When luxury lifestyle brand, Good Earth, launched its apparel label, Sustain, in 2009, it was with the idea of creating elegant daily wear for women that celebrated Indian textiles and crafts through timeless styles.
Ten years down the line, it is this design credo that has stood the brand in good stead, making the apparel label just as successful as the brand’s décor label.
Sustain is celebrating that success with a new collection, Sindhu, that takes a journey down the Indus, traversing the living history of our ancient land through our fabrics, motifs, weaves and embellishments.
The showcase of around 80 ensembles at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi, displayed a melting pot of textiles and crafts, both traditional and contemporary, influenced by the sartorial history of the region. The exhibition was divided into four distinct sections.
While one section took people back to the routes the textiles have travelled, another section gave a glimpse of the patterns that have persisted over time. A third section was dedicated to various techniques and the imaginations that abound in them, while the fourth and final section looked at the idea of multiple identities experienced through an assemblage of garments.
The collection takes forward the essence of Sustain in both prêt and made-to-measure versions.
“With this collection, we focus on a particular region and travel back many millennia to the seed of germination of our rich cultural past; the epicentre and the earliest known roots of civilisation in the Indian subcontinent; watered by the magnificent river, Sindhu. We are inspired by the slow and continuous flow of culture, trade and craft that bind the people of the entire subcontinent.
We are celebrating and taking time to appreciate the persistence of pattern, where the legacy of prints and patterns continues even today, many thousand years later.
We also look at contemporising traditional silhouettes such as choga, ghaghri, kedio through distinctive styling and pairing of garments,” says Deepshikha Khanna, head of apparel at Good Earth.
Like the Indus Valley Civilisation, Sindhu is a melting pot of a variety of textiles that come from across the length and breadth of the country—silks, velvet, handloom matka silk, Chanderi, mashru, Benarasi brocade, glass silk, kinkhwab brocade, kora tussar, gajji silk, organza, lame, handwoven cottons, yarn-dyed stripes and plaids, mul, khadi wool, linen and so on.
In particular, the collection explores the beauty of ajrakh—the technique of resist printing and mordant dyeing textiles—a pivotal craft of the region. The collection exalts two signature developments: a special ajrakh print developed with the master craftspeople of Bhuj in Gujarat, and an archival pattern inspired by an ancient textile fragment reinterpreted as luxurious Benarasi brocade by the weavers of the eternal city.
“Besides, we have worked with mashru stripes and also with the indigenous craft of tie-and-dye—leheriya and bandhni. We have also used digital technology to recreate archival prints, all of which have been embellished by judicious touches of embroidery done both by hand and machines,” says the designer.
In a first, the collection also marks Sustain’s foray into menswear. Explains Anita Lal, founder and creative director, Good Earth, “We had a lot of men ask us about sustainable menswear that was contemporary and for the global, well-travelled man, rooted in tradition. This is our interpretation of menswear in response to them, designed by Rajiv Purohit.”
Elaborating on the decade-long journey of Sustain, she adds, “Our aesthetic has always been inspired by stories of India, rich in culture, natural bounty, and whimsical. One would think that this would limit our canvas. But really, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the vast repository of legacy crafts, techniques, and textiles that India has to offer. The thought behind Sustain was to create elegant daily-wear from natural fibres, in timeless styles rooted in the textile traditions of India. And we immediately had a positive response.”