If there’s one thing we were set on when we started the Ash and Eden brand, it was that each piece will have a soul and a story to tell. Today, we sit down with our designer Priyankur Sengupta to find out what went behind creating the Spring ’21 collection.
Priyankur at work
What’s the inspiration behind this collection?
Handlooms were the name of the game in our country. Unfortunately, we hardly see hand woven fabric in the collections of mainstream fashion e-tailers. With this collection, we want to bring handlooms and their highly skilled weavers to the forefront and do our bit towards globalising this art.
Being a spring capsule, we went for colours that symbolise the season. The motifs are those inspired by the local flora and fauna of Bengal. Things like the Trishul (Goddess Durga’s weapon), flowers and textures of bamboo baskets are some of the elements you’ll notice in these fabrics.
You mentioned wanting to highlight weavers, can you tell us about them?
Sure, so all the fabric in this collection comes from the Shantipur weaver cluster in West Bengal. The cluster has been around for over 600 years and most of the weavers here come from families that have practiced the trade for generations.
The cluster is famous for its Jamdani work. Each motif is woven by hand, you can imagine how time and labour intensive that is. What we’d love is for people to admire these fabrics in all their imperfections, that’s the beauty of handloom isn’t it?
How did you pick this cluster?
During the early stages of the pandemic, I ran a million masks challenge. Here, we shot at distributing a million masks to the less privileged. I’m from Calcutta and Shantipur is 100 kilometres away so these were the weavers I turned to then.
The pandemic was hard for us all, but it was especially hard on these weavers. With orders drying up, even feeding their families was becoming very difficult. This is when we decided at Ash and Eden that we’d use fabric from this cluster for our next collection. I can’t tell you how great it is that these plans have come to fruition.
Anything you’d like to leave us with?
I’d like to shout out to our team in Delhi who’ve transformed these lovely handlooms into the modern silhouettes you see today.