Jon Snow’s brooding black cape from Game of Thrones, fur lining and all. Liam Neeson’s sword from Batman Begins. Harry Potter’s blazing red and yellow Gryffindor robes. One quick glimpse at a label and you’d expect to see “Made in China” neatly typed within the inner recesses of these garments. This time, however, you’d be wrong. ‘Made In India’ is what it would read. R.S.Windlass, a company established in 1943 in Dehradun, provides fully licensed props and costumes for major Hollywood productions. They are the only licensed producers of Game of Thrones costumes in India. In a bid to delve deeper into the myriad fantasy universes brought to life by this Indian company, we got talking with Rashi Goil, a partner of this family run company.
The Windlass group had been in the weaponry business for decades before the garment part was introduced. “A great potential for garment manufacturing was realised in the 90s, as it complements the prop manufacturing trade well. We manufacture renaissance garments which have a market in the US and Europe. Along with these we have worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, providing garments, props, etc. Our companies based in Atlanta, Museum Replicas Ltd and Atlanta Cutlery Corp, help us procure licenses for different productions for specific garments and products, to be used either as props or sold as licensed merchandise” Rashi explains.
Once an order is procured, the entire manufacturing process starts in India. From sourcing the material, complying with design standards, and even going so far as handcrafted detailing - everything is done in house in their Noida factory. Once ready, the shipment is sent out. While many of the designs are already pre decided, RS Windlass has a range of their own designs as well, Rashi tells us.
While a majority of their business comes from these large scale productions, a significant amount of their revenue is also geneated through the Live Action Role Play (LARP) community world over. “We do have a great market for costumes and LARP weapons outside of the film industry. Its not a very popular culture in India yet, but overseas its a rage. We manufacture some of the finest quality LARP products of different kinds that have been popular lately. Halloween is a particularly busy time for us!” Rashi exclaims. Some of the props used for LARPing are replicas of Jon Snow’s ‘Longclaw’ and Ned Stark’s ‘Ice’ as written in this story by Broadly. Another part of their business is also to procure licenses and sell official merchandise. “However, we do not sell all the famous garments and weaponry we produce as some are made to be used strictly as props by the productions” Rashi preempts, just as the thought of Jon Snow’s cape crosses our mind.
Churning out this magnitude of props and costumes is no easy task, this we know. The company employs over 150 people, and provides skill training for a large number of them as weaponry art calls for it. “Even for the costumes we do have a lot of skilled workers who work with extremely intricate designs that are often made by hand. We try to generate a lot of employment for women particularly for the garment work. They are great with their attention to detail, which is a very important prerequisite” Rashi explains.
Feature Image courtesy Raajessh Kashyap of Hindustan Times