Two fabrics, one man-made (denim) the other organic (Chanderi) meet to form a different kind of artistry in Amita Gupta’s narrative.
By Asmita Aggarwal
Love kind of breaks all barriers whether it is caste, geography, religion, family disproval, or psychology, some say that it is the final frontier. And that is just what happened when two people met in small town Lucknow, where Amita was learning yoga and Jagjeet studying computer engineering. A romance blossomed, despite opposition, the two united, with Jagjeet’s family coming down from Rampur and Amita’s Allahabad based parents giving their blessings. It till today is a fruitful partnership, with Jagjeet leaving his job to help his wife when her factory in Delhi got burned four years ago. He now helps with marketing, merchandising and sales. “I don’t regret it, computers are really boring,” he beams.
Amita, who worked with Manav Gangwani before she started her own label in 2014, is also the inventor of the hybrid called the denim-chanderi, where two opposing materials are blended to get a new texture. And the beauty is that it is woven in the home of brocade Banaras; but the duo wanted to give women something that was new, edgy and completely removed from what is available.
However, there is a lot more to this story! “We were travelling to Bangalore for work and discovered that our rickshaw puller was a former weaver, who due to the paucity of work gave up his family trade and moved to the big city to look for jobs,” says Jagjeet.
This gave birth to their sustainable label in 2017 that hopes to resuscitate dying crafts and rehabilitate weavers, who have turned brick layers and vegetable sellers. “The unfortunate part is that most buyers will go with innovations by big labels, but when an emerging brand tries to experiment, takers are few and far between. It has been a challenge to market our innovation, we still have a long way to go,” he adds.
Amita’s label tries to use as little natural resources as it possibly can, so Indian mulberry silk, natural cottons along with Azo-free colours make them planet-friendly. Their SS’19 line is dominated by saris that have been styled with skirts as well as jumpsuits and tunics, in a colour wheel that vacillates between indigos to blacks, beige, sky blue and grey.
Showing for the first time, the husband-wife team admit that while working together there is conflict, but they reveal disagreement makes the result much more engaging. “I wanted to support Amita in what she was doing, and today our aim is no longer to make just clothes but help re-establish those who have been marginalised, and pay them right wages and provide a better working environment,” he concludes.