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To write about Indian Craft is like writing about the country itself. So diverse, complex and colourful and yet with abundance of simplicity and charm. India has a rich cultural heritage, and that is apparent in all its art forms. Since time immemorial, Indian crafts have served as an integral part of our culture and custom.
Even though machines and technology have taken over several sectors, the beauty of handcrafted objects still holds value, and India is home to several artisans and craftsmen who've mastered skills that have been passed down through generations.
Some of the crafts preserve ancient traditions, understanding the method of production can provide us with insight into the past. This can be vital in understanding the history of the country and deciphering archeological findings. While, there is no harm in imbibing something new but at the same time it is important to conserve indigenous arts.
Here’s a list of 6 Indian Contemporary Brands that are breathing new life into these age-old crafts by changing their context and yet retaining their vibrant and earthy charm.
THE INDIAN ETHNIC CO. seeks to bring the timeless culture of Indian handmade clothing. They indulge in the handwoven handlooms fabrics with traditional hand block prints like Ajrakh, Bandhani, Bagh, Bagru, Balotra, Dabu, Sanganeri and more. Prints, colours and silhouettes are in contemporary style with signature of traditional techniques which make everyday style effortless . It is an ode to craft and our simplistic heritage style that will compliment any age group or body type .
The Indian Ethnic Co. also sources Kalamkari fabric from Nagendra Rao, a noted Kalamkari artist. Besides salwars and kurtis, their products now involve saris, dupattas, western and Indian tunics, silver jewellery, and more.
The cofounders Hetal and Lekhinee Desai once visited a handloom exhibition and came back with an exciting business idea and 50 metres of fabric with the Ajrakh print. They got the fabric stitched into kurtis in various sizes and designs by their neighbourhood tailor. The brand emphasises on displaying and making accessible rich, vivid and timeless collections of the Indian handloom and handicrafts from the hinterlands of India with a contemporary twist.
SUTA is an absolute example of emerging women entrepreneurship in India. Suta has been the journey of Sujata and Taniya (Su and Ta) putting their heart and soul into spreading love through sarees and apparel. The brand SUTA is a fresh design house that centres on creating a wide range of designs with a blend of traditional and contemporary. The creations are intended towards elegance, boldness and grace added to design which embarks the attitude of women. The basis of the brand's inspiration is a reminder of the craft traditions of India.
From two young women bitten by the entrepreneurship bug to a team of 20 in Mumbai and 50 weavers around the country, Suta has since grown by leaps and bounds. Its exquisite handloom sarees, in varieties of jamdani weave, malmal, malkesh, banarasi, and fully handwoven ones, are now shipped across the country and to international markets. The venture itself, however, had humble beginnings.
With the vision of offering the best handcrafted sarees to customers, SUTA closely works with India's vast artisan community.
Okhai is known for its organic, sustainable, handmade products enhancing ancient Indian craft . Okhai understands the rich culture and traditions that rural communities are steeped in and translates this heritage into products by pairing traditional art with contemporary designs and modern processes. As a brand, Okhai Handicraft collection includes women's wear, men’s wear, home décor products and accessories. Okhai products use mirror work, patchwork and embroidery created as a vibrant expression of the rural way of life, their rituals.
Kirti Poonia started the company in 2015 to bring the traditions of India to customers all around the world with its unique creations and products.
In the absence of any other significant income opportunity for the rural women of Okhamandal, it became imperative to provide them with a source of livelihood. Okhai gave these women the opportunity to earn for themselves and their families. Economic empowerment of women helped in improving their status, both socially and economically.
The brand celebrates creativity nurturing love and light to the emerging and ancient vibrantly creative spirit of India. The spirit, throbbing to give birth to an edgy, yet warm, funny and a fair India. India has a huge potential to nurture and grow despite any demographic boundaries, from any region to any city. A brand defining itself, its own genius, simultaneously engaging with the best in the world handicraft, handlooms, fabrics, jewellery, paintings, and other artworks.
iTokri is one of the crafts and loom retailers with a hundred percent inventory of handmade artisanal products ranging from Punjab’s phulkari dupattas and Gujarat’s bandhani sarees to Andhra’s ikkat handloom fabrics, and Odisha’s pattachitra paintings. The brand sources products including jewellery, dress materials, and household items from nearly 10,000 artisans across India, making it the largest curated portal for art and handicraft products. Itokri makes sure to give its best in keeping the tradition alive and innovation .
