June can be harsh and mean, particularly in north India. Dressing up in this heat translates into breezy cotton clothes sans any embellishments. No surprise that Deepika Govind, designer and founder of Neel Sutra (a concept store housed in Gurgaon that promotes hand-woven traditions and fashion), decided to curate a show this month titled “Cotton Celebre” that celebrates Indian cotton textiles and craftsmanship.
For Jaipur-based designer Chinar Farooqui, who launched her label, Injiri, in 2009, this showcase is a perfect fit. A lover of Indian textiles, Farooqui is a graduate in textile design from the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad and is not into seasonal trends. Instead, she makes garments that speak the story of fabrics they are made of. Incidentally, she and designer Aneeth Arora jointly started a label called Gaba straight out of NID. While Arora later branched off with Pero, Farooqui set up Injiri. “I always had a desire to use traditional textiles for contemporary clothing. And I was most drawn by regional clothing styles, even when I was a child and travelling in the interiors of Rajasthan which is where I belonged,” says the designer.
At the Cotton Celebre showcase, Farooqui is showing her latest Asmaani collection. Also a part of the exhibition are Aish by Nupur Goenka, Amrich by Richard Pandav and Amit Vijaya, Indiegene by Ruchi Tripathi and Jaya Bhatt along with Govind’s signature “Ekru” collection and jewellery by Eina Ahluwalia and Ikroop Dhillon. Farooqui says her collection is inspired by the blue walls in the rural architecture of Rajasthan. The cool and wispy collection incorporates hand block-printed textiles from Jaipur, made in collaboration with craftspeople who specialise in Mughal-style block printing and Jamdani textiles from West Bengal.
As a student at NID, Farooqui says she was intrigued by garments, which are in the collection of Calico Museum of Textiles at Ahmedabad. “I also made several visits to study rooms at Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Birmingham Museum, which have a huge collection of European work clothes. I studied traditional clothing and built my world around that. I travelled a lot in Kutch, Rajasthan and Ladakh where I spent days studying what people wore. My passion lies in the way garments are stitched and I love weaving,” says the designer.
It is her classic approach to design and the importance she gives to process and technique that has made Injiri a successful brand overseas. The label is present in 300 stores across the world including Merci in Paris, ABC Carpet & Home in New York and Journal Standard in Japan. “I think there is great awareness for natural and organic clothing. But it is always a small group of people who admire the understated aesthetics,” says Farooqui, who adds that she does not design keeping markets in mind. Perhaps, that’s why she has kept away from fashion weeks.
“I was invited to showcase at the sustainable fashion day event on the textile day at Lakme Fashion Week last year and that was the first time I showed my work. I consider myself a textile and clothing person since my work revolves around the process more than anything,” says the designer who wants to explore weaving technique in Gujarat using organic cotton and is working on an Injiri Home line for 2017.
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