DMU graduate lands solo show at India's biggest fashion event

Leading the way in sustainable fashion has earned De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate Pratyush Kumar a solo show at India’s biggest fashion week.

Pratyush (right) emerging on the catwalk after his solo show 

The emerging fashion designer from India most recently gained recognition for his sustainable label Pieux by winning two global challenges – CleanTech (hosted by Godaddy and Saahar) and Circular Design Challenge (an initiative by R|elan and United Nations India).

Winning the Circular Design challenge earned Pratyush a solo show last month at Lakme Fashion Week in partnership with FDCI, the biggest Indian fashion event of its kind.

“After winning the challenge people started taking my brand seriously. It’s given me the chance to show that beautiful things can be made from waste, and to talk about sustainability as something beyond a greenwashing marketing ploy,” said the 34-year-old.

“I’m especially grateful that’s I had the opportunity to unveil my latest collection at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week.”


After launching Pieux in 2020, Pratyush was forced to temporarily shut down operations due to Covid-19, and spent two years researching eco-friendly materials and processes.

Back with a bang in January, Pieux now boasts a range of apparel and accessories featuring cartex (textile made out of leftover carpet yarn), R|elan recycled polyester (100% post-consumer waste textile made from plastic bottles) and Econyl (nylon made from ocean and landfill waste), as well as modular footwear and 3D-printed modular eyewear.

He said: “Sustainability is a part of my culture. Most people in India have practiced it for generations without realising it - by thrifting, reusing and repairing. My grandmother converted the saris she loved wearing in the 60s and 70s into home décor and that’s something my mum picked up too.

“With my label, the plan is to be 100% sustainable in the materials that we use, while making sure everything is ethically produced. In future, we hope we can supply cartex to other brands, helping to solve the wider problem of waste.”


Pratyush’s 13-year-long mindful fashion journey has included studying Fashion Bodywear MA at DMU in 2011 – now called Contour Fashion Innovation MA - which is where he was introduced to 3D-printing by a friend.

“Technology challenges and cost implications prevent us from using 3D printing for garments at the moment, but I am using it for my eyewear and soon in footwear” he said.

“It means I can make modular collections that are sustainable, as we’re only using the exact amount of materials needed for each product, minimising wastage. It also means that each product can be customised and that individual parts can be replaced in case of damage.

“Sustainability and modularity are themes that characterise our garments too, featuring elements that can be dismantled and used to make something else.”


British fashion influences were a big reason Pratyush wanted to study in the UK. He said: “I’ve always been a fan of brands like Alexander McQueen and I went to England to familiarise myself with the industry there – even now my focus market is Europe and the UK was my first live marketplace.

“DMU was a great experience for me. I was introduced to different technologies and learned a lot about lingerie, which is something I’d like to eventually expand on in my label.

“I really benefitted from being in a new place and learning new things from my DMU mentors who generously shared their expertise.”

Familiar with the many challenges of starting a fashion brand and keen to give aspiring designers a head start, Pratyush hires fashion students from across India as interns.


“Starting out can feel demotivating at times, especially if you want to be sustainable. For example, minimum quantities in which you can order certain materials can make things unaffordable, it’s difficult to achieve bright colours with organic dyes, and you’re very limited when it comes to using things like glitter and embroidery,” he said.

Exploring innovative ways of overcoming these challenges is one of the reasons Pratyush is leading the way in the industry and being recognised for his efforts. He’s currently working with researchers on developing biodegradable cellulose sequins.

Supporting local artists and communities along the way is a cause close to Pratyush’s heart.

He said: “Without them we wouldn’t exist as a brand – they’re our backbone. We’re seeing entire communities vanish in favour of machines, but we’re benefitting from the skills they’ve cultivated over centuries, helping us to create products we hadn’t even thought about.”

Posted on Tuesday 1st November 2022

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