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“I've always been interested in the traditional art forms," said Graham Hollick...

Written by Sushmita Das |
April 14, 2009 5:16:38 am

London-based creative director Graham Hollick gives “a new vision” to the craftsmanship of women artisans of SEWA; a premium collection will be launched by the year-end at Ahmedabad,Delhi and Mumbai

“I’VE always been interested in the traditional art forms,” said Graham Hollick,a London-based fashion and product designer,whose first visit to Ahmedabad has resulted into a project that would be an amalgam of the contemporary and the traditional craft. Hollick was in Ahmedabad recently,working with the artisans of SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre (stfc) on this project of developing a premium collection of apparels and accessories featuring the traditional embroideries of Gujarat. The collection would be launched in a fashion show in Ahmedabad some time in December wherein the women artisans will walk the ramp along with the models.

Trained as a fashion and textile designer,Hollick started his career with the world expert in fashion forecast Li Edelkoort in Paris. Today,he enjoys an impressive client list including Swarovski,The Conran Shop,Laura Ashley and Nicole Farhi. An expert in catalogue and set designing,he is also a visiting faculty at the Royal College of Art (London). Whichever aspect of creativity it is,Hollick believes that what’s important is “a curious eye and the way of looking at things.” Probably,that signifies his appreciation for the craftsmanship of the rural womenfolk here.

Having worked in diverse fields like art direction,design and trend prediction,Hollick — who was here on the invitation of Alliance Francaise de Ahmedabad — with his eclectic experience extending over two decades,has tried to “give a fresh look and a new vision” to their crafts.

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“Women in each region are specialized in a particular type of hand embroidery. I didn’t come with a pre-conceived idea. I learnt about the embroideries here and the expertise of these artisans,” he said. Being developed under SEWA’s Hansiba brand (of apparels and accessories),the collection would comprise clothes,accessories and home furnishings using basically,kalamkari,blockprinting and cotton fabrics.

“The highlights would be embroideries like the open chain stitch,sadu bharat,tanka work and patch work. The collection would have such interesting pieces like basketball cap with mirror work or even a belt or a laptop bag,” informed Mona Dave,CEO of the stfc.

The larger objective is to promote the artisans’ skill and their craft as wearable art.

Reema Nanavaty,the chair at the Centre,is hopeful that with the kind of maturity and credibility Graham has,this project would help create an identity for the artisans and their expertise in the mainstream market. “At the same time,we’re not craving for market,we want people to respect the skill,” Dave said. The project would benefit around thousand women working with SEWA.

Elaborating on the project,she said that Hollick has incorporated a lot of texturisation apart from suggesting ideas that would click with the buyers in Europe. Said hollick,”Although the project is at its initial stage,but we hope to make the launch interesting. It wouldn’t just be like any regular fashion show,but would see some theatrical practices,too.”

Apart from Ahmedabad,it will travel to Mumbai and Delhi. Dave said that Hollick has already taken along some of the product range for photoshoot in Europe. Hollick had a lecture presentation at the House of MG later last week.

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