Even though beautiful handicraft creations are being made across India with unique designs and quirky devices, access to these artistic products is limited, and reserved to small pockets in the country. Breaking this trend is the innovative endeavour, Etsy, that gives artisanal products a platform, displaying creative works of jewellery, clothing, decorative items and other handicrafts by independent boutiques and artists. Artistic expression comes alive with their curation of products, and creators are given a portal to show the world their skill.
With each and every artisanal product fascinating us, we decided to curate 15 creators that are keeping the art of handicraft alive in India. So scroll on for beautiful hand-made silk saris, block prints, intricate bangle and anklet designs, and much, much more. Fair warning--if you have a credit card, you’re likely to be broke after this. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Silver and copper wire, gemstones, crystals come together with creator Susmitha’s individual style to form what she calls ‘mystical vegan jewelry’. As a dedicated a vegan, Reiki healer and Tarrot reader, all her earthy characteristics find expression in her creations. With polymer clay, she molds gorgeous miniature sculptures modeled after animals and monsteresque figures. Uniqueness embodies each and every one of her beautiful products, and all her products are one-of-a-kind since she never makes a replica of anything she has made once. So if you see something you like, Add to Cart immediately, cause there won’t be another one!
HG Favourite: Infused with positive healing energies of Reiki, her handmade jewelry designs feature gorgeous gemstones that will embellish your personality perfectly.
As production becomes more mass-market and streamlined, retail brands offer the same, run-of-the-mill tired and generic designs which lull your closet into a state of boredom. With Shruti Chopra’s BOOTiKA, the artistic elements of fashion and accessories are reignited, with her collection of tees, bangs and belts, each meticulously hand-painted with exquisite designs. And this quaint, artistic charm features on pillows and cushions as well.
HG Favourite: Her range of wallets made from organic cotton are as soft as they are beautiful, and each design is completely unique.
Owned by Shahid Datawala, a Mumbai-based jewelry maker, furniture designer and art photographer, the online store Datawala features some of the most unusual products you will ever come across. Inspired by the city’s underbelly, he handcrafts all his ornaments and furniture using recycled material, ranging from electric copper wire to vintage cutlery. And while sceptics may question his bizarre designs, his creativity has received validation at the hands of almost every major fashion magazine in India.
HG Favourite: You can buy any one of his Bombay Sewage Inspired jewelry pieces for 175 USD.
IV. Eco Fabric Store
While the world goes back and forth debating the benefits of an organic life, this little Mumbai-based shop on Etsy has been selling eco-friendly clothing for a while now, made from organic cotton, bamboo and banana yarns, soya bean protein, and so forth. Their beautiful solid coloured articles are outshone only by their resplendent print work fabric. Flowers, roots, onions, natural indigo and so on are used with organic turmeric to dye clothes, which even helps in the larger efforts to prevent water pollution.
HG Favourite: Treat yourself as well as the environment by shelling out between 9 and 19 USD for beautiful printed fabric.
Every Indian girl, in her childhood, has had that moment where she’s wrapped the six yards of her mother’s favourite silk sari loosely around herself, and paraded the mess around her house. For that little girl buried somewhere in you, visit Everything Indian to feel genuine and pure silk against your skin in beautiful colours, designs and patterns. Dupioni silk fabric, silk stoles, authentic silk cloth waiting to be molded -- this store has it all. From kurtis to curtain drape material, your every need can be fulfilled by this one-stop shop.
HG Favourite: The vibrant silk stoles are so soft, they caress your skin. 22 USD for 20 spools of authentic silk seems like such a steal.
Accessories give life to your wardrobe, and no Indian outfit is complete without bangles, bindis and anklets. So if the occasion is your cousin’s wedding, a family puja, Diwali or any other event that calls for elaborate, traditional Indian attire, IndiaTradition is the place you want to look. Their designs are beautifully intricate, as well as minimalist and simple, depending on what you’re going for.
HG Favourite: The sweet clinking noise their collection of metal bangles makes is music to our ears, for only 8 to 12 USD.
