Style & Textile

Anjali Jhangiani
Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Many designers mostly work with surface ornamentation, which is embroidery. However, of late, more and more designers are working with the development of woven textiles for garments

Designer duo David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore, who run the label Abraham & Thakore, will be delivering a talk at this year’s Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan and explain how textiles form strong links between cultures

In the fashion industry for two-and-a-half decades now, the label Abraham & Thakore is synonymous with elegance and class. Right from their first collection, to the most recent one, there have been many themes, trends and styles that have inspired designer duo David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore, but there has been one undercurrent through it all —  a certain balance of tradition and modernity in their designs.

“We believe that tradition must always evolve. It can never be static or else it becomes irrelevant. Modernity thus can become one more process in the development of a tradition,” says David.

The duo is involved in a government-designer partnership project aimed at promoting handloom. Sharing more about it, Rakesh says, “We are working with handloom clusters in Vijayawada. Our work with the handloom sector involves fabric development and new designs that we try to integrate with the available skill sets and traditional design vocabulary which we can use in our commercial fashion collections.”

They will be speaking at the eighth edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival, an initiative of the India Bhutan Foundation, in association with India’s leading literary agency, Siyahi. The festival will be held in Thimphu, Bhutan, from August 25-27. With fashion as one of the key themes for this year’s edition of the festival, the aim is to bring together the shared culture of Indian and Bhutan and curate collections to show their diverse textile traditions in modern fashion. How will the designer-duo use this platform? “We see this as an important opportunity to show how textiles form strong links between cultures. Fashion is a language that speaks to people around the world and is a marker of social change and identity. We are showing a collection made from Rajasthan’s khadi fabrics, woven and spun using the most traditional and ancient of manufacturing skills but made contemporary and relevant through fashion,” says David.

The designers are concerned about the environment, and they have been producing environment-friendly products. When we asked them if they think the want to go eco-friendly has caught on among Indian designers and whether they too are doing their bit, or is there still a long way to go, David answers, “We are all very conscious of environmental degradation. Most Indian designers are concerned. There is a fair amount of work being done with eco-friendly processes but much more needs to be done.”

The duo is known for their innovative styles of developing textiles, and they have created some fantastic weaves. But very few designers actually take up the task of developing new textiles and prefer taking the easy way out. “Many designers mostly work with surface ornamentation, which is embroidery. However, of late, more and more designers are working with the development of woven textiles for garments,” says Rakesh.

About the textile they are exploring for their latest collection, he shares, “We are working with ikat, both single and double. We are also developing some new handloom structures in silk, and silk and cotton blends. We are also developing new designs with jamdani weavers in West Bengal.”

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