Creation is sacred. Designs speak aloud. Abraham and Thakore recognise this.
Abraham and Thakore clock three decades and they are treading strong in their sensibility, aesthetics and style statements. I feel elated in bringing this interview that I conducted over a whim. Sustainability is the way ahead and A&T always caught my eye with their conscious fashion sense and love for basics which turn into classics. Not many withstand the urge to tilt to the demands of the era. A&T stuck to their belief and made us swing to their tune. Be with me and read about their laurels and how they are impacting the sustainable road.
From minimalist head to toe looks to hand woven ensembles worn in different ways, the duo Abraham & Thakore show us how to ace the game. The non-conformists pair has always shown the sunny side up. They have dared to say NO to the blingy demand of the decades and stood on their own to give a new meaning to the Indian fashion sensibility. Their AW 11-12 double ikat silk houndstooth sari and shirt are in the permanent archives of Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Abraham and Thakore have travelled the sustainable road. The label creates contemporary yet far from Bollywood sanctioned razzmatazz fashion. Their fashion lasts seasons. There is a strong respect for the material being used, the form being created and the craft being used. Their fashion is rooted in our Indian identity with an international appeal.
What I love about them is their belief that real luxury lies in specially crafted products. They do not endorse mass produced fast fashion and stick to limited numbers in high quality. They are agitators who speak through their work and thoughts. Their clothes provoke you to think about the turning tide that spells sustainability. The duo never cared about the over-embellished bridal wear and went in the opposite direction. It surely takes two to tango!
In 2010, 18 years after the brand’s inception, the brand walked the ramp with their first creation for the autumn/winter display at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. A black belted sari made history at the ramp.
Abraham & Thakore look at the incredible design language developed in India over the centuries to get inspired. They refresh their staples and their cult following grows with time. With more than 25 years in the industry, their progressive design philosophy ensures their relevance even today.
The brand retails out of two stores in Delhi and Bangalore each and from their online portal. They are even found at multi designer outlets like Ogaan and Ensemble.
They have worked with the craft clusters in West Bengal, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh alongside creating separates with brocades and even fusing the understated khadi fabric with spellbinding glamour.
Let’s talk about their latest collection now. Abraham & Thakore’s spring summer 2020 Collection ‘Kaleidoscope’ is an ode to the classic yet contemporary spirit. The brand celebrates the new season with pret-a-porter ensembles. The collection stays true to its name and mirrors the many colours of a changing Kaleidoscope.
A&T have worked with beige, lac, ivory, amla, cornflower, indigo, saffron and black and fused them in a myriad of patterns from stripes to simple geometric dots and delicate floral motifs. Not many designers have the proper combination of time, belief and obsessive compulsive disorder to break the norms. The signature A&T handloom woven cotton fabrics, sheer organza and luxurious silk voiles do that in the collection. The mundane stripes and checks are juxtaposed with simple geometric patters and delicate floral motifs to create printed and embroidered classic designer pieces.
The light and summery silhouettes comprising of easy tunics and light breezy kite shapes are beautifully teamed with palazzos and stunningly re-imagined dhoti pants. The colours are of course from the classic A&T palette of black, sauf and kora with subtle highlights of hues in amla- green & orange lac.
Here I begin my interview of Abraham and Thakore. David Abraham answers on behalf of the duo.
- What does ‘sustainable fashion’ mean to you?
Sustainability is an attitude which influences consumers into making decisions regarding lifestyle, consumption with a conscious and responsible approach.
- Regular fashion vs sustainability – your pick and why?
We are in the process of rapidly destroying our environment. We have no choice but to embrace sustainable practices in everything.
- Are you a minimalist?
Yes, I believe that one should communicate a concept using only the essential means. Anything more is extraneous.
- You have never played by the rulebook. Why?
I believe there are multiple approaches and multiple solutions and we should find the path that makes the most sense to us and follow it.
- I see your passion of promoting Indian textiles. The country is going back to the roots. How important it is for designers to first look at the weavers in the backyard than go hunting for machine fabrics & techniques?
India has the richest resource of handmade and traditional textiles in the world. Most of which are exceptional. Designers must respond to their environment and eco system to develop an honest and relevant voice.
- Recycling & upcycling pave the way for the future. How will the Indian fashion scene change post the covid era?
It’s difficult to predict. One can only hope that manufacturers, designers and consumers will be more mindful post Covid and shift to more sustainable practices.
- What are the fabrics & printing techniques being used for your Ecovero sustainable collection?
We work with hand block printing essentially and play with design concepts that explore the concept of pattern repeat.
- How do you ensure that the brand creates minimum waste and uses all its resources in order to minimize the negative impact on the environment?
We are conscious of the fabrics we use – natural and biodegradable. We create collections of garments that utilize the off cuts and fabric remnants from our factory to ensure that wastage is kept to a minimum.
- Will you totally replace your collections with sustainable fashion cycle for the future collections?
We have always been mindful of sustainable practices, even before the concept was being discussed. Having said that we are always exploring new ways to manage our footprint.
- What are your favourite pieces from your collections?
I find it difficult to be partial. But if I had to choose I think I would choose some of our black and white ikat creations which have become classics.
- What’s your relationship with clothing?
I think clothing is important. It is our primary means of non verbal communication. I believe in clothing of high quality. I ignore trends and wear things for years.
- Three clothing pieces you can’t live without?
Tee shirts, jeans and well made shoes.
- 3 Reasons to go for Abraham & Thakore?
Design, unique fabrics, timeless classics
- Faux pas to stay away from?
Anything that is too trendy and of the moment looks dated and silly very soon.
- What are your upcoming launches to look forward to?
We are always developing new concepts and introduce small quantities of new designs through the year.
- You are an inspiration to many designers who look up to role models for guidance. What is your one key advice to them?
Find your own unique voice and be true to yourself.
- How can women instill more confidence in them with reference to fashion?
It’s really a matter of being totally honest with yourself and understanding what your strong points are and then emphasizing them.
- What are your lessons from the lockdown?
That we cannot predict the future, that we have to learn to live in the moment.
- How will you motivate consumers to imbibe sustainability in their habits?
One just needs to go on repeating the message in as many forums as possible. Education and effective communication can help change attitudes.
- Your one advice to all the readers of let’s expresso
Always consider the impact of the decisions you make.
My final notes: Fashion can help us to create an identity. Style always emerges as a means of self- expression. Of course creativity needs to sell and the brand A & T never compromises on the core values. The duo continues to inspire the young designers to appreciate Indian textiles and turn away from looking at the West for constant approvals.
Sustainability has always been a strong pillar of their aesthetics. Abraham & Thakore understand the dangerous impact of fashion on the environment and care about how their products are manufactured. They do their bit earnestly.
We, as consumers need to be informed of our decisions and the impact it has on our planet. Short term trends are wasteful and we have to look regularly for classics. Conscious living is the way ahead. Long term relationship with our clothing is the inevitable need of the time. High time we embrace sustainability and conscious living.
Thanks Abraham & Thakore!