Good Earth Sustain celebrates 10 years with a collection inspired by the river Sindhu
Ajrakh forms the crux of the collection
THE INVITATION TO the presentation of Sindhu, Good Earth Sustain’s collection marking the brand’s 10th anniversary, arrives at our desk with the nostalgia-inducing fragrance of Sindhuri, with notes of vetiver, jasmine and Himalayan deodar. Created especially for the launch, the scent captures the essence of Sindhu, which seeks to be a window to India’s past. Its aroma rekindles images of the country’s storied history made all the more vibrant with its exquisite craft traditions. The little bottle of perfume sets the tone for the show, to be held at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
We touch down in Delhi on a warm afternoon — a change from the pleasant 25 degree-weather we left behind in Bengaluru. But the heat seems to have gone down with the sun, and is replaced by a slight nip in the air when we take our seats at the open courtyard of the IGNCA later that day. The lush voice of celebrated folk singer Kutle Khan fills the air as the models step out on the runway, which is designed to replicate a caravanserai, a fixture on ancient trade routes, where travellers and traders would stop to rest, interact and exchange ideas.
At the centre of this spectacle is the river Sindhu and its tributaries represented by a map drawn on the floor. The path of the river (which, over the years came to be called ‘Indus’ and thus gave our country its name) and the crafts practised by the tribes and communities who settled along its banks, informs the collection. A mix of pret and couture for women, and for the first time in the history of Good Earth, menswear, the extensive showcase hinges primarily on two different ajrakh prints. Christened ‘Fostat Ajrakh’ by the designers at Good Earth, this pattern of stylised trees and bunches of fruit found on a scrap of cloth in Egypt and dating back to the 14th century, is believed to have been created in Gujarat. The print was reinterpreted as a silk weave by Benarasi master weaver Imran Ahmed, and forms the leitmotif of the collection. The Ajrakh Mingora is another recurring print developed by the brand, and is named after the hometown of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, as it was an important trading centre on the silk route. This particular print is an ode to the influence of East Asia and is detailed with Tibetan Buddhist motifs, such as clouds, lotuses, dots and fish scales.
Besides ajrakh, Sindhu also brings to the fore mashru from Bhuj, handwoven cotton silk from Benaras, bandhini tie-and-dye with rai-dana from Bhuj, the folk chaand (crescent moon) motif from Bikaner, Punjabi phulkari, Sindhi taanka embroidery, Rabari mirror work, folk beading, varq and leheriya. “Sindhu is a celebration of our shared culture, it is a tribute to the nomadic groups, travellers, traders, innovators, patrons, lovers, artisans, so many who were intermediaries of a multitude of ideas and innovations from one place to another; the Banjaras, Rabaris, Kutchis, gypsy tribes like the Romani and numerous others with intermingled stories, that have enriched our culture,” says Anita Lal, Founder and Creative Director of Good Earth.
A total of 72 ensembles are presented that evening. As the models gracefully move around the central courtyard, we catch glimpses of luxurious velvet blouses with plunging necklines, sheer champagne-hued saris embellished with intricate beadwork, flowing ajrakh capes and kediyo tops with handblock prints. Traditional silhouettes are paired with structured jackets, pants, tops and overlays for a contemporary touch. The menswear line, titled Abeer, aimed towards the ‘global traveller rooted in culture’ comprises a range of structured jackets, draped tunics and trousers, kurtas, shirts and jumpsuits.
The gorgeous prints and patterns come alive in a colour story that veers from madder, indigo and syahi (inky charcoal) to ochre, rani pink, emerald and jade green. Details like tie-ups, tassels, crochet potlis in metallic zari, and motifs such as peacocks, camels and palms in zardosi elevate the ensembles to a whole new level of old-world glamour and pure luxury.
The walls and corridors around the courtyard are used to hold an exhibition curated by Kanupriya Bhatter, an art historian. Featuring installations of clothes from the collection, information about the history of ajrakh, textile samples and a photography showcase that captures Kutchi locals, for whom ajrakh forms part of daily wear, it ties the whole concept together.
Rs.40,000 upwards. The collection will be launched in batches.