The project commenced with an in-depth exploration of the company itself. I immersed myself in understanding their product line and design philosophy. Their approach to design was centred around the creation of something both ergonomic and educational, with a distinct touch of ‘Handmade’ craftsmanship. They aimed to uphold their identity through the use of cotton, hand loom weaving, and embroidery. This identity was closely intertwined with the empowerment of marginalized communities within society.
The preceding weaving collection predominantly relied on plain and twill weave structures, resulting in textured surfaces due to variations in yarn count. My analysis involved identifying their explored structures, along with potential avenues for introducing rhythmic elements and richer colour palettes. Notably, I scrutinised the design language of kindred companies which shared a similar design ethos.
I investigated local indigenous garments and their previously explored garment range to comprehend the sewing strengths. Guided by Soach’s, I explored embroidery project involving the garments, designed during my collaboration with SOACH. Drawing inspiration from the immediate surroundings, people, and their narratives, I incorporated innovative techniques like Extra weft, double cloth, and dent gap (kota)-inspired fabrics. We also conducting a blouse construction sewing workshop.
Throughout the journey, my guide’s counsel urged me to delve into the organisation's core strengths. This guidance prompted focus on weaving and embroidery. For woven products, I sketched and calculated, but actual experimentation was undertaken directly on the loom.
The significance of immersive fieldwork cannot be expressed in mere words. For me, it led to a life-altering experience. Working closely with women, navigating bus rides to reach the location, their home-cooked meals, participating in cultural rituals, sharing tea at 3 o’clock, contemplating the presence of the Sabarmati River, discussing sand mining and village ecosystems, and addressing everyday challenges—these experiences transformed my perspective on life.