Con­tem­po­ris­ing In­di­ann Tex­tiles

In a tête-à-tête, Say­oni Bhaduri with Man­deep Nagi, de­sign direc­tor of Shades of In­dia, speaks about her com­pany, de­sign phi­los­o­phy and the growth of In­dian tex­tiles.

Apparel - - Contents April 2017 -

In con­ver­sa­tion with Man­deepep Nagi, De­sign Direc­tor of Shades of In­dia

It’s been a lit­tle over 20 years since Shades of In­dia set foot in the fash­ion and tex­tile space. The brand which is the brain­child of Man­deep Nagi and David Housego has a dis­tinct vi­sion for In­dian tex­tiles which com­bines con­tem­po­rary de­signs with the in­spir­ing work­man­ship of tra­di­tional craft. Tex­tured fab­rics, the unique use of colours and in­no­va­tive treat­ments of sur­faces, are some of the many rea­sons the brand has made a mark for it­self, both in In­dia and abroad.

This unique vi­sion has won Shades of In­dia mul­ti­tudes of awards in­clud­ing the best prod­uct awards at shows in Paris and New York. Nagi her­self is a three-time win­ner of the Elle Decor De­sign Award in In­dia for fab­ric. Apart from their easy-to-wear yet con­tem­po­rary cloth­ing line, Nagi and her team in­tro­duce an ex­ten­sive home col­lec­tion twice a year which is de­signed and ex­e­cuted in-house. In 2012, they opened the door to their first stand-alone re­tail store in New Delhi; it has be­come a go-to shop­ping des­ti­na­tion for the city. Their prod­uct ranges are also avail­able over 20 out­lets in In­dia in­clud­ing through Good Earth stores and the e-com­merce site, Jay­pore.

Shades of In­dia has also been a medium of so­cial change. At the Lakme Fash­ion Week Sum­mer/Re­sort 2017, the brand had young girls from Mum­bai’s red light ar­eas as mod­els to show­case their ap­parel range. Prior to that, the brand hit the lime­light when they had Kamla, a 28-year-old who earned a liv­ing as a do­mes­tic help, as a model for their ap­parel. Al­ways look­ing

to push the en­ve­lope it has been an en­rich­ing for Nagi as she shares a glimpse into her journey with Shades of In­dia.

WHAT IS THE STORY OF INCEPTION OF SHADES OF IN­DIA?

Shades of In­dia be­gan more than two decades ago. I, for­tu­nately, in­her­ited my mother’s love for tex­tiles and with this nat­u­ral bent to­wards fab­rics; I stud­ied tex­tiles at col­lege, and in par­tic­u­lar, fash­ion. But the real turn­ing point for me came when I de­signed home col­lec­tions for Shades of In­dia. We were then tak­ing part in Maison et Objet – the life­style, dec­o­ra­tion and de­sign show in Paris. I faced an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence to which I had to bring a style that was con­tem­po­rary but also drew on In­dian crafts and tech­niques at the same time.

HOW WOULD YOU DE­SCRIBE YOUR DE­SIGN PHI­LOS­O­PHY?

Our de­sign phi­los­o­phy leans to­wards re­defin­ing In­dian aes­thet­ics and is an eclec­tic fu­sion of cul­tures, fab­ric, colours and tech­niques.

WHAT IS THE USP OF SHADES OF IN­DIA?

Shades of In­dia em­pha­sises on the tex­tur­ing of fab­rics, the co­or­di­na­tion and con­trast­ing of colours, and the in­ven­tive and un­ex­pected use of sur­face treat­ment.

WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR RAW MA­TE­RI­ALS FROM? AND WHAT ARE THE PARTICULARS YOU KEEP IN MIND FOR SUCH PUR­CHASES?

