration with Vestis Labs, we've introduced a Digital ID that provides a detailed history of each pair of jeans we produce. This Digital ID enables consumers to view the origins and stories behind the materials and processes used in their garments, enhancing the trust and connection between Sanja Stories and our customers.

Our collaboration goes beyond just tracking origins. Once a customer purchases a pair of our jeans, they can add themselves to the story by documenting how they personalise their jeans. Will they choose a natural dye? Will they block print? Or leave the jeans in the natural colour? 

Customers can also implement recommended end-of-life solutions. This feature encourages responsible usage and disposal of the garment, aligning with our vision of a circular fashion economy.

In partnership with Vestis Labs, we've embraced 3D technology to create a digital lookbook to visualise our products on virtual avatars to showcase the denim before making a size set, reducing the need for excessive sample productions, costs and time. 

This collaboration with Vestis Labs represents a fusion of technology and tradition, which is fundamental to our approach at Sanja Stories. It is a pivotal step towards a future where fashion is not only stylish but also fully transparent and environmentally conscious. 

Collaboration is a huge part of all our work and practices. Learn about each initiative here: 

Tech Video example

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