The Future Is Old
BEDI is a design studio creating sustainable, minimalist fashion and accessories from upcycled, locally sourced, and future-conscious materials. They’ll be bringing their innovative ideas to Toronto’s One of a Kind Show.
In partnership with
BEDI makes fashion for a better future. The company’s founder (and namesake), Inder Bedi, designs thoughtful creations that will last a lifetime. An antidote to fast fashion, one of the worst-polluting industries in the world, BEDI crafts unique pieces from post-consumer products that would otherwise simply be waste. Beyond rescuing these materials, Bedi sees his company contributing to a cultural shift toward circular economies and a rethinking of what we truly need — and what truly makes us happy.
Inder Bedi’s interest in vegan fashion bloomed from a university paper into a founding leadership role in Matt & Nat, a trusted vegan-leather accessories brand. When he left that company, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay in the industry. He knew that if he did, he would want to do something “next-level” in terms of sustainability. The seed that is now BEDI began to germinate in his research.
At first, BEDI began designing duffel bags and backpacks made from airline seats, which were being discarded after refurbishment. They sourced seat belts from scrapyards. They discovered Econyl, a remarkable upcycled fabric made from reclaimed fishing nets. As much as possible, they worked with locally sourced materials and distinctive, reclaimed hardware. The aesthetic is minimalist, neutral, utilitarian, and chic. As they expanded their line of innovations, a principle took shape in Bedi’s mind and became the company’s motto: “One day, everything new will come from something old.”
BESIDE met with Inder Bedi as he was preparing for One of a Kind, a winter show in Toronto, which supports and brings together a community of like-minded creative makers from all over Canada, many from Montréal.
Your motto, “One day, everything new will come from something old,” points to a radical way of rethinking consumption. How has thinking about overconsumption informed what you do?
I think of it not only for the obvious problems that it points to, like pollution, which, of course, contributes to climate change. I also think of it from a spiritual point of view: we have become a society that is always looking for the next fix, in any type of vice. A lot of brands have done a good job convincing us we need something new very regularly, for a new trend or event or season. One of the positives that came from COVID was a rethinking of this mentality: a shift in terms of holding on to quality, supporting local brands, keeping things for longer.
So I think about it in terms of waste, but also deeper, in terms of our looking for happiness in the wrong places. Not just with fashion, with a lot of things. We’re constantly looking for a new fix. Maybe we need to reimagine what our definition of happiness is as a society.
Where do you find inspiration, as a designer and as an entrepreneur?
Utilitarian, functional-based aesthetics appeal to us, in general. And then we add our own unique details: hardware, topstitching. We call it elevated utility. Taking pieces we need in everyday life and elevating them. Old-school details or locally sourced hardware, like old-fashioned zippers, which have unique and interesting aesthetics.
How much optimism do you permit yourself in the climate crisis?
I am hopeful that consumers will start asking more questions and demand much more from industry and brands. I think that change comes from consumers that vote with their dollars.
Greater demands from consumers is the only way that change is going to happen. At the end of the day, doing things that are sustainable is a lot more costly. The only way we’re going to see a major shift in direction is if consumers do not support the brands that don’t make necessary changes.
I’m seeing it happening: Econyl, for instance, and things like mushroom leathers. It’s nice to see more steps in the right direction. But just because something is labelled as sustainable doesn’t mean that it is. And just because something is vegan doesn’t mean that it’s sustainable. There’s simply so much greenwashing going on out there. I’d say that maybe most brands that label as sustainable are part of greenwashing, which is a big part of the problem.
What is the oldest thing you own?
I’m a bit of a comic book nerd, and I have a couple of Batman books from the late 1930s. The Batman we see in the movies today is somewhat tempered compared to the old, grittier version. The first 10 books are like the Holy Grail, from a collector’s point of view. So that’s probably the oldest thing.
But there’s something else that I’ve had for a long time. When I left Matt & Nat, I did something I’d always wanted to do: I took a carpentry class where everything was done with no electricity. It was all done with joinery. And in that class, I made my own hammer. I still use it today. And every time I use it, I feel a sense of pride.
As befits their future-conscious ethos, BEDI has a lot to look forward to, from expanded outerwear and knitwear to new ideas in accessories. Beyond that, they’ve just opened a flagship brick-and-mortar location in Montréal, which, of course, features locally sourced metals and thoughtful, upcycled details. And the company is about to attend the popular One of a Kind 2022 Winter Show in Toronto to share space and ideas with other innovative creators and conscious consumers.
BEDI at the 2022 One Of A Kind Winter Show
Meet Inder in person at the upcoming Winter Show at Exhibition Place, Enercare Centre in Toronto from November 24 to December 4 along with 600+ Canadian makers!
For more information, click here.
Use the promo code BESIDEXOOAK at checkout to get a discount on a Single Day Adult Admission ticket to the Show or simply use the following link.
Discover Inder’s story in our series Going Sideways, where you can learn more about his unique approach to sustainable fashion design.Watch the episode