FAIR TRADE ARTISAN PROJECTS, INDIA
Nagnata upcycled artisanal collections translate the concept of craft into a contemporary context. The artisanal line launched with a collection of yoga mat bags handcrafted using vintage embroidered textiles, upcycled from the dresses of traditional tribal women. The textiles were sourced from the rural communities of northern and western India and then restored by a family run artisan collective in The Pink City, Jaipur. The materials were then repurposed into Nagnata’s yoga mat bags and bespoke fashion styles.
The Nagnata designers later travelled to the Kutch region of Gujarat in Western India, to source the textiles directly from the remote communities and meet with the tribes people from which the traditional materials originated.
The first artisanal pieces from the brand featured the intricate hand embroidery work from a variety of tribal communities. With an amalgamation of styles including the work of Rabari, Jat, Suf, Khaarek, Paako, Mutava and Ahir tribes. Many stories were woven into each style, with no two pieces the same.
Through the recycling of age-old materials Nagnata aspired to give new life to traditional textiles, celebrating the beauty, art and culture surrounding indigenous handcraft and tradition.
ON LOOM: WOMEN WEAVE
Nagnata visited students of The Handloom School, an initiative founded by Women Weave to educate and train youths in rural villages who possess traditional weaving skills but have no access to an academic education. India is the largest producer of hand woven cloth in the world, however younger generations are losing interest in the craft.
The Nagnata designers spent time working with the students to help them realise that tomorrow’s handloom could have far greater value than today’s. It’s through Women Weave’s progressive training that these young artisans can become the innovators and entrepreneurs who will take Indian handloom forward.
NATURAL DYEING WITH AVANI SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY
AVANI is a sustainable community nestled in the Kumaon region of the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. The name 'Avani' comes from the Hindi word for Earth. The Nagnata designers volunteered at AVANI, living with the community for 2 weeks learning about Avani’s environmental conservation work and training with the natural dyeing team.
The journey to AVANI is a long one, travelling on the overnight train from Delhi then a six hour drive through winding mountainous terrain at the foothills of the Himalayas.
Nagnata focused on the ancient technique of Indigo vat dyeing. The designers learnt how to extract natural indigo pigment from the green leaves of an Indigofera species of plant. Fermenting the leaves to create a thick indigo dye-paste, which is then dried and ground down into indigo dye powder. The process takes a few weeks and is one of the most complicated extractions of natural dye colours.
Nagnata hand dyed a capsule collection of organic cotton tees that were made in Australia and hand dyed in India at AVANI.