RECLAIM THE JOY OF DRESSING UP with INJIRI, our new artisanal and sustainable brand from India
By Tsitaliya Mircheva
Last week, By Adushka received a new order of 20 sustainable, handwoven garments from India. Before they were even added to the online boutique, most of them were sold during our two days trunk show in Basel. We couldn’t believe the interest that these unique fabric garments received by our customers. Their response gave us so much hope that women in the West are still able to recognise and feel authentically designed clothing, rare handwoven fabrics and rich cultural heritage.
Craft as a way of life
INJIRI is a clothing and home textiles brand founded by Chinar Farooqui, with a studio based in Jaipur, Rajasthan. This is the region where the designer grew up as a little girl, and where her mother took her to visit hand block printers, whose work she admired. Farooqui studied and graduated from the National Institute of Design in India. During her studies she was sent to observe and document textile techniques in Ladakh, a high- altitude region north of the great Himalayan mountain ranges. Visiting this region, she was struck by the way local people were involved with weaving. In Ladakh, this craft was not seen as an occupation. It was done within the families and the community, as well as in monasteries and religious spaces, and it had become a way of life for people. â€œThe experience of understanding how important a role textiles played in the lives of people, changed the way I looked at them”, says Farooqui in a recent interview for SELVEDGE, Issue 98.
From that moment on, Farooqui started pursuing the unconventional path of designing handloom garments for modern women. When people hear about INJIRI they expect to see sarees, but instead Farooqui chose to make classic designs for contemporary women with a cosmopolitan mindset.
A creative process, where the experience is a lot more important than the end product.
The biggest magic of INJIRI, even if you don’t know the history of the brand, is that it brings you the unmistakable feeling of unique quality. The pieces are crafted with a lot of attention, a story told through every stitch, long hours of work and special skills, all of which are thoughtfully weaved into one single piece. The fabric is like no other: a touch of rustic but elegant and light, and it makes all the difference with its shape, flow and feel. When you compare it to mass production you start to realise this is the real deal that honours authentic female beauty.
Obviously the work around one collection takes months and sometimes years to develop. You wonder how Farooqui settled for such a slow process of making fashion. In her interview for SELVEDGE, she shares that during her training in fine arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, together with her colleagues, she spent four years working on form and colour. Understanding the quality of drawings and working with absolute freedom taught her that the end product is never as important as the experience and joy of the process. That helped Farooqui to develop the discipline, the strength and the patience during her extensive research and interest in textile formats from all over India, to finally combine together several specific techniques for the making of her collections.
Unlike mass produced fabric, handloom doesn’t happen overnight, which also explains why INJIRI doesn’t follow seasonal fashion
The latest collection, which By Adushka brought to Switzerland, is centered around the colour indigo and has been developed in collaboration with master weaver Shamji Bhai, voted as people’s favourite artisan exhibitor at the 2020 Selvedge World Fair. This collection features mainly white and indigo blue dresses, wide leg pants and blouses, using mainly natural dyes.
Natural tie-dying is now having a renaissance moment as a homebound activity as people stay in. This art form has been revived by Christian Dior’s spring 2020 collection, “Quarantine Fashion”, and has put the trend into overdrive, propelling it into the mainstream. The resurgence also seems reminiscent of the ‘60s and ‘70s awakening, when this textile art became a symbol of hope, love and peace. It was a time when the world was fraught by war and political madness; a time we can draw a lot of parallels to today.
And back to INJIRI: for her latest Indigo collection, Farooqui has involved the hand stitching Rabari tribal people, a nomadic group of cattle herders and shepherds. They have pieced together textiles made through different craft techniques from several regions across India.
“Continuity is important to us”, says Farooqui for SELVEDGE, “Unless we support these artisans repeatedly, we won’t be able to build deep connections or help their craft survive.”
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