Over the decade, iTokri has been built on the foundation of transparency, authenticity, love, and commitment, becoming the voice of the handloom and handicrafts community, offering an unparalleled shopping experience to its customers.
Eco Tasar is a brand that produces handmade artisanal textiles with a natural fibre like Tasar silk, linen, cotton and wool. Then styles them into exquisite and elegant products for the discerning buyer. The brand believes in sustaining the ancient crafts from both economical and cultural standpoint. Eco Tasar stays connected to the splendour thought of packing and product development. The brand ensures sustainability, overall well-being and improved livelihood of women artisans who play an excellent role in the history and progress of the brand.
The brand aimed to bring contemporary designs for modern homes, using raw silk to make handmade yarn and then weaving it on handlooms, so that the product is uniquely different in origin and appearance and complements your sense of aesthetic and social consciousness. Eco Tasar specialises in Tasar and other natural silk like Eri and exports home furnishing items like cushion covers, duvets, quilts. They convert yarn into fabric which is further stitched and processed to be converted into various apparels like sarees, scarfs, cushion covers etc.
Khitish Pandya launched Eco Tasar Silk Private Limited in 2007 as a weaving unit in Bhagalpur that has impacted the lives of around 1,000 women by providing them with employment, making the brand - Social Enterprise.
A timeless minimal everyday luxury lifestyle brand celebrating stories of Indian artisans, design and techniques in its own blissful way considering retreating nature. Design language is ever evolving seeking inspiration from history, heritage, and nature. However, the principles of design remain the same and extend the legacy of enchanted India yet contemporary, often featuring a romantic, decorative style with a sense of whimsy and magic. It draws tradition to create a new vocabulary of luxury that is Indian and sustainable. At Good Earth, each design has a story and every story takes you on a journey.
Motif evolution is defined by an intense connection with nature, history, heritage and original design through an Indian prism using Indian techniques such as block print , dye and some other sustainable techniques . It is known for their storytelling through surface design and sustaining the craft traditions of our culture . With the growing international and online presence , they look at the world beyond India to build on their legacy as advocates for sustainable luxury . It stays true to being a sustainable practice and does not indulge in green washing .
Good Earth was founded in 1996 by Anita Lal, a tiny universe of interiors, art projects, cultural collaborations, craft and design interventions, and a piece-by-piece contemporization of India’s legacy of craftsmanship.
House of Anita Dongre Limited is one of India’s leading fashion houses today. Anita Dongre, coveted for bridal couture, handcrafted luxury pret and menswear. The brand derives its motif inspiration from the splendid crafts of Rajasthan to create luxurious designs that leave unforgettable impressions and are yet versatile enough to transcend people, places and occasions.
The brand offers curated looks in bridal, couture, pret, menswear and handcrafted jadau jewellery. It seeks to revive the heirloom craft traditions of India and fashion them into contemporary tales.
The Mumbai-based ‘AND’ Designs, which, in 2015, became the House of Anita Dongre.
The company owns and operates three brands with extremely distinct identities with its line of chic, contemporary western-wear for women and a vibrant line of boho-chic.
Lately, Indian handicrafts and art are facing a downfall due to the fast changing world and lack of market support. It is also an industry that helps to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the country. We notice that popular fashion has been influenced by traditional arts. The major influencing brands of today can promote these traditions by understanding the global market and rooting for the craft, culture and traditions. Global attraction and demand of Indian handicraft, art and craft skill making the nation ever blossoming and ever-prospering. These artworks and handicrafts are being passed from generation to generation. Reviving cultural heritage and years of traditional evolution in enormous varieties of art, craft and handicraft has played an important role in the history of making India prosperous.
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