What’s the backstory of label Resha? How did you start out?
We wanted a brand that was ever-evolving and for that we needed people who are experts in what they do and bring varied perspective to the table. There were three of us who came from very different backgrounds to form the backbone of Resha—I studied textiles, Vidushi is an active illustrator, artist and filmmaker while Manish looks at the business side of things. I would say it is a universal conspiracy that we all came together to create the label.
What motivated you to focus on sustainable fashion?
We did not have to sit and think about sustainable fashion—it was very organic. We all can do our bit for Mother nature. It’s not only fashion; we need to follow eco-conscious practices in all aspects of our lives. This is a path we have taken and there is a long journey ahead.
What are the fabrics that you use and the sustainable production practices that you follow?
We are socially conscious with a vision to re-evaluate how fashion is consumed by the masses. We don’t want to put anything out there which can be harmful to society in the long run. From our products to our photo-shoots, we take care of the kind of message we are conveying. Our products are made of natural fibres, which are breathable, good for the skin and the environment, waste-free and printed with 100% natural dyes extracted from nature. We use a lot of organic cotton khadi and linen. We experiment a lot with our fabrics—they are a permutation and combination of cotton, linen and silk.
Are there any specific types of Indian textiles that you focus on?
We work with different printing and resist dyeing techniques like bandhini, itajime shibori, block printing, hand painting, mud resist printing, wax resist printing and ajrakh printing to name a few. We experiment a lot with fabrics to achieve the desirable texture and drape. We get our fabric woven in clusters of Bengal, Benaras, Orissa, Gujarat and Maheshwar. A lot of attention goes in the rightful representation of women in fashion through the brand as well. The choice of models is very democratic; you will see all kinds of women as our models. We believe that fashion is not a monopoly of a certain body or skin type but should celebrate the diversity in beauty. We do not conform to socially-constructed ideas of beauty.
How was the experience of working with different artisans?
Our artisans weave stories in our garments, pour their hearts into their art and their contribution cannot be measured in money. Everything that is handmade or hand-woven can only be truly appreciated if we understand the process. These practices are from a long time ago and the craftsmen have sacrificed a comfortable living to keep them alive. There are precious stories from generations that are woven together in each thread. We want to call out that each ‘resha’ is a result of intense love.
How do you think saris and other traditional garments can be relavant to Indian youth?
A lot of designers are doing a lot to revive saris. But still, a majority of the girls we speak to still think that a sari is a cumbersome garment, specific for certain age and occasion. We want to change that. We want the sari to be a very essential part of every girl’s wardrobe because it is lovely, comfortable, easy, beautiful and fashionable. We are doing design intervention in terms of fabrics, prints, and colours to make them more comfortable and trendy. We want the look to resonate with every age group. We are also experimenting with the dimensions of the sari, so that it can be draped in many different ways.