Interviews by Akanksha Pandey. Photographs by Asad Sheikh. Styled by Sarah Rajkotwala.
Ankur Verma of Til
Model: Shambhavi Dubey
Given your well-rounded background in design, how is working with Indian designers different from international ones, and what were your learnings from both?
I feel all designers are pretty rooted in their respective cultures and traditional methods of process. Also, every designer has his own unique style of working. It was very interesting for me to learn under their guidance, to observe how different markets work in different places, and all the learnings and experiences are reflected in my work.
Tell us what stands out in this collection and why?
The perfect blend of hand-painted and digital prints along with the embroidery definitely stands out along with the versatility of each piece which can be worn as separates in multiple ways.
Tell us about the Khwab collection. Which part of the process is most vital — from choosing the fabrics to the prints and embellishments that you have showcased?
The collection has a variety of silks, like cotton silk satin, cotton silk, silk organza and chanderi silk in relaxed classic silhouettes. I’ve been working very closely with the weavers in order to source these. For me, transparency and authenticity of the processes — from choosing fabrics accentuated with exquisite hand embroidery to developing hand-painted prints — are the most important strands.
Did you use hand embroidery with the aim of making conscious sustainable choices?
It’s always quality over quantity. Quality contributes to the longevity of the pieces, and can be passed down the generations. Not only is it a joy to stitch but the hand-embroidered pieces tend to last longer and not
deteriorate. The use of a material like cotton thread rather than using plastic beads and glass beads is also a conscious choice.
Your collection is seasonless, doubles as occasion wear, and works as both day and evening wear. Does this again point towards your commitment to sustainable fashion that can be re-worn in various contexts and through the years.
After the pandemic, we have all become more conscious about our clothing choices. For instance, our gilet can be paired with silhouettes like white shirts and denim. The same gilet can also be paired with classic silhouettes for other occasions. So yes, it’s about the versatility and reusability of the pieces.
What have been your inspirations for this collection?
My affection towards my dadi [grandmother], who is no longer with us, motivated me. I remember her bodily textures created by the wrinkles, the loose skin, the moles and the freckles and, through my artworks, I try to translate those lines and wrinkles. I wanted to make it global and yet remain rooted to my culture.