New Delhi– Rahul Mishra put India and its craftsmen in the spotlight with his showcase at Paris Haute Couture and pret fashion weeks. In a bid to to usher ‘responsive fashion’ the designer revisits his 2006 graduation collection — Ray of Light — with handlooms from Kerala, in a new social initiative with ‘Save The Loom’.
Mishra’s graduation project for his Masters at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad was on Kerala handloom. He spent six months researching, and working with traditional weavers, including Master Weaver P Gopinathan (who won the Padma Shri in 2007) in Balarampuram, near Thiruvananthapuram.
The outcome, a ten piece reversible collection that went on to be showcased as his debut work at Lakme Fashion Week in 2006, winning him accolades and a scholarship to do Masters in Milan. “I was born in a village near Kanpur, but as a designer I can proudly say Kerala is my birthplace. It is here where I established and found my connect to the rich handloom tradition of India,” maintains Rahul at all his interactions.
The project ‘A Ray of Light’ outlined various ways the handloom sector can support the state’s growth . “This project has been a sincere effort towards creating awareness and bringing the Kerala handicraft on the
centrestage of global scenario to employ and empower weavers of rural Kerala. The idea is to enhance the experience of tourists through appropriate and comfortable clothing. Clothing plays a big role in cultural exchange. It will help in strengthening cultural identity of Kerala. Subsequently, a strong tourism industry will uplift overall economy of the state,” wrote Rahul in his preface to the collection.
‘Save The Loom’ has been working to bring Rahul’s graduation project to life, and create an ecosystem where designers can leverage their work with handloom clusters and extend development of textiles to benefit the craftsmen on a long term and continuous basis. Designers move away from a particular craft after a collection or two, but the weaver community can reap its benefit for a longer period if there is a platform to exchange and bring out regular artisanal lines.
With this idea in mind, ‘Save The Loom’ and Rahul Mishra come together to bring a positive ray of light with a 2021 collection releasing this Onam. The drop with 11 designs, will be initially made on custom order. ‘Save The Loom’ will work with weavers in Kerala to develop the textiles and Rahul Mishra will design and produce the collections that will be retailed through ‘Save The Loom’ and partner channels.
“Be it my first collection with Kerala handloom in 2006 or this current work, I have tried not to tamper the purity of the handloom. The fabric itself creates the full texture, beauty and tailoring of the garment.”
With design interventions from Rahul Mishra, ‘Save The Loom’ will work with artisans in Kerala to develop textiles with newer possibilities and look at long-term solutions to uphold traditional skillsets, ensure better livelihood and working spaces. The program encompasses also training women in the community to produce the garments from master prototypes developed by Mishra. ‘Save The Loom’ will also manage logistics of this ‘responsible fashion’ venture. (IANS)