The Fabric of Our Lives: The Story of fabindia recounts the 50 years of the company's journey

Rarely has a name captured the range and richness of India's fabrics so well. In 50 years, fabindia has brought about a sea change in what a section of urban India wears. From teenagers to those in their sixties and beyond, it has united Indian women and men in what it takes to be both “ethnic” and “in”. Colours, prints and weaves in silk and cotton that wrap our infinitely rich traditions around us, but also impart a contemporary touch. And, hues and textures that surround us in our homes as well, through fine furnishings. It has given a much-needed boost to those sweating over millions of looms, enhancing the quality of their lives and instilling pride in them about the products they create.

The Fabric of Our Lives: The Story of fabindia by Radhika Singh was launched at Anokhi, Chamiers recently. The book deals with the birth and growth of the company that owes itself to the vision and commitment of John Bissell, an American who made India his home. Led by his passion for handloom, he built up a brand that now has more than 120 outlets throughout the country. The well-researched book published by the Penguin Group commemorates the 50th anniversary of fabindia.

“We felt that we should release the book in various cities since fabindia has an all-India presence,” said Prableen Sabhaney, head of communications of the company, after the invocation song by Shreya Ramnath. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal launched the book and handed over the first copy to Shanta Guhan, member of Crafts Council of India. Radhika read well-chosen extracts that linked the history of fabindia to the present, including the setting up of the first Madras outlet in Ilford House, and going on to what John's son William is doing to take the company, handloom and the weavers forward.