Madhav Raj Bhatt introduces us to his menswear label Indigharana and its new ikat collection
Founder of design label Indigharana - Madhav Raj Bhatt - wants to put traditional art on the map by crafting exclusive menswear designs with local weaves. He also happens to be prominent Kathak exponents, Mangala Bhatt and Raghav Raj Bhatt's son. His curated collection of ensembles and accessories are crafted in collaboration with traditional artisans albeit with an urban outlook. We speak to him about the need for evolution in menswear, artisans are based out of Telangana and are slowly returning to work and incorporating the element of local art in his designs. Excerpts:
Tell us what prompted the beginning of Indigharana?
Indigharana is a manifestation of our exploration with blending traditional craft and urban culture. The name comes from the word, ‘indie’ which represents an alternative culture and ‘gharana’ which represents a style of traditional art. The brand brings a range of curated designs and products inspired by urban and traditional cultures. Our vision is to reimagine traditional craft to suit the contemporary needs by producing unique and authentic ethnic-infused products inspired by the heritage of India, unifying cultures.
What would you say makes it unique?
As a family of artistes we understand the hard work, dedication and sacrifice put in by traditional craftsmen to produce artwork. With our experience in understanding heritage, coupled with our intent to unify cultures, we are equipped with the right mindset and direction. We’ve begun our exploration one art form at a time, starting with the art of ikat from Telangana. Currently, our collection features neckties and Indian jackets in raw silk ikat.
Tell us a little more about yourself Madhav and where do you derive interest in sustainable weaves and fashion?
My understanding of heritage comes from my environment, I grew up around various forms of traditional arts coming from different parts of India. I am connected with exploring creative forms of heritage and finding new ways of representing them. I am passionate about art and culture, and I learn music (tabla) and theatre (acting) so I’m always thinking about channelling my inspiration. I am closely involved with production conceptualising and stage design/lighting with my parents. So my approach to handicraft and handloom is instinctive.
Do you think menswear needs to evolve, especially Indian menswear?
I think its more about interpreting the traditional Indian element in clothing. We believed that there was scope to do that in neckties with ikat, and we did that, we then extended that to Indian jackets. There is a need to understand what suits our aesthetic and functionality and integrate it with elements which reflect our heritage.
What can the patrons shop for from the latest collection?
We’ve begun our exploration one art form at a time, starting with the art of ikat from Telangana. Currently, our collection features neckties and Indian jackets in raw silk ikat. A double ikat collection is in the works as well. Next, we are working on a special handloom cotton range in shirts, jackets and kurtas in solids as well as hand block prints.
What is the theme, colour palette? What are the fabrics used?
The premise of Indigharana is to blend distinct elements of colour, patterns, crafts and design. Just like there are specific ragas set to different parts of the day, there are specific colours which reflect different moods and seasons, each colour has its own significance. We pay close attention to such details to give a multi-sensorial experience to our customers. In our current collection, we have raw silk ikat from Telangana. Various ethnic patterns and colours of this handloom craft have been used to strike a harmonious balance.
What would you say are the highlights of the current collection?
Every product of ours carries with it elements of timelessness, authenticity and rarity giving the opportunity to represent a connection with Indian-ness, whether at a business meeting, an event, a festive occasion, a wedding or at a social gathering.
Where are your artisans based out of? Have they returned to work as some of the lockdown restrictions have eased?
Our artisans are based out of Telangana and are slowly returning to work. And in our continued effort to work with artisans and crafts, we are also making masks to sustain the current challenging situation.
Rs 3,136 onwards for neckties.