New Age Fashion Entrepreneurs: PANKAJAKSHI KUMARI, KADAMBARI RATHORE & ADITI GUDDA
Join Rajputana Collective as it engages with three talented new-age designers on their exclusive design labels, founding stories, deliberate appellations and creative concepts that span across diverse style swatches and cityscapes of New Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
1. THE LOTUS COLLECTIVE by Pankajakshi Kumari & Zaman Gujral
Style: Elegant & exclusively-crafted Indian wear
Products: Indian wear
Place of origin & manufacture: New Delhi Price range: Starting at INR 3500/-
Mode of retail: Online (social media & e-commerce)
The eureka moment for The Lotus Collective occurred when Pankajakshi Kumari conducted an unsuccessful search in finding attire styles and patterns outside the usual gamut of standard brands associated with the genre of Indian wear. Unable to find traditional outfits that suited her taste, Pankajakshi thought of the possible existence of more fashion consumers such as herself, who might be in a similar pursuit of simplistic yet smartly crafted Indian wear. She expressed the prospect of launching a design label with her friend and ex- work associate Zaman, with whom Pankajakshi was in any case seeking to collaborate a launch such as this. The duo soon experimented with their joint mettle as designers and began to work on a few sample pieces. They draped their newly-crafted outfits on a kind friend and a bullied younger sister as their models, creating an in-house photoshoot with the help of their mobile phone cameras. These photographs supported their online presence and voila, that is how The Lotus Collective came into existence.
As her name more obviously suggests, Pankajakshi (literally translating into lotus-eyed in Sanskrit) claims a lifelong fascination with all things lotus, and hence, the title of her brand comes as no surprise. The centrality of traditional fabrics and and local methods in The Lotus Collective ensures bespoke couture that isn’t readily available for sale, but in fact, that which has been painstakingly produced by hand after due creative conceptualisation and a deliberately-executed personal touch to each piece.
It is the duo’s personal guarantee that although one might find print representations elsewhere, the styling and design of each set produced by The Lotus Collective belonged exclusively to the brand. In order to ensure this particular idea, alternating fabric sets are sourced from highly diverse originators, enhanced through hand embroidery and then paired in sync or contrast, depending on the particular design concept at play. Each concept generates a limited number of sets, and as per Pankajakshi, this finiteness aptly facilitates freshness and originality of design, as well as a finer production quality.
Another distinguishing characteristic highlighted by Pankajakshi vis-a-vis her label is
the utmost priority that The Lotus Collective accredits to versatility as well as situation-sensibility. In other words, not only do their products span from everyday wear to festive wear in fabrics that are seasonal as well as perennial, but are assembled keeping the brand’s core values in mind, which are comfort, style and elegance. An overarching design decision taken jointly by Pankajakshi and Zaman was the choice of simple and understated over kitschy opulence, irrespective of the occasion that they were designing for; they let the subtler elements of their design and finer details do all the talking.
In the long run, The Lotus Collective duo envisions a general expansion of operations within their existing workshop and production unit, while also producing a greater number of fabrics and weaves than they do at present.
“Today, we have a defined company outline, a clear idea of who we are as a label- and quite simply put, The Lotus Collective is a brand that believes in casual elegance, created through handwoven, hand-dyed and hand crafted apparel that covers a range of linens, cottons, silks and exclusively sourced pieces. Our aim is to create extraordinary pieces of clothing using only the most minimal embellishments to add beauty to a particular look. ”- Pankajakshi Kumari
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram handle: @thelotuscollective
Facebook handle: www.facebook.com/thelotuscollectiveindia/
2. KRIYA by Kadambari Rathore
Style: A tasteful curation of authentic & hand-crafted masterpieces
Place of origin & manufacture: Daspan; Jodhpur Price range: Starting at INR 15,000/-
Mode of retail: Online enquiries & private appointments
Let’s consider the new-age saree connoisseur who’s seeking to explore the vintage-chic vibe, who appreciates a zardosi artistry over antique floral motifs; and is accompanied by a millennial daughter who seems to be more drawn to sequinned art-deco patterns of geometry. Her mother seeks a more traditional solution to her daughter’s trousseau but the bride-to-be is more invested in acing a brunch look. A perfect one stop appointment venue for this classic mother-daughter duo, as well as the more cosmopolitan saree seekers would be none other than Kriya by Kadambari Rathore. The contemporary saree curation effort made by the seasoned saree-lover caters to customisable and versatile ranges of sarees, crafted exclusively by the original artisans of Jodhpur themselves.