Owned by two college friends, Divya and Snigdha, this store offers to sell designer outfits, both Indian and Western, tailored to suit your body. Next time you wish to dress to impress for an event, browse through their collection, and you’ll be tagging everything with a must-have label that’s easy to access as well.
HG Favourite: The ‘Desi Girl’ in us would like to own one of their designer lehengas for 190 to 250 USD.
Owned by Meenu Jain, this customized studio based in Jaipur uses Etsy as a platform to sell Indian and Indo-Western clothing fit for any occasion. Occasionally, they also feature art and craft decor items that have been handcrafted by local artisans that can make bring the essence of ‘India’ into your living room.
HG Favourite: Their collection of marble champagne bottles is made exquisite with its detailing. Plus they will make for a great addition to our alcohol collection (even though it comes devoid of any champagne).
At an age when machine goods are striving and brands don’t care about ingenuity as long as their goods sell, here is a shop by Preeti Kelkar, an Indian based in London, who wished to keep the timeless designs and rich heritage of vintage, crafted textiles that boast of our country’s rich heritage. Her handwoven and naturally dyed collection of scarves can be paired with kurtis, jeans, skirts and shorts as well.
HG Favourite: Their collection of linen scarves with light, comforting colours are perfect for a warm summer’s day at 47.09 - 53.47 USD.
For all those who thought recycling was just for plastic and paper, meet Vrindavan-based Gayle Lawrence who recycles saris, and uses locally-available sacred beads and hand-made paper beads to create handmade clothing and accessories. And to add to that, Mahima Creations does more than just provide really beautiful ornaments-- they employ widows with no other means to work for them, thereby giving them a job along with some love and happiness.
HG Favourite: The hand-embroidered saris are absolutely stunning, with vibrant colours and intricate work.
Delhi-based Manasi Khaitan’s aim with this store was to provide the whole country with the attractive fabric available in her capital city, and so she began to curate different material. Having grown up as a daughter of a boutique owner, she was always fascinated by textiles and the kind of variety that exists. By setting up this shop on Etsy she vouches that she has gained the opportunity to be a “small business owner without having to miss out on my little girl’s early years”.
HG Favourite: The poly-crepe fabric curated by Manasi is just waiting to be woven into a beautiful pillow case at 8.50 USD.
When Devi Chand, a Chennai-based NIFT graduate, realised that she would rather use her hands to create something, rather than sit behind a computer screen, she set up PaperMelon (formerly known as HippieKingdom). She sells paper jewellery that she creates by herself, drawing inspiration from almost anything and everything.
HG Favourite: With one of her gorgeous and unique earrings, you’ll be picking the outfit to match the accessory instead of the other way around.
Started as an effort to provide a platform for local artisans, PrintBlockStamps sells blocks that are hand-carved by families who work in cottage industries. Block printing is a traditional form of designing textiles, which has been dying since it became possible to simply print designs on clothes.
HG Favourite: With their floral designed stamps, we could be creating some really killer outfits.
The mastermind behind the RareGemstone store, Syed Group, has been in this business for three generations now. Breaking through the clutter of mass-produced accessories, this store is a breath of fresh air. Gems, beads, cabochons, chips, nuggets and ready-made accessories -- you can find it all here.
HG Favourite: Their shiny collection of Gemstones has our name on it.
Based out of the country’s capital, this store is famous for silk and brocade fabrics along with wooden printing stamps and gorgeous beads. With all these elements coming together, the result is a beautiful outfit of your selection crafted specifically for your size.
HG Favourite: Their Homespun Solid Cotton fabric would make Gandhiji proud!
Urvi Agarwal’s ‘TheHomeCentric’ is simply a haven for interior designers and anyone looking to give their house a makeover. She custom designs pillow covers, decorative drapes, duvet covers and table runners according to your needs. And with the whole store divided based on various shades, hues and colours, walking in is a delight.
HG Favourite: Just one of their throw pillows can transform the look of an entire room.