Marigold Diary



I fancy age-old Ayurvedic Skincare concoctions in a bottle!

 IMG_1491 (1)Vata Supplements

Today I’m sharing two stories which are sides of the same coin – one of Abida Halstenberg from Berkeley Square, London who is the founder of Samaya which has creams, cleansers, oils and supplements for the skin and hair.

She grew up in Hyderabad, south of India, but her folks belonged to the North, in Uttar Pradesh. She remembers her maternal grandmother from Oudh only prescribing natural or Ayurvedic remedies for any ailment or beauty treatment. From the age of six or seven she found herself inclined towards mixing face packs with Ayurvedic ingredients. After moving abroad life got busier so she looked for off-the-shelf products that were not just natural or Ayurvedic but also easy and pleasant to use. Uninterested with those in the market, she began building her own line based on the knowledge imparted by her grandmother and extended family (whom she had grown up with), while studying the rest.

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Regenerated tweed, both light and warm


There are reasons for me to pick up the threads with this post – main ones being recycled fibres and the fashion industry being the second largest polluter in the world. It makes me happy to speak about PASHMA – an Indian label through its cashmere range is taking sustainability to another level. I had the opportunity to meet up with its CEO – Mr. Ravindra Kumar at their Gurugram unit where he spoke about their decision of undoing previous collections’ and spinning the Cashmere. “We decided to ‘Regenerate’ our fabric leftovers collected over one decades or more. It has a coarser count and we weave these yarns into HerringboneTwill, Diamond Weave etc., which sell well. Magically, this specific yarn when knitted with different knit structures, needle craft and printed with contemporary prints look like a part of the knit itself ” he explained.


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Resplendent Benarasi weaves from history and beyond

Jhini jhini bini chadariya.

kah ke tana, kah ke bharni, kaun taar se bini chadariya

ingla pingla taana bharni, sushumna tar se bini chadariya.

ashta kamal dal charkha doley, panch tatva, gun tini chadariya

saiin ko siyat mas dus lagey, thonk-thonk ke bini chadariya.

so chaadar sur nar muni odhi, odhi ke maili kini chadariya

das Kabir jatan kari odhi, jyon ki tyon dhar deeni chadariya.

The Lord Supreme has woven a very fine and delicate tapestry, free of impurities of any kind!

What refined and subtle yarn, what complex interlacing,

He has used to weave it!

Using veins and breath he threads twenty four hours on end,

His spinning wheel turns,

Weaving the tapestry from all five essential elements.

Ten months it takes the Lord to weave his tapestry,

Using the greatest of craftsmanship, care and skill.

That exquisite tapestry is worn by the celestials, by Saints, and by human beings alike.

But they all invariably have defiled it !

Your humble devotee Kabir has worn it scrupulously and meticulously,

And is returning it to you, O’Lord, unblemished and pure !

(cited Blind to Bounds)

Kaaynat - Gold the art of Zari by Swati and Sunaina

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Warangal began with prayer rugs


Getting festive ready I chanced upon Poludas Nagendra Satish’s Sutra Durrie. This led me to understand how earlier one could differentiate through designs of one village or weaver from the other. The cottage industry of durrie weaving in Warangal, Telengana can be recognized with its geometrical and angular designs in weft interlocking technique (both sides look the same). Here a large population consisted of skilled weavers and dyers. But the unofficial figures stated otherwise, that almost 50% of Padmasali community have left their ancestral vocation as the craft is too laborious, and provides little sustenance or dignity.

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The UnBenaras weaver


My fascination grew when I read online about Hemang Agrawal’s textile journey after seeing his dazzling collection at Vayu, an upmarket concept store. Particularly how as a young lad from Baneras after studying at NIFT, Mumbai, thought it best to give up his scholarship for Masters in Fashion at Nottingham Trent University to go back home and make something of his textile roots(father had a saree business). Apparently this life altering decision was taken after listening to Padma Shri Rahul Jain‘s talk on Safavid, Persian and Mughal drawloom patterned textiles; wherein he explained in depth the sophistication and innovation of Benarasi textiles of the past several centuries. Later this foremost textile historian and revivalist of India became Hemangs guide and guru.

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Kabir inspires contemporary fashion




Contemporary apparel is known to be accessible in price and relevant to present day fashion. It is modern compared to the higher end luxury market and a tad younger, more often than not.

For a fashion student contemporary begins from the loom which makes a more powerful statement than the machine, when woven with hand. Designer Padmaja Krishnan like Kabir, equates it to meditation; which as per the weaver’s poetry is known to be an expression of an ingenious human mind. Being a slow fashion addict, her eponymous label too hopes to restore the magic in handloom, through ‘The Loom Mind’ collection, this year.

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Whimsical accesories



One of my Christmas finds is this Contemporary Sculptural Jewelry for an understated sparkle at the beach parties this season.

Manifest Design established in the fall of 2013, is a dream project of siblings Manreet & Samraat Deol, who are committed to revitalizing the traditional metalsmithing traditions of India. Manreet, the Creative Director of Manifest Design thought of ‘Everyday Wearable Art’ which stems from her eccentric visual vocabulary that might be familiar but truly unexpected, like gnarled corals, sensuous vines, bold rock sculptures, urban art etc. For it a self confessed sculptor took advantage of a metal-smith to nail a layer of intrigue and warmth.

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Ethics+Aesthetics=Sustainable fashion

Choti Bag and Medium Clutch


Choti Bag and Chindi Clutch


Joli was initially a collaborative effort of two close friends who were also designers – Jonas and Lili. It began from the apartment they shared in New Delhi. After drawing sketches and sourcing fabric for months, the duo decided to give up their full time jobs to set it up in 2010.

An urban line of unisex utilitarian accessories celebrated the soul of modern India. For over 3 yrs. their lines ranged from printed tote bags made of canvas, to weekend bags of fine leather, market bags of lungi fabrics, men’s shirts, colorful key rings, and more….all under the guiding ethos of their logo “Proudly made in India”.

In 2013, Jonas left to further his career while Lili took complete charge of Joli. (The name is a combination of both Jonas and Lili, which also means ‘pretty’ in french)  Since then, the accessory label has seen a sea-change. With a changed identity into something feminine, the label now also focuses on incorporating Indian crafts and recyclable materials.

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Ahimsa leather handbags

Certified Ahimsa leather can be a debatable topic in India, since our religious sentiments do not allow slaughtering of animals. And serendipitously I drew a brand which is vocal about it – Grain with its collection of unisex functional handbags.

So connected with Avinash Bhalerao, its Mumbai-based designer and illustrator, to whet my curiosity about his venture.

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