As the world surrendered to a global pandemic, our borderless lives were replaced with the need to look inwards. However while the world recuperates – and rightly so – the extraordinary COVID-19 situation has forced us to take a simple step back to our roots. Bringing local entrepreneurs and indigenous-influenced industries into the spotlight, the recent push for Indian brands has been a blessing in disguise. Not only has it helped replenish the national economy but also championed its creativity and sustainability. Indian designers across the spectrum have begun championing native styles through their respective mediums. Despite being a way of perpetuating the country’s rich culture, the new campaign has upheld the livelihood of the industry’s real backbone – countless weavers, craftspeople and tailors that bring the Indian ideal into reality.
Continuing our push to be #VocalForLocal, Le Mill is paying ode to remarkable designers that are promoting Indian sensibilities through mediums of fashion, architecture, or design.
Founded by ceramic artists Elodie Alexandre and Reyaz Badaruddin, Atelier Lalmitti aims to push the consumers choice towards buying local hand-made products. The artists launched their brainchild from a makeshift studio and kiln built behind their home, tucked away in a small Himalayan village. Their roots are echoed through their simple red earthenware clay pottery that is adorned in distinctive hand-painted patterns.
The brand is a stalwart for sustainability and locally-produced goods. In an exclusive interview with Le Mill, Badaruddin states, “Buying handmade products, as a consumer, has become a real statement – not only these products are more ethical but the energy of the object has integrity. A mass-produced plastic bowl made by exploited workers in a factory will carry a very different energy from a bowl made by hand on the wheel, with local clay, by craftspeople who enjoyed the process.”
The two Delhi-based brands, Smokewear and Lovebirds, have joined forces to amalgamate their respective streetwear and minimalist styles in this latest collection. The gender-fluid collection is a product of recycled scrap material and upcycled handloom fabrics – serving as a nod to new social and environmental campaigns. Delivering pieces of high functionality and comfort in spades, Smoke Wear x Lovebirds is pushing for eco-conscious fashion. In doing so, they are also contributing to the creation of local brands providing sustainable alternatives to the Indian consumer base. With this, the excuses for not choosing local are running low.
Starting off in 2013 as an online store selling vintage antiques and furniture, Phantom Hands has expanded into a large-scale Artisan Collective representing mid-century modern and contemporary style. Their design philosophy is yet another reminder for the beauty of going local – the process of paying homage to Indian Modernism has helped create and ecosystem for local artisans across the country.
Their first collection – Project Chandigarh – boasted hand-made pieces, using materials and techniques hailing from 1950s India. Certain pieces of furniture use natural rattan cane that was hand-crafted by highly skilled weavers. Dedicated to the cause of focusing on Indian design, the creators and designers of Phantom Hands have successfully incorporated traditional renditions of the craft into the world of modernism.
Ranjit Ahuja’s collection for the home is the perfect marriage of present-day tastes that are rooted in the rich history of Indian design. With a base of exclusive linens and the touch of intricate designs and local artisanal skills, Ahuja’s collection boasts exquisite hand-embellished table cloths, napkins, bed covers and cushions. The brand caters to an audience of quality and eco-consciousness, as the careful production of fine hand-made embroideries symbolises a high standard of Indian artistry. The use of age-old techniques to compliment the modern spirit exude tasteful, yet sensible luxury.
The creation of three Andrabi brothers – Mubashir, Muzakir, and Muzaffar – from Kashmir, Andraab dedicates itself to reviving fine, hand-woven Pashmina. Their design philosophy personifies luxury of the highest order, combining hand-made Pashmina with the rarest styles of embroidery. Andraab’s pieces rework 19th and 20th century motifs into contemporary works and colour palettes – yet another ode to the old within the new.
Today, Andraab works with over 150 craftspeople from Kashmir, exclusively trained in the art of spinning the delicate Kashmiri yarn for Pashmina. Their products bring back the lost treasures of Indian artistry, from the Palampur-style hand-painted textiles from the 17th century to 600-year old jama paisley designs re-edited in a modernist manner.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to support these wonderful Indian brands and their message to embrace the richness of our roots. We at Le Mill thank you for being #VocalForLocal! Shop the collections here.