Love chai? Maku textiles is taking this fondness to next level with tea-dyed clothing
Conversations over tea: nothing describes togetherness better, at least in an Indian context. Designer Santanu Das’ new fall collection Baatein builds upon this everyday interaction over a cuppa to create a narrative based on tea. Expanding on his colour-story that began and focussed on indigo since its inception in 2012, the Kolkata-based designer explains that it was never about the hue. Rather, a colour was meant to facilitate conversations about indigenous textiles and weaves that could be used to create high fashion. “Over the years the journey has been about how we have made peace with the consumer while sticking to our slow fashion philosophies and how they have come to accept our subtle design sensibilities. I feel very optimistic about the current market,” shares the NID, Ahmedabad graduate. Deftly creating a new narrative for the brand, Maku Textiles launched its tea-dyed collection on Instagram a couple of weeks ago.
Talk it through
Translated as ‘a conversation,’ the new collection, Baatein is representative of the conversations that bring people together—a philosophy that has been longstanding with the brand. “Buying should not just be a swipe and a click. There is a need to understand what you are investing in and then owning it.” Staying away from e-commerce sites, the brand, that has its only brick and mortar store in Kolkata, engages with its pan-India base through texts, conversations over social media and even calls explaining the process and the handwork that has gone into the creation of an ensemble. “We sell fashion through dialogue.”
A book of many stories
With a catalogue of 15 looks in the collection, each ensemble is released onto Maku’s Instagram page with a fictional narrative referencing the name of the garment as the lead female character in the story. “They are set in a post-colonial Bengal and are an intersection of gender, food and tea.”
Presenting 15 silhouettes that include dresses, tops, shirts, pants, crop shirts, jackets and skirts, the collection offers a palette varying from pale gold and ochre to deep browns gravitating towards black. “There isn’t a standardised dyeing process when it comes to tea. Each batch of leaves gives you a different colour and that’s the beauty of the collection.
Typical of the designer, the collection primarily focuses on hue and texture, with stripes, gathered panel detailing and crushed fabric marking the only surface design throughout the collection that uses a cotton and silk khadi yarn. “There is a reflective quality to this yarn that absorbs the stain from the tea. It also presents a versatile draping quality,” explains Santanu. If worn after a wash, sans ironing, the fabric takes the form of the body while accentuating the texturing of the fabric. “If ironed, it falls flat.”
Keeping the entire production sustainable, Baatein uses brass buttons and a hand embroidered label with the name of the garment at the back alongside the motif of a little teacup.
Rs 7,000 onwards.