Australian designers Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson work closely with women of Kutch to produce aesthetic clothes
Both are Indophiles who keep shuttling between Australia and India to interact and initiate new partnerships with their design partners. After much planning, Australian designers Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson finally launched their label Easton Pearson in India at an event at the Australian High Commission recently. The duo showcased women’s garments in which the motifs were unmistakeably Indian with many of the design patterns clearly bearing the imprint of the Kutch region.
“We felt this is the perfect time for us to introduce Easton Pearson to the Indian market. We have had a long love affair with this country and are proud and privileged to present our designs to Indian women,” says Lydia. The duo has been has been toying with the idea to make a grand entry into the Indian market for the past five years.
The garments displayed had the characteristic layering and mixing and matching colour and pattern which the designers feel would appeal to the cosmopolitan Indian woman.
“This is our 52nd trip to India. Our introduction to the traditional Indian embroidery was from Chandrabala Shroff when she visited Australia 25 years ago. It was then that we got a first hand experience of intricate Indian design. We are not here to capture the Indian market but to give more variety to consumers. We have tremendous respect for Indian designers,” says Pamela, who is known for creating Western outfits like skirts, tops and tunics and other party dresses which are an amalgamation of Western cuts and Indian embroidery.
On one of her early visits to the Kutch region of Gujarat, the designer was impressed with the way the women there have been producing exquisite handicrafts to augment the income of their families. And in the process resuscitating the dying art forms and ensuring that their children, unlike them, get the benefit of modern education.
According to Pamela, the feisty Kutch women have fascinated her, giving ample evidence that they were accomplished enough to give competition to machine-made clothes. “The lives of these poor unlettered women would improve drastically if their intricate embroidery work on dresses is displayed in international cities like Delhi, Chennai and Sydney. If these women get recognition through us then it would definitely make us proud,” says Pamela.
Hopefully, the duo will in the years to come succeed in ameliorating the living condition of these women. But they do not like to say it in so many words. On the contrary, they insist that they are not philanthropists and work only for commercially viable garments.
In Australia, the local population showers a lot of respect on handcrafted work. “Back home, we rarely come across artisans who do such beautiful handcrafted work. Undoubtedly, the Aborigines are excellent artists but they do not work in clothes. On the other hand, India has a rich history where handcrafted work has been going on for centuries,” says Lydia.