Jaipur-based designer Chinar Farooqui’s passion for traditional textiles and clothing, and desire to explore the stories behind them led her to launch her label Injiri (inj-ee-ree) in 2009.
The word is used to describe “real Madras checkered textiles” that were exported to West Africa from South India in the 18th century. The brand name thus reflects the whole idea of Indian textiles travelling the world and being celebrated for their beauty and intricacy,” explains Farooqui.
Being a student of textiles, Farooqui loves handloom. For her, it is more about celebrating the entire process of hand-weaving. Explaining the idea further, she says, “The clothes are an expression of the textiles they represent, and for us, they are like little stories since they narrate the entire process of weaving the textile. I use handwoven fabric for clothes in such a way that the textile design—selvedge, border, cross-border, textures—becomes apparent, and it also becomes the most important design feature of that garment.”
Farooqui’s label works with clothing and homewares both. The clothing consists of women’s
garments and accessories such as bags and scarves while homewares consist of bedcovers, cushions, curtains, throws and pouches. The inspiration for most of the garments comes from local dressing styles of rural India and other folk cultures from around the world.
“It is the simplest work clothes of peasants, farmers and the common man that inspire me the most,” she says talking about the simple clothing of her label. She doesn’t design a garment first and then think of the most suitable cloth, but goes the other way around.
“We commission the textile first and then allow it to suggest how to be used as a garment. We also want the user to enjoy the use of woven details. These details make the user wonder about how the cloth was made and takes them through the journey of weaving processes.”
Farooqui sources textiles from several groups of weavers in Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan, and loves working with several regions because it allows her to work with different techniques. “Each region allows for a different technique. For example, the extra weft that one could achieve on a handloom in Kashmir is different from that in Himachal.
The discontinuous extra weft or jamdani that is specific to West Bengal is very different from the one in Rajasthan. In most cases, the count (thickness) of yarn and raw material that weavers can work with are also limited to the prevalent technique and know-how of the area. The textiles restrict the possibilities of a designer but also allow to explore the possibilities within the limitations of the loom.” Farooqui’s label is available online and at outlets across major cities in India (Mumbai, Jaipur, Chennai, Hyderabad) and also across the world.