The scalding Indian summer sun surely gets my goat. So for me, right now its a race against the growing intensity of the sun’s rays; as I look out for conscientious labels like AMBA,  while playing safe with some classics.

So here I share a monologue by its creator Hema Shroff Patel .   

AMBA‘s story……. 

Amba’s journey and story is directly linked to my twenty odd years of social work in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh.  That’s where it began….. with me on the board of WomenWeave Charitable Trust for 13 odd yrs. Also the stint with Rehwa Society in the early days, helped in making a definite connect with people at the grassroots. And backed with this know how, my label Amba came into existence. 

We have grown and developed our ideologies organically e.g.

-Keeping Amba a micro label.

-Bringing high end quality to handloom and handicraft.

-Giving back – Amba has been running as a social enterprise for the past seven years now.  The money is put back into projects related to our artisans like their skill upgradation and social welfare.

-Marrying handicraft with modern and contemporary design.

Initially we began with kurta pajamas made of hand woven cotton fabric, using Maheshwar borders for small trim detailing.  Now there is lounge wear for both children and women, of which over 50% is block printed.

Also we did a luxe line of hand woven scarves and stoles, mainly in merino wool and silk.  Some of which were woven with yarns naturally dyed.

There is a divide between our block printed lounge wear and scarves and stoles…but both are of great quality; lounge wear is fun and quirky while the stoles are chic and elegant.

A low down on the making of these beautiful handcrafted garments. 

Amba products always have a “by hand” element…which is essential! Also we are moving in the direction of being an “eco friendly” label, as our block print pigment dyes were earlier set with the help of petrol.

While making stoles and scarves, it’s feels like cooking in a big pot; beginning with stirring a concoction of yarns, setting them on the loom, then patiently observing the fabric swatches once washed, heated, boiled and stuck in a dryer.

We have innovated a lot over the years using many counts of wool in Maheshwar, which is traditionally a cotton/silk dominated weaving town, before hitting the jackpot.

Linen is another multifaceted yarn we love playing with.

However our biggest leap happened only last autumn, when we developed a line of beautiful stoles. Their yarns were dyed with natural dyes, using a space dye technique.

For now, we would like to leave it to our natural dyeing and design innovations to do the talking.

‘Amba Archives’– springsummer 2015 collection.

Is all about bringing back the old favourites.  In our prints, we will be stocking our quintessential prints like rickshaws, ambassadors, and chappals.  In our scarves and stoles, we have tweaked old design files by adding new elements. The weaves will be linen, khadi, and a light weight wool/silk.  The objective of this collection was to incorporate original designs with a higher recall value and the greater challenge has been using those designs differently.

 AMBA is carefully treading in an overwhelming luxury market….

By staying small.  I have reviewed this time and again.  In an age, where everyone is self branding, by making themselves noticeable through social media campaign, a ‘micro label’ surely stands out.

For the client Amba is an experiential label, for discovering the details and enjoying our services. We also present our luxurious pieces in a special packaging with personalized gift card, acknowledging the discerning buyer’s worth in our sustainability cycle.

Mind you, this formula doesn’t work for everyone, as is not financially viable!

Ethical fashion to me….

Is a brand like Pero for the layers of “by hand” in each and every piece of clothing.  I have kept every heart and every tassle dangling from the labels of all my purchases. Though I am hugely still partial to my WomenWeave khadi scarves.  Each scarf has been woven by a women with no weaving background, thus tripling her income.  Else she would only have the unreliable farming for financial dependence.

There IS something magical in wearing a good quality cloth which has a wonderful story to tell!

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