10 Designers On Handcraft Revival And Being #VocalForLocal

by | September 21, 2020, 14:38 IST

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Leading designers walking us through their process of handcraft revival, and how going local has helped their brand find its niche.

Fashion

Antar-Agni (Ujjawal Dubey)

Fashion

“We at Antar-Agni use handlooms not just because the fabric is handwoven, but also because we love the characteristic of the outcome. The idea is not to put a textile in a box and create only a certain type of garments with it. We love making tailored jackets of handspun fabrics since it offers an interesting juxtaposition of the silhouette and textile. We, as a country, should also look forward to the idea of using ‘handmade’, thus converting our population into our strength.”

Fashion

Rahul Mishra

Fashion

“Taking the Indian rural society and numerous local craft-based communities into account, we hope to support the system as a whole by creating more employment opportunities and inclusivity. Upon identifying the desired craft, we deconstruct it and with suitable design intervention, redefine its application in our clothes while keeping its integrity and individual characteristics intact. If the craft has to sustain, it must evolve with time, and, as a designer, it is my responsibility to facilitate that transition in my best capacity.”

Fashion

Anavila(Anavila Misra)

Fashion

“The Phulia region of West Bengal has been known for its cotton tant saris and fine work with khadi and muslin. When we started working with artisans there nine years ago with the new linen yarn, the collaboration created a design disruption in the sari space. Our work with this cluster has always been collaborative, we visit the cluster with an idea of the textiles we want to work with, and everything is discussed with the weavers. Based on the possibilities and challenges of the loom, sampling is done initially, and eventually, production is planned. Once the designs are finalised it’s easy for us to coordinate through long-distance. The continued work in one region has helped the brand create a unique design identity, along with a sense of community with the weavers.”

Fashion

Ekaya (Palak Shah)

Fashion

“Ekaya believes in the timelessness of handcrafted textiles. Change is indeed the only constant. But when it comes to modernising a handcrafted textile, this change presents itself in the diversity of presentation and carriage, not in the inherent character. For example, a traditional bridal A-line lehenga to match with a choli, and a gathered A-line skirt to match with a balloon-sleeved blouse may be fashioned out of the same textile. The final looks maybe different. But both will appeal to the modern wearer as versatile heritage investments for the present and the future.”

Fashion

Payal Khandwala

Fashion

“To this end, we develop handloom silks in our signature colour-blocked palette, but in textiles that drape and feel a certain way. We develop them with wool, cotton and linen because different weighted fabrics work on different silhouettes. With our brocades, we work with traditional motifs as well as contemporary patterns that we develop in-house. But what differentiates our clothing is the way that we rethink traditional brocades. We make our distinct modern silhouettes in this textile, jumpsuits, maxis, dresses, skirts in addition to shapes that we typically associate with Benarasi brocades, so that we not only redefine the context and make them a bit unpredictable but also make them more relevant. The challenge that excites me always is how do we retain the essence of our traditional craft, but free it from its obvious cultural trappings?”

Fashion

Ritu Kumar

Fashion

“For over 40 years, my team and I have steeped in research and academia, and worked with craftsmen from across the country, evolving various art forms to suit the needs of the changing Indian woman. Our designs interpret rich Indian heritage with clean lines and edgy silhouettes that cater to the current fashion trends. With the COVID-19 crisis, introspection will perhaps be needed to wind back a decade or so. We will be looking at returning to classics and conventional designs that stand the test of time.”

Fashion

Bodice (Ruchika Sachdeva)

Fashion

“Bodice, as a brand, has always leaned towards exploring traditional techniques which originated in India. Blending traditional techniques with contemporary designs aligns with Bodice’s design philosophy. Kantha is one such technique which is often used in our designs. Kantha’s running stitch forms a micro symmetry within the clothes which helps build an illusion of linear pattern. We incorporated this technique because it isn’t commonly used and it could be explored further.”

Fashion

Anjul Bhandari

Fashion

“Our focus has always been to preserve the craft of chikankari and mukaish for over a decade now. The craft is timeless and hence our garments are classic, heirloom ensembles which will always make a statement irrespective of the current trend. Over the years, we have moved from cotton to embroidering chikankari on georgettes, chiffons, muslins, pashmina and organza. In order to lend a contemporary feel, we add our signature highlights like baby mirrors, Japanese baby pearls and sequins to our ensembles to make them more festive. Last year, we acquired the know-how to dye our Japanese baby pearls to pastel shades that add more colour to the base shade of the fabric and the white thread embroidery. In 2020, we are also using zardozi, another craft from Awadh to highlight our chikankari, which makes it more apt for festive and wedding occasions.”

Fashion

Péro (Aneeth Arora)

Fashion

“The Indian-ness of péro rests in the textile process, where materials pass through many craftspersons, and come together to make a unique piece. In last 10 years, the brand has worked in close collaboration with over a thousand weavers/craftspeople across various regions in the country, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh among others to innovate handwoven, dyed and printed textiles. Every season (twice a year) péro develops about 50 varied textiles with at least five different regions in India, involving at least 500 weavers across the country and the association continues irrespective of changing fashion trends and seasons.”

Fashion

Raw Mango (Sanjay Garg)

Fashion

“Both tradition and modernity are subjective and it is important to keep evolving and innovating. At Raw Mango, we think of the future—whether that is through technique, material or colour. At the same time, we recognise tradition in our designs by constantly questioning the context in which it is spoken of.”

Fashion


All photos used with prior permission

Also Read: Sabyasachi On His roots, Becoming A Conglomerate And His Purist Aesthetic

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