David Abraham respects tradition, but is not averse to questioning it

David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore have raised the bar for other Indian designers. Their Saree Silhouette Collection has been selected by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum as part of its permanent collection. “Our collection was chosen as it is an iconic representation of contemporary Indian fashion,” explains David Abraham.

Abraham and Thakore wanted to design saris that would appeal to the contemporary Indian woman. Their focus, however, was not to design saris for weddings and parties, but on re-defining the perception of the sari.

For this, the duo altered certain aspects of it. “We decided to cut the sari down from six-and-a-half to four-and-a-half metres, which meant fewer pleats. We teamed it with a smart blouse on which we used appliqué of different motifs, ranging from floral to mobile phones.”

Abraham and Thakore are known for their unique creations that are contemporary using traditional design techniques. Abraham explains the intricacies of a design process.

“We had designed a black handloom sari, which was woven in West Bengal. Made of a blend of silk and cotton, the sari has minimal embellishments and a narrow white border. On the pallu is a motif of a cycle rickshaw done with white inlay.” Apart from modifying the structure of the sari, the duo experimented with motifs.

“We researched on symbols that are significant in contemporary India. We found that election symbols are relevant to all sections of society. So, we used these symbols in our designs.”

Abraham argues that fashion is not just the concern of the elite. “The very act of choosing what to wear for the day shows how fashion is relevant to everyday life. So, when you decide what style you want to adopt, you also need to take into consideration your lifestyle choices. Fashion is culture specific as well. An Indian girl cannot dress like a girl from Paris. There are several aspects to fashion.”

Abraham respects tradition, but is not averse to questioning it. “I find unchanging tradition pointless. If designers fall into a trap of strictly preserving tradition then that is only sentiment. If something is relevant, use it, if not, drop it!” says Abraham, who loves to work with khadi but would also love to design a polyester sari someday.

David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore were recently in the city to showcase their Fall Winter Collection and launch a Fashion Fundraiser, in association with Prasad Bidapa and Bling Mushrooms, for the Kids of Angels Orphanage.

All the designers together created an Annual Scholarship for a gifted student who wishes to study any discipline of fashion from design and apparel manufacture to merchandising and marketing.