Life & Style

When it comes to Ajrakh

Vraj:bhoomi is reinterpreting the ancient Ajrakh craft in order to preserve it and present it to a larger audience

Ajrakh is a millennia old hand-block printing craft originating from the region of Gujarat, that celebrates hand block printing with natural dyes. And Vraj:bhoomi is bringing the craft to the contemporary by reinventing the fabric and the prints to present contemporary clothing, accessories and footwear.

They are presenting their new collection ‘The Revival Edit’ at Ambara, bringing ‘cotton, comfort and ease’, designed for today’s women.

“In this collection, we have experimented with a new colour base in the craft to introduce shades such as wine while ensuring that it complements the block prints. One does not usually come across shades of wine in an Ajrakh print. Ajrakh is 5000 years old and we are working to revive the craft to make it more accessible to a larger, urban audience,” says Priyam Shah, co-founder.

When it comes to Ajrakh
 

Vraj:bhoomi is the brainchild of Bhoomi Dani, a graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (with a specialisation in textile design) and Priyam Shah, an aviator and art-admirer.

“We work to retain the craft in its essence while playing with the prints and silhouettes that represent a more contemporary audience. In our previous collection, for instance, we took inspiration from Turkish tiles and used the motifs in the garments,” he explains.

Meanwhile the collection on display at Ambara is an experiment with colour. Another of their trademark offerings is their footwear that celebrates the print.

“What makes our journey interesting today is that we not only have nationwide acceptance, we also, surprisingly, receive interest from countries such as Japan,” says Priyam, adding that they have found the same acceptance among the weavers of the Kutch belt.

“It is usually challenging for designer to work with craftsmen because it not easy to convince them to open up to experimentation. Fortunately, our weavers have been enthusiastic about the process and it makes it easier for us to make Ajrakh more relevant.”

At the same time, Priyam also has to plan ahead to ensure there is no gap between demand and supply, because of the slow and long production process.

“We do this by anticipating our demand, based on our experience in the industry. At the same time, we also ensure that instead of expanding volume in terms of business, we offer an enhanced experience with deeper content.”

This means, when one buys a Vraj:bhoomi product, the team sends out a product description note with details on product care.

“We don’t want to offer just another mass-produced product.”

‘The Revival Edit’ by Vraj:bhoomi will be on display until October 14 at Ambara, 22 Annaswamy Mudaliar Road, Overlooking Ulsoor Lake. For details, call 25575196.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 4:13:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/when-it-comes-to-ajrakh/article19839238.ece

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