When top designers shared the stage with local artisans

When top designers shared the stage with local artisans

By Taru Bhatia | | 5 August, 2017
top designers, local artisans, The Wishlist, Taj Mahal hotel, Made in India, Rohit Bal, Urvashi Kaur, Kora by Anjali Kalia, S.M. Jewellers, fashion, exhibition
(L) Collection by Gopi Vaid and Rohit Bal (M-R) .
To understand Indian culture, it is crucial to carefully look at the great artisanal tradition that has powered most of Indian arts and craft over the last many centuries. The Wishlist, a lifestyle exhibition, is founded on the same motto. With this show, the organisers aim to discover and showcase unique talent from the fields of lifestyle and fashion across India. But the focus is on rediscovering and highlighting the hidden artisanal treasures of this country. And so leading designers here are sharing the platform with weavers, embroiderers and craftspeople of all stripes.

The Wishlist, whose chapter concluded a few days ago, featured a special selection of talented designers and artisans with an elaborate show at Delhi’s Taj Mahal hotel. The exhibition provided a unique opportunity to local craftspeople willing to learn from established designers, and vice versa.

Sadhana Mehta, Founder, The Wishlist, has meticulously curated the show to bring together the best talent from across the country. This edition was dedicated to the festival season and the pre-festival shopping extravaganza. The theme, once again, was “Made in India”, since the show was all about highlighting Indian designs and crafts.

Collection by S.M. Jewellers.

Previously, there have been five successful seasons of the event. Sadhana Mehta said, “My various travels across India for this season saw special crafts, woven magic and design details from different regions. We now brought together an exclusive curation of made in India Western and Indian clothing along with contemporary and traditional accessories. All these elements under one roof were to make sure you are ready for the upcoming festive season.”

The Wishlist, in this sixth edition, had a sparkling line up. Some of the best brands in the industry participated, namely, Balance by Rohit Bal, Urvashi Kaur, Kora by Anjali Kalia, S.M. Jewellers offering exclusive fine jewellery, Aavaran with its echoes of rural India, Weaver Magic from Varanasi, and Chanderi block prints as well as some upcoming handloom brands like Capra from Jaipur. The exhibit was a mix of handloom apparel, saris, stationary, jewellery and an interesting range of special products for the festivals of Rakhi and Teej.

Guardian 20 spoke to Sadhana Mehta about the idea of bring together big designers and local craftspeople. “It’s not only a platform for big fashion designers but also for the craftsmen who make the designers as big as they are. We are constantly searching and collaborating with designers who work directly with local artisans, creating jobs and sustainable incomes at the grassroots level. Honouring the traditional methods as well as promoting innovation. At the same time we are trying to get the weavers and artisans the spotlight they deserve,” she said.

The lifestyle exhibition’s main purpose is to promote Indian designs and revive the handcraft and handloom tradition. The Wishlist encourages designers from varied fields:  be it textiles or home accessories or even jewellery design. Bringing them all under one umbrella and helping to creative a self-sustaining ecosystem.

When Guardian 20 asked Mehta about what was unique and innovative this season, she said, “This season is all about the festivities and about shopping. This unique platform has been curated for true admirers of Indian craftsmanship and talent in the realm of fashion and design. It is here to celebrate all that is fresh and new. Besides our favourite brands, we have also introduced new pioneers in fashion, Capra for instance from Jaipur, bringing their innovative take on Chanderi saris as well as our latest discovery, Salauddin Ansari from a village near Banaras, who will be showcasing lovely jamdani banarasi fabrics seldom seen. Also, we have curated handmade rakhis and jewellery for the upcoming festivals.”

Collection by Urvashi Kaur.

Mehta further added, “Rather than calling it a grand exhibition, I would call this my grand dream! Travelling to various parts of this beautiful country and getting inspired by the rich culture, the arts and craft of handmade products has always been my passion as well as the driving force behind The Wishlist. During my various travels to Kutchh, Maharashtra, Varanasi and South India, I met many weavers, artisans and craftsmen, and I realised how much hard work and talent goes into making that one beautiful garment. I saw how these supremely talented people rarely get acknowledged. It was then that I felt the need to give them a platform. There are many known designers who also support this cause and that is how I decided to collaborate with them. The Wishlist is one big creative umbrella and we aim at bringing together all these beautiful talented people under it.”

The exhibit captured modern folklore of the fanciful weaver along with the many moods of womanhood, woven into the shimmering intricacy of long strip of unstitched cloth. Styles showcased at The Wishlist also drew inspiration from the future, with minimalist and modern designs setting the tone.

 

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