An Indo-french fancy

The recent fashion week featured a combination of Chanderi and denim. Jagjeet Singh, the executive director of this collection, tells us about this unique textile, the future plans for the label and more

The recent fashion week in the capital went through a makeover. A new name, a derivative of a collaboration with Lotus Makeup, almost reminded us of the times when Amazon had taken over Wills as title sponsor. New designers took the opportunity to showcase their craft on the ramp, while the old ones chose to keep the buyer meetings private in their studios. From the rainbow themed grand finale to the B2C exhibition and Stockroom that made the designers put their old stock on sale, enough was done to excite everyone — including fashion designers, store buyers and private buyers.

Amid all this hustle bustle, we got acquainted with Amita Gupta’s spring summer 2019 collection that featured a textile called Chanderi-denim. This unique blend of materials and sensibilities was an eye-catcher as it reflected a never seen before trend in the Indian textile design scene.

Patriot caught up with Jagjeet Singh, the executive director for Amita Gupta’s collection, who took us through the making of this amalgam of textiles.

Can you tell us more about the Chanderi-denim textile that you recently developed as part of your SS19 collection?

Chanderi-denim is a new fabric which we developed as part of our spring summer 2019 presentation. It’s a mix of two very different fabrics. Denim, a textile from France that is very raw and rough is basically a twill weave and on the other hand, Chanderi, a textile known as a geographical indication of the Chanderi Village in Madhya Pradesh is essentially a very delicate fabric made of fine cotton and silk yarns.

Mixing yarns of these two entirely different fabrics on a handloom was a tough task. There were times when we were trying to keep the denim soft. But then the Chanderi would become course, almost mesh-like and when we tried for a proper Chanderi-denim, it became more hard and rough.

It was a big task that involved a lot of experimentation to develop such a fabric, where both the textiles can complement each other.

Are there any more such innovative textiles that the brand has developed in the past? If yes, please tell us about that and the importance of textile exploration for your label.

This is our first extensive development in the field of textiles.

Where was the textile woven?

The hand weaving was done in Banaras.

As a designer label, how do you intend to make handloom a cost-effective business, while being able to pay your weavers, considering the entire process is expensive and time consuming?

We know that hand weaving is very time consuming and expensive, but its not just an ordinary fabric, it’s an art created by the artisans and you can’t compare art with other machine-made fabrics.

Ours is a sustainable label and we are not into profit making. The entire business is designed in a way that it benefits the weavers. We ensure good margins for our weavers and almost all the money goes to those who have painstakingly woven the textiles.

What do you think is the cultural importance of a textile like Chanderi-denim, being a fusion of two very different fabrics in terms of material, structure and origin?

It’s a mix of Indian and western influences and I am hoping that with the denim mix, our Indian Chanderi will also get noticed in the international market.

Can you share with us a little about your label? What are the label’s aims and what does it represent?

Amita Gupta Sustainable is a non-profit label. We started with weavers who had quit hand-weaving and started working as rickshaw-pullers, vegetable sellers or construction workers to earn more money. They got us started and each day we try as hard as possible to provide them with the wage they deserve for their art.

You mentioned that you run the label with your partner. How do you take a decision, in case you two have opposing views on an idea?

There are always two views for an idea and most of the times it is good to have different views. That is what usually happens between us. But this equation gives us a better understanding of a certain idea and we strive to do better.

What are the future plans for the label?

Our plan is to get more weavers on board, which will also allow them to keep their ancestral art alive. Hand weaving is disappearing rapidly, and as part of the creative field, we want to do everything that we can to save this beautiful art.

How was your experience at the recent fashion week?

It was an amazing experience. We got a lot of appreciation for our creations. This will generate good business and help us achieve our target.

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