Pastels and Pop’s karigars bring vision to life with S/S21 collection

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By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

New Delhi– Bengaluru-based handcrafted jutti brand Pastels and Pop celebrates the karigars that infuse life into every pair of juttis, not just by its sewing and embroidery — but by making us believe that happiness still lies ahead, even after these uncertain times.

The colours chosen for the collection imbibe a sense of happiness and positivity, meanwhile providing one with fabrics and accessories ranging from luscious silk, organic cotton, linen and organza.

Embellishments such as hand-cut sequins, Czech glass beads, pearls, colourful anchor threads, and beads are some of the elements added to the new launch. The designs range from exquisite to versatile, with different schools of embroidery such as zardosi, tassels, knot embroidery, striking floral patterns, organza and mirror embroidery.

‘Pastels and Pop’ Spring Summer collection “Promise of Tomorrow” is a melting pot inclusive of individual tastes, styles, and palette. Aakanksha and Aarti Chhabra Co-founder, Pastels and Pop, shares the inspiration and journey of creating “Promise of Tomorrow” while celebrating the Karigars — craftsmen who have put all their effort to bring vision to life.

Q: Promise of Tomorrow — what’s the inspiration behind the summer collection?

A: Our Spring Summer 2021 collection ‘Promise of Tomorrow’ draws inspiration from the beautiful Mother Nature. Much like with our brand name, this collection is a tribute to all things colourful.

We have carefully picked the colours in this collection to imbibe a sense of happiness and positivity as soon as you look at them!

Q: Why launch a collection when stores are shutting down?

A: Our Spring Summer collection ’21 had been primed for launch on April 20. But the unfortunate escalation of coronavirus cases and casualties meant that this had to take a backseat while our country tries to get back on its feet. However, we came to realise now that keeping the new collection under wraps meant keeping our team of gifted artisans from savouring the fruit of the labour and painstaking effort they have put in over the last few months to bring this collection to life. Hence, we decided to launch our SS ’21 in May, with the name ‘Promise of Tomorrow’. This is a dedication to our karigars, who by the magic of their hands have gone beyond just sewing and embroidery — they have shown us how, even in these bleak and depressing times, hope for a happier future can still be harboured. We hope this collection is received with love, and pray that we are able to share these with everyone soon, in a much more peaceful world.

Q: What are the fabrics that you have used? How many pieces are in this collection?

A: This season, we have predominantly featured striking floral patterns in our embroideries, while the fabrics and accessories employed range from the exquisite to the versatile. We have made a total of 6 styles using a varied range of fabrics such as luscious silks, organic cottons, linen and organza.

Q: What is so unique about your prints? Are these all-digital prints?

A: We do not work on prints so much, our forte is hand-embroidery. We work with some of the best karigars from across the country who are highly skilled in their craft and weave their magic on shoes.

Our designs are unique because you can find great examples of different schools of hand embroidery like zardosi, tassels, knot embroidery, organza and mirror embroidery in our juttis. Our design team also works with a vast range of embellishments such as hand-cut sequins, zardosi, Czech glass beads, mirrors, pearls, colourful anchor threads and colourful beads to create beautiful juttis.

Q: Do you think fashion is moving towards a more season-less approach?

A: I personally don’t follow the seasonal trends. I focus on the styles of clothes I love instead of feeling pressured to update my wardrobe with the latest fashion. And I see this change in many people around me which I think is fantastic as it saves money, time and is more environment friendly. Another big plus is that one gets to wear something one loves and is comfortable in. At Pastels & Pop, we have in fact never followed seasonal colour schemes. We make juttis that are timeless, beautiful, and are loved by customers all year round.

Q: What is your take on responsible fashion?

A: It is the need of the hour. We have one beautiful planet and we need to take care of it. We need to use its resources with care. Any small change can ultimately make a big impact. At Pastels and Pop, we’ve reused our leftover fabric and faux leather trimmings to make potli bags, hair bands, rakhis and cute brooches. We send these out as ‘Free gifts’ on special months like Rakshabandhan, Diwali, New Year’s and Valentines. For example, for Valentines we sent out a free heart brooch with every order. This brooch was made out of leftover fabrics and then finished with hand stitched beads. During Diwali, we sent out free printed coin pouches from our left-over fabrics from the spring summer collection and our customers have really loved and appreciated all our recycled gifts! Personally I have also made conscious changes to my wardrobe. Quality wins over quantity. I choose classic timeless pieces over cheap and disposable ones, whenever I can.

We should all try to invest in handmade pieces over machine manufactured. This provides livelihood to so many and also keeps art and craft alive.

All of us in the industry need to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for our employees and provide them a fair wage with benefits.

Q: What is the impact of the pandemic on the brand and the craftsmen working?

A: There has been a major impact. We had big plans for 2021 for two really exciting announcements but they have been on hold for some time now due to the current situation. Our shipments to customers have been delayed because to us, the safety of our team is of utmost priority and so our office was shut down for almost a month.

We decided to not have any form of gathering in the office from mid-April 2021 and everyone has been working from home, including the designers and the karigars, which has certainly slowed things down and pushed some plans further. (IANS)

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