Latest edit by streetwear label Rafu’d showcases ensembles inspired by mata ni pachedi
The designer did not just stop at drawing elements from the folk art form but took the liberty to give her collection an added edge with the fusion of mythology and cosmology.
Around 300 years ago, there lived a nomadic community, the Vagharis, on the banks of the Sabarmati River. When temples forbade them from entering inside, they created their own shrines by depicting Mother Goddess in different forms onto a cloth, which is now popularly known as mata ni pachedi. Last year, designer Shaishavi Mehta’s streetwear brand Rafu’d launched its debut collection, Chaap Katha, featuring contemporary and quirky ensembles inspired by India’s heritage textiles and Rajasthani phad paintings. The label is all set to return to the multi-designer clothing store, The Verandah, this month with its latest edit Dantkatha, which draws from the essence of Gujarat’s rich cultural heritage, mythical narratives and this age-old captivating art form onto its contemporary silhouettes and printed ensembles.
“Delving into the ancient tales of gods and goddesses, each of our ensembles transports you to a world where mythology and art merge seamlessly with vivid colours, reflecting the exuberance and divinity of mata ni pachedi,” Shaishavi reveals. Centred around a female deity (mata), this textile art is made with a step-by-step process that involves free hand drawing and wooden block printing of architectural elements like shrines, doors and archways. The original artworks were only made with natural dyes in shades of black and deep red on cotton cloth and to this day are used as sacred temple fabric. The unique feature of these temple-hangings is that the rectangular piece of fabric is divided into seven to nine columns, which are allotted for narrative formats of storytelling.
When we asked what made her pick mata ni pachedi, the founder says, “This art form instantly connects me to my cherished memories of Navratri, my favourite festival as a proud ‘gujju’ girl. The deep, vibrant hues in the prints flow like a dance, just like the energetic Navratri celebrations. I envision stars and the moon adorning the night sky while people dance with pure joy. This collection is a heartfelt fusion of all these elements, celebrating the essence of tradition and art in every piece.”
The designer did not just stop at drawing elements from the folk art form but took the liberty to give her collection an added edge with the fusion of mythology and cosmology. “Adding another layer to our edit, we explore cosmology, incorporating prints and motifs inspired by tarot cards and celestial bodies. These elements remind us of the vast universe and the interplay between the divine and human realms. We have experimented with different fabrics and we tried our hands on tie-dye in the making of Dantkatha,” Shaishavi shares.
The August edit from Rafu’d offers 32 pieces across 11 distinct surfaces, crafted from seven different fabrics. The Guldasta print pays homage to the flora depicted in the paintings, while the Mishrit print beautifully blends the borders seen in the artwork. The Doro Print showcases a collage-like depiction of various elements from the art form and Rangrez is a vibrant tribute to the colours of Navratri. Additionally, the Rekhik print features linear drawings of various elements interwoven throughout the collection.
“The Sikka print from our previous edit continues to be our bestseller, so we put a fresh spin on that one for Dantkatha. We designed five unique tarot cards featuring elements from mata ni pachedi, each representing the flora, animals, worshippers, celestial elements and the mother goddess. Each card is thoughtfully sketched and adorned with Gujarati words beneath, adding a touch of authenticity and cultural significance,” the designer adds.
Speaking about the chosen colour palette for Dantakatha, she elaborates, “The art form itself features darker hues, our vision was to juxtapose these beautiful vibrant prints against deep dark hues, reminiscent of people joyously playing garba in vibrant chaniya-choli ensembles on a star-filled night. This fusion of influences brought forth a collection that exudes the essence of tradition while embracing youthful vibrancy.” Detailed with hand-weaving and tie-dye art, this exquisite collection boasts ensembles like Doro Blazer, corset and dress; Guldasta jacket, trousers and top; and Rangrez shirt, vest and skirt.
INR 4,490 onwards. Available at Haudin Road, Halasuru and online.