Motifs, Stories, and More: Indian Brands Creating Handcrafted Wearable Works of Art

Three brands that are creating hand-painted, wearable works of art that are unique in their own ways.
Three brands that are creating hand-painted, wearable works of art that are unique in their own ways. L: Nambi-Kai R: ASAII

India has contributed many things to the world - from mathematical formulae to the game of ludo. For the world of fashion, handpainted craftsmanship and various dyeing techniques originated in the Indian Subcontinent. Some articles credit the colour and flair that it brought to global fashion. From the 16th century to today, many things have changed. Indian fashion itself has transformed in many more ways than one can define. But something that continues to be, is its importance as a centre of sartorial innovation. 

From sustainable designers to slow and conscious labels, there have been a number of small fashion labels that are doing brilliant work all over India. Here are three brands that are creating hand-painted, wearable works of art that are unique in their own ways. 

23°N 69°E

This sustainable fashion brand founded by designers Anas Sheikh and Anchita Bhattacharya draws from modern silhouettes but employs age-old artisanal techniques to create wearable works of art. Their collection includes hand-painted pieces, as well as those that employ techniques like marbling, block-printing, and resist-dyeing. The brand claims that each of their pieces is one-of-a-kind and no two garments would be the same. Working only with natural dyes, hand-painting and hand-printing the brand considered this uniqueness that arises from the natural methods and manual production of their pieces to be a defining factor for their label.  

You can learn more about the brand here

If you are interested in knowing more about 23°N 69°E and the work that they do, you can follow them here.  

ASAII 

Based out of Goa, ASAII founded by Nimisha Bathla is a fashion brand that is inspired by memories and moments. With an unwavering focus on telling stories, ASAII is an experiential clothing brand that is conscious and slow. They only offer shirts, trousers and shorts in select shades. Customers have the option of purchasing basics crafted from soft fabrics, or they can take one more step to look at the same basics that feature hand-painted stories that may resonate with them. These designs are inspired by memories or stories that were shared with the brand to be transformed into wearable art. From taking a dive at Udaipur to riding on a scooter with their father, people have shared many real, evocative stories that have been transformed by the brand. For those who are seeking to personalize their purchase from ASAII, there is also the option to create completely custom designs that capture your story. 

If you are interested in knowing more about ASAII and the work that they do, you can follow them here

Nambi-Kai 

Founded in Chennai, Nambi-Kai is a brand whose identity shines through each of their photos and their pieces. Easy, breezy and truly unique, Nambi-Kai is a brand that focuses on the process and the preservation of traditional, artisanal methods of making clothes. The products are hand-dyed using natural dyes such as Kassim, Lac, Madder and more by traditional artisans. These pieces are then painted with nature-inspired motifs by a freehand artist that works with the brand. It is then dried in the sun’s dry heat. Crafted from high-quality fabric, Nambi-Kai is a brand working towards encouraging their craftspeople to practice freehand drawing and painting to ensure uniqueness and promote innovation. They embrace the concept of imperfection and individuality through these values that they consider the cornerstones of their brand. 

If you are interested in knowing more about Nambi-Kai and the work that they do, you can follow them here.  

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