By Suchita S.
The trend for 2013 has to be a generous shift towards, and recognition of, ethical fashion. Some of the biggest home-grown fashion houses - Pero, Akaaro, Rahul Mishra, to name a few - are actively reviving long lost traditions in handicrafts, and employing local artisans to create a range of ethical products. Dastkar Bazaar has made a name and niche for itself in promoting crafts from all over our country. And websites like Jaypore, Craftisan, Gaatha and the likes are basking in the popularity of rural crafts. The latest addition to this movement is Loom Mool, a new store in Hauz Khas Village, set up by the good folks at SEWA Bharat.
All for a good cause
For the uninitiated, SEWA Bharat's a 40 year old trade union that represents 1.6 million informal female workers that come from the poorest and most marginalized groups of society. Through their work over the past four decades, they've promoted the cause of women employment and started communities such as a silk cooperative in Bhagalpur Bihar; which is where the Loom Mool story begins. At Bhagalpur, the SEWA team works with silk artisans directly, eliminating the middle men and traders, and assisting the artisans in creating designs that are contemporary, very wearable, and are made using traditional weaves. From what I'm told by the design head, Meera Saxena, a creative direction is given by her, but the process is fairly inclusive, with each of the weavers getting a chance to tell their own story through the fabric and garments that they create.
On the shopping list
The Loom Mool store in HKV accurately reflects the SEWA philosophy - there's no fancy lighting, pretty wallpaper or any of that. The focus is on the diverse range of products on offer. What immediately caught my eye were the sarees and stoles on display. Colour-block weaves, geometric patterns, and a beautiful juxtaposition of neutrals with vibrant colours makes their sarees a hit. Another must-buy are the Loom Mool shirts in silk/cotton, in a palette of blues, beiges and greys, which I found befitting for winter. The Loom Mool winner has got to be a khaki green crop jacket. The texture of the fabric is simply breathtaking, and the colour whispers Delhi winter. They also have a selection of silk crop-tops that have stole-esque tassel details as well. Clothes aside, they retail cushions, kerchiefs, and diaries too. There's a corner of the store which has a cute selection of pouches in fun prints and neon colours.
What makes Loom Mool stand out is their approach to ethical fashion. They've used age-old techniques and crafts to create very contemporary and very cool clothing. You'll hardly find paisley prints and floral patterns - the construction of the garment and its aesthetics are very clean, and European in a way. There's always that one interesting detail in each product that'll catch your eye; I fawned over a mix in texture in a Loom Mool stole, the pop of turquoise in a saree, and the ruching on the sleeve of a dress. It'll be interesting to see how they branch into home-decor and accessories; I think the best is yet to come!
Notes in our Little Black Book |
Loom Mool; for contemporary, ethical fashion. Purchases support local women artisans; Approximately 70% of the profit goes back to the artisans.
Product pick | Crop jacket and colour-block sarees.
Where | House No. 23, Ground Floor, Hauz Khas Village, near Elma's Cafe
Timings | 10:30am to 8pm, Monday-Sunday
Contact | 011 65456364
Check out their Facbook page here for updates.