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Marigold Diary

Anti-fashion menswear for X, Y, Zee generations

Itō, Ito, Itou, Itoh or Itoo (written: 伊藤) might be the sixth most common Japanese surname but now is the name of a Delhi based menswear label owned by Amit Babbar, which also means a yarn or thread in their lingo. Its aesthetics are an aftermath of his luxurious globetrotting trips during childhood which left an indelible mark in the cerebral cortex.

Listening to him a quote by Muhammad Ali “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” kept ringing in my ears. As a lad he started his design journey with a Fashion Design course from Wigan & Leigh  New Delhi. Thereafter became an entrepreneur at 21 itself. Now for nearly a decade and a half  he has been exporting to the likes of Maison de soil, Mando and United Arrows in the Japanese archipelago. 

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Escaping this summer with feminine digital prints and flirty hand-embroidery

Noticing closely I realized  how Sneha Arora a 33 yrs old Kolkata based designer was treading carefully on the middle path chosen between modernism and post-modernism. She derived pleasure from technological positivity and traditional expertise. Her fetish for both hand and powerloom textiles were cleverly juxtaposed with digital printing and hand-embroidery to avoid being too predictive. 

So we connected, as I wanted to know more about her clothing line and other things that mattered-

Her childhood memories: Was a studious kid. Had planned to sit for medical entrance, instead randomly took an entrance exam for NIFT and got through their Fashion Design program, Kolkata.

Her creative influences/memories: Through childhood she excitedly made cards on special occasions for both friends and family. Her elder sister is an interior designer.

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“Visual imagery is what I carried forward from Madura where I had designed tee shirts. Bougainvillea and Rhododendron are my favourite flowers. And the use of khadi is for its textured feel further aggrandized with thread and French Knot embroidery.”

– Sneha Arora

Continue reading “Escaping this summer with feminine digital prints and flirty hand-embroidery”

Artist feels oppressed by the pin which keeps her safety intact

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“We were sensitized in NID before going out to do projects with the craft clusters. As a student one had to stay in their environment to understand their rudimentary means. It was basically about learning their skillset while humbly playing the role of an intermediary, not god or master” quips the Hyderabad based artist – Shaila Nambiar. Having done Fine Arts from MSU Baroda in 1996, she later also got a degree in Textile Designing from NID, in 2003.

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Wearing the mundane as quirky miniatures

The mountains are calling and I must go… for their flora and fauna, clear skies and the relaxed light air sans any pollution – my sanity depends on it! It struck me when I came across LAÏTEworks (spelt as light-works) by Saurabh Banka. Couldn’t stop admiring his quirky embroidered miniatures of the mundane strewn on stoles, shirts and pouches projecting a nonchalant playful attitude. 

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Bankas’s design background: I graduated from NIFT, New Delhi in 2007. And started working with Rajesh Pratap Singh. In 2008, I moved to Paris and studied Masters in Fashion Design from IFM (Institut Français de la Mode). Following that, I took up a job as an Embroidery Designer for a French label Rue du Mail by Martine Sitbon. And in 2016, I moved to India to start my own brand LAÏTEworks.

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Did you know of Akaaro’s Kingi?

 

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Differentiating between a powerloom or a handloom weave from afar, Gaurav Jai Gupta – the designer behind Akaaro, is all set to take advantage of his archival ground-breaking samples for creating conscious fashion trends. At an impressionable age when most are interested in music and photography,  he went along with his friends to NIFT, New Delhi and enrolled himself without giving it a second thought. That Fashion Design and Information Technology foundation course offered a combination of graphics, design and fashion. But unlike others, his final year submission resulted in engineered textile swatches.

Continue reading “Did you know of Akaaro’s Kingi?”

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

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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.

Continue reading “I fancy age-old Ayurvedic Skincare concoctions in a bottle!”

Idli’s Indo-french connection

At Vayu, a concept store in Bikaner House, New Delhi, recently there was an IDLI pop-up. Its delicious brocade collection kept me sauntering around till for I wanted to meet Theirry Journo, a bespectacled hearty man behind this eclectic label. Reminded me of his enchanting store nestled at the entrance of Narain Niwas Palace; a shabby-chic boutique hotel in Jaipur. Entering it one instantly feels a heady rush of chic French aesthetics beautifully married to Indian craftsmanship; upping their ante.

Having tried craft techniques like marquetry on marble, brocade, jacquard or wood paintings, his influence of ‘French History of Art and Painting’ is clearly seen. Career began with training as a copyist at the Louvre museum and thereafter with few atypical French creatives like Thierry Mugler and Andrée Putman.

Taking it forward Theirry and I parked ourselves at the bistro cafe within the old-fashioned building, where he delivered a monologue on his Indian journey so far.

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Regenerated tweed, both light and warm

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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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Getting nostalgic over India’s everyday design

“In India, to understand objects in terms of design one has to re-imagine design itself. Design here is not entirely determined by the aesthetic appeal of the object, but by its significance in our everyday lives (often influenced by its users)” is an understanding of the author Jahnvi Lakhota Nandan of Pukka Indian-100 Objects that Define India published by Roli Books.

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Born in Lucknow, she now lives as a perfumer in Paris and confesses “Their composition has given me a privileged viewpoint to design with  senses. ………..Design captures space and moods where the invisible becoming visible, which is the core of my book, with notions of home.”

Continue reading “Getting nostalgic over India’s everyday design”

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