Taking Indian weaves abroad

Amrita Prasad
Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Purvi Doshi, who will be displaying her khadi collection titled ‘Co-Existence’ at New York Fashion Week today, is all for sustainable, cruelty-free and slow fashion

For Purvi Doshi, her fashion label is a tribute to India’s ‘handcrafted’ traditions. She believes in slow fashion and follows responsible, eco-friendly and cruelty-free process while designing and creating her collections. A regular feature at many editions of Lakme Fashion Week and international fashion weeks at Dhaka, Bangladesh and other well-known shows in India and abroad, Doshi will be displaying her khadi collection titled ‘Co-Existence’ at New York Fashion Week today. Embroideries are an intrinsic part of Doshi’s every garment that bring not just colour but also a sense of beauty to the clothes. 

Here’s chatting up the designer, who has created her collection ‘Co-Existence’ to show love and care for other living beings.  

What is ‘Co-Existence’ all about? 
Co-Existence showcases the many species of animals and birds that are either extinct or on the verge of extinction. Motifs depicting the playful panda, the elegantly majestic lions or the graceful birds have been used in this earthly collection. The ensembles are in off-white with a mix of Indian and contemporary Western wear which would be eye-catching for women of today. 
Do you ensure that your collections/ designs are both sustainable and cruelty-free at every stage of production?
The most important aspect of my collections is sustainability and cruelty-free so that is obviously taken care of at every level of production. For the fabric, the first stage of the production, I have used khadi, which is completely handmade and natural in all aspects including the colours which are organic and plant based.
Tell us about your choice of fabrics to give shape to your ideas?
Khadi is an indigenous fabric of India made popular by Mahatma Gandhi during the Freedom Struggle. It is also a versatile fabric and can be moulded into clothing of different types, from traditional Indian to Western wear. We bring fashion in khadi by incorporating traditional village arts and crafts like Aari and mirror and Parsi embroidery. There is no silk used in this collection. That said,  we use only ahimsa or peace silk which is cruelty free.
You’ve given special attention to embroideries. Tell us about the different types of embroideries you’ve used in your collection and why according to you they are so significant?
India is a country rich in traditional arts and crafts, however, many of them are either minimal or on the verge of oblivion due to lack of opportunities for the crafts people. The main focus of the label is reviving and sustaining the crafts, traditions and cultural heritage of India, which is still alive in remote villages. 
Your collection is inspired from both animal kingdom and art. How have you reflected them in your designs?
As they say ‘with great strength comes great responsibility’ and now is the time to show responsibility and behave like the head of the animal kingdom. It is time to ‘co-exist’, not just for all the other animals but also for the future of humanity. 

How can designers make traditional embroidery in garments appealing to youngsters and fashionistas?
It is very important for the youth and fashionistas to understand and connect to Indian embroideries and fabrics. My collection ‘Co-Existence’ is a beautiful collaboration between Indian embroideries and contemporary silhouettes which makes it more appealing to modern fashionistas.
Why is there is a need for sustainable and cruelty-free fashion?
Being fashionable does not mean we compromise on the lives of others, we must learn to co-exist. I believe anything that is cruel cannot be fashionable. It is very important for everyone to understand the adverse effects of fast fashion on environment, the animal kingdom as well as humans. 
How can designers empower Indian weavers?
India has very rich handicrafts and embroideries that a designer can offer to the world by incorporating them in their designs. By doing so, they can do their bit to uplift the lifestyles of our tremendously talented weavers and artisans, and subsequently empower them.

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