Shades of In­dia sources all its fab­rics from var­i­ous re­gions in In­dia to make au­then­tic pieces for its na­tional as well as in­ter­na­tional clien­telé. For

THE REAL TURN­ING POINT FOR ME CAME WHEN I DE­SIGNED HOME COL­LEC­TIONS FOR SHADES OF IN­DIA. WE WERE THEN TAK­ING PART IN MAISON ET OBJET – THE LIFE­STYLE, DEC­O­RA­TION AND DE­SIGN SHOW IN PARIS.

THE DE­SIGN­ERS AND RE­TAIL­ERS IN THE COUN­TRY HAVE PLAYED A GREAT ROLE IN RE­VIV­ING AGE OLD TECH­NIQUES FROM DIF­FER­ENT RE­GIONS IN THE COUN­TRY WHICH HAS BENEFITTED THE TEX­TILE IN­DUS­TRY LARGELY.

in­stance, we source cot­ton from the south, silk from Bengaluru, tus­sar silk from Bha­galpur, etc. We are al­ways look­ing for new sources like hand weaves from Ben­gal or fine wool from Ladakh.

It is im­por­tant that any­thing with the Shades of In­dia tag to it goes through strin­gent qual­ity checks and for this we have a well-or­gan­ised work­force that in­spects every ma­te­rial that passes through.

IN THE LAST TWO DECADES, HOW HAVE TRA­DI­TIONAL IN­DIAN TEX­TILES EVOLVED? WHAT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE TO HELP?

In­dia was al­ways known and sought af­ter for its raw ma­te­ri­als like cot­ton, silk, wool fi­bres, nat­u­ral dyes and ex­quis­ite crafts­man­ship. In­ter­est­ingly, the growth of the fash­ion in­sti­tutes and the cour­ses on fash­ion tex­tiles, have added to the growth and evolve­ment of the tex­tile in­dus­try and it has been thriv­ing and wait­ing to get big­ger. Also, the de­sign­ers and re­tail­ers in the coun­try have played a great role in re­viv­ing age old tech­niques from dif­fer­ent re­gions in the coun­try which has benefitted the tex­tile in­dus­try largely.

Hav­ing said that, In­dian tex­tiles still need an or­gan­ised mar­ket and it’s the weav­ing and fin­ish­ing that needs to be re­in­forced.

PLEASE THROW LIGHT ON YOUR DIS­TRI­BU­TION STRAT­EGY, IN IN­DIA AND ABROAD

Our ma­jor mar­kets in In­dia are the me­trop­o­lis. We want to ex­pand into three or four more. We are also look­ing at strength­en­ing our on­line pres­ence. Abroad, our ma­jor mar­ket is the US where we mainly pin our hopes on ‘ Neem’ by Shades of In­dia. But we also have sub­stan­tial pri­vate la­bel work in the US – much of it in gar­ments.

WHERE DO YOU SEE SHADES OF IN­DIA IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

We have grown at about 30 per cent a year over the last two years. How­ever, the com­ing years are very dif­fi­cult to pre­dict with so much un­cer­tainty

both here and in ma­jor mar­kets abroad like the US and Europe. But we are very hope­ful that our new brand in the US, ‘ Neem’, will do very well.

WHAT WILL BE DRIV­ING FAC­TORS FOR THE GROWTH OF SHADES OF IN­DIA?

The In­dian fash­ion in­dus­try has changed a lot and it is con­stantly evolv­ing. The big­gest change has been the ar­rival of western style depart­ment stores with fast fash­ion clothes. But para­dox­i­cally that has also given value to ap­parel that draws on In­dian tra­di­tions but are styled in a con­tem­po­rary way. Shades of In­dia has ben­e­fited from this enor­mously and be­lieves will con­tinue to do so. We have a large au­di­ence which tells us, “we only wear Shades of In­dia”. Of course, that is an ex­ag­ger­a­tion. But it is true that many women— both young and at the height of their ca­reers— value some­thing that is unique, has a flavour of In­dia and is beau­ti­fully de­tailed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.