The Homegrown fashion landscape has seen an uprise of indigenous craft labels offering the average fashionista a chance to tend to their shopping urges. Its an urge that doesn’t add to the burden of fatal fashion footprint and promotes an eco-chic flair in the next generation of buyers.
Khamir is one such brand that stands out in the midst of an endless minefield of textile labels. Based out of the Kachchh region of Gujarat, India, Khamir works to strengthen and promote the rich artisanal traditions of Kachchh district. The name stands to be an abbreviation that aptly stands for Kachchh Heritage, Art, Music, Information and Resources. Roughly translating to ‘intrinsic pride’ in Kachchhi, Khamir’s initiatives to bolster the intersection of culture and community by transpiring resources into innovative creations are particularly notable.
Serving as a platform for the promotion of traditional handicrafts and allied cultural practices, Khamir is dedicated to building a creative consumption ecosystem that involves creation, and preservation of culture, community and local environments.
Once a cultural hub in the bordering region of west India, Kachchh has always been a fertile playground for a diverse exchange of ideas and global connections at large. Catapulting the developing craft culture of the region to a wider platform are artists and entrepreneurs working in close proximity with local artisans in order to raise the value placed on indigenous craft culture.
Somya Lochan is one of the many high-spirited artists committed to the cause of creating an empowering space for a sustainable craft sector. A Delhi-based textile designer, Lochan’s embarked on a collaborative journey with Khamir artisans to work on a revival project named ‘Peti’.
Incorporating Khamir’s facilities to boost handloom products and Somya’s artistic explorations, Peti offers a revival of a hand-spun fabric meticulously hand-woven hand-dyed, hand-embroidered and hand-spun on the Peti-charkha (a spinning wheel), hence reviving the usage of the Peti-charkha commercially.
Spinning the charkha to life, the project seeks to draw out handloom techniques from archaic museums to contemporary markets and is an ambitious attempt at strengthening rich artisanal traditions and inadvertently shifting consumer patterns.
Lochan’s collaborative attempts are not only a hands-on approach to upholding century-old craft practices but also establish an endearing rapport with local artisans, who find themselves stuck between the frail life spans of craft vocations and the bling of a fast fashion market that places emphasis on add to card whims over slow fashion.
In a conversation, one of the spinners told Lochan how she had spun as a child when the wheel was still in use and it has come back to her as she comes closer to retirement.
Lochan’s findings reveal a bump in new livelihoods that are being created because of the charkha and increased employment amongst rural women who can now work from home at ease and support their livelihoods.
Handspun on the Pethi Charkha, the collection includes daily wear pieces consisting of indigo fabric shirts that are organically dyed in different hues of blue. With this collection, the label aims to introduce hand-spun and handwoven fabric to the commercial market. Demarcating a poetic evolution of a piece of textile, the weave of each fabric evolves with elements like temperature, washes, geographical region and most importantly time.
View the project here.
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