The thirty-six year old is gaining much popularity amongst a growing clientele through organic references and word of mouth for her immaculate products and keen eye for detail. In being a design revivalist, Jodhpur-based Kadambari Rathore perceives her venture as one that couples serious business with a personal responsibility. Serious business, she reasons, because she considers any commercial success attained by Kriya as directly committed to the socio-economic emancipation of its constituting artisans, who depend on her label for the modern-day survival of their traditional skills. Subsequently, Kadambari derives a personal responsibility from the challenging affiliation between a designer and the field of art and craft, which necessitates a convergence of wavelengths between the curator and their clientele.
Tracing back the story behind the design label’s nomenclatural significance, its
eloquent founder and leading lady explains, “Kriya stands for the slow, but timeless fashion that brands itself into human memory, where it’e preciously guarded by the true lovers and connoisseurs of intricacy and exclusivity in fashion design and personal styling… The secrets and talents that have been handed down through generations of artisans in the name of familial legacy, give away themselves in glimpses of these products. It is their ‘kriya’ or completed artistry; and hence, the name.”
On an average, Kadambari’s masterpieces consume a production time of at-least month and a half, to be patiently handcrafted from start to finish by master embroiderers, craftsmen and dyers. A deep understanding and consciousness of the artisanal value possessed by her hometown, Kadambari shares the vision of expanding her revivalist brand to an NRI clientele across online portals. She also aspires to feature in a greater number of pop-up styled public interactions and to ultimately create and administer her stand-alone retail outlet in the not-so-distant future.
“I’ve never looked at the saree as a wardrobe collectible. I’ve only ever known it as a way of life. I grew up watching my mother drape herself in ever so elegant and eye-catching pieces from a personal collection that she continues to grow passionately. But my own passion also stems from memories of rummaging through my grandmother’s trunks, when the touch-and-feel awe and wonderment I’d feel, made me realise that I was running my hands over wearable pieces of art; not just reams of fabric.” - Kadambari Rathore
E-mail address: email@example.com
Instagram handle: @kadambarirathore
Facebook handle: www.facebook.com/kriyabykadambarirathore/
3. PTAARA by Aditi Gudda
Style: Quirky & outlandish high street fashion
Products: High street fashion-ware & accessories
Place of origin & manufacture: Jaipur; Delhi Price range: Starting at INR 2700/-
Mode of retail: Online (social media & e-commerce) as well as offline (exhibitions).
As a child, Aditi would admire her grand mother’s careful preservation of exclusive jewellery, garments and accessories in large boxes known as pitaaras. This memory ensued to inspire her design title, Ptaara (pronounced as ‘pitaara'), with a quirk for anyone and everyone willing to experiment with new fashion styles. Ptaara offers a selective and bespoke design effort by Aditi in order to maintain exclusivity and uniqueness in her designs, which are available at a suitable price range thereby ensuring fashion that is easily affordable to a wider range of customers. Her upcoming clothing line aims at providing some signature twists to vintage clothing; and the young designer envisions gaining a global outreach through a diverse range of online mediums as well as a formal collaboration with a pan-India retail chain.
“I have always been in awe of fashion and designer clothing. Before Ptaara came into existence, I had worked with several brands such as NDTV Good times, Tommy Hilfiger and American host John Walsh’s daughter-Megan Walsh. Instead of a mundane 9 to 5 corporate job, I felt like starting my own venture, one that invigorates my creativity and gives me self-satisfaction. Hence, with the support of my husband and family, I managed to launch my brand.” - Aditi Gudda
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram handle: @ptaaraboxfullofgoodies
Facebook handle: www.facebook.com/ptaarafashions/