The fifth edition of CCI’s Craftepreneur spotlights designers who are making sustainable clothing chic

We talk to designers who are looking beyond boxy cuts and the neutral-toned stereotypes to create a new vocabulary for sustainable fashion

Rebecca Vargese Published :  13th December 2019 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  13th December 2019 06:00 AM


Sustainability may be the buzzword of the season. But if you take a close look at the indigenous textile traditions of the country, you will notice that these practices have long been part of the Indian stylescape. And at the core of this ideology is the handcrafted processes and hand-dyeing techniques on natural textiles that have been passed down from master craftsmen to artisans for generations. While the bid for handspun, handwoven and handmade apparel among the millennials and Gen Z-ers is on the rise, slow fashion is beginning to be defined by its staple minimal aesthetic, flowy silhouettes and earthy colour palette. “CCI’s idea of Craftepreneur represents entrepreneurs who use techniques of Indian crafts and create innovative designs for the contemporary lifestyles and needs,” explains Jayasri Samyukta Iyer, joint secretary of the CCI. 

Ahead of the fifth edition of the CCI’s Craftepreneur exhibition, we talk to designers who are looking beyond boxy cuts and the neutral-toned stereotypes to create a new vocabulary for sustainable fashion.

Bring the drama

In the industry for close to a decade, the designers behind the Kolkata-based brand Atre-Alter, Priyangsu Maji and Ambrish Kumar Jha run individual labels that create bridal couture and wedding trousseau. Design lead at AA, Priyangsu tells us that his sensibilities come from working on his other label Garo Kolkata. I think that slow fashion is seen as an escape from the excess that you’d usually see in couture, but there is always a way to liven things up,” he says. Making their Chennai debut with their winter launch called Drama, the collection of dresses, jackets, kurtas, trousers and more come in rich shades and bold solid tones such as purple, red and blue. Made from tussar and khadi blends using the jamdani weave, the line features motifs like flowers, mountains. Rs 4,500 onwards.

New order

Delhi brand Ekmit has a more structured approach to sustainable fashion. Quite literally. While the brand does extend its designs to drapes and the occasional scarves, the focus is on sharp tailoring. “Our forte is garment construction. We work extensively on overlays, structured jackets, jumpsuits, blouses, lehengas and shararas,” shares founder Riya Anand. Working extensively with various forms of blockprints, the five-year-old label employs printers within the NCR who have moved from the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Coming to the city for the first time, Riya tells us that Ekmit’s indigo collection called Attarangi will be on display at the showcase. Rs 4,500 onwards.

All the little things

Indigene’s Jaya Bhatt’s answer is to add elements like patchwork or surface ornamentation like tassels and ruffles to break the monotony. Bringing two of their collections — The White Circle and Vintage Affair — to the city, their repertoire comprises overlays, pintuck tops, cropped jackets, bundi jackets and slip dresses. “We are a zero-waste label. After designing an outfit, the artisans use the scraps to make surface embellishments and embroidery as well, making sure not a bit goes to waste,” says Jaya, adding that the collections are in khadi, linen and mulberry silk with motifs made from natural dyes. Rs 3,000 onwards

At Lalit Kala Akademi. On until December 14. From 10.30 am to 9.30 pm.