Ikai Asai

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A collaboration with a fresh Indian contemporary brand Ikai Asai to design their table linen collection to compliment the main line of handmade pottery. I will now share the story on how this collaboration came about, what crafts were worked with and what was the overall experience.

In the dry lands of Kutch, Gujarat, I’d heard there is an oasis of crafts. In June 2019 I made a trip with Rika, then a student of Parsons School of Fashion, New York to explore this cluster and my mind was blown with what I discovered. But that journey will take another story altogether. There was a coincidence that happened just a couple of months after. Anchal Jain (IIM-A), my mentor and a many wearing many hats, offered to get me on board as one of the collaborating designers for a new brand ‘Ikai Asai’ that he was consulting for their business. Ikai Asai is a brand conceptualised in the CCBP course by Kanupriya Verma and got instantly funded by Ananya Birla.

The brand offering is simple. 4 concepts by noteworthy names in design offering a table ware and barware collection of products and a complimenting table linen collection for each concept. I was commissioned to design and sample the table linen for the ‘Deva’ collection, the concept and table ware of which has been done by Dharmesh Jadeja of DuStudio based in Auroville. 

While the initial brief from the brand was to focus on tangaliya weave as a craft using naturally dyed yarn, from my personal research earlier in the same year, I suggested we also press focus on the indigenous cotton called ‘Kala’ Cotton as base yarn and also on the indigenous embroidery ‘Suf’.

Under this three sub-collections came forth - Suf, Tangaliya and an amalgamation of the two; while with colours there was further division into kora (unbleached and undyed), ocher and charcoal.

Two very popular craft organisations were looped in for this project, namely Kala Raksha and Khamir and individual artisans namely Suresh, Jitender, Sham ji and Naresh.

The pieces of the collection can be found here.

Tangaliya - A fabric ornating technique where strands of a differently coloured thread are entwined onto the base yarn (on warp) at the weaving stage. Suf - A Sindh origin embroidery done from the reverse side of fabric, with no pattern tracing but the fabric weave grid to follow. Kala Cotton - Indigenous, short staple variety of cotton, grows with least amount of water required in this desert area.

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