The fashion scene in India is incredibly dynamic, and its easy to lose track of the number of local designer labels entering the Indian market each year. Many of the day wear brands focus on the Indo-Western dressing style, and hand-woven fabric, particularly cotton and linen. However, there are only a handful of brands using Organic Cotton and all-natural materials, and this is the story of one such brand.
Ek Katha was started by Madhumita Nath, a young designer from the city of Nagpur. Madhumita was born into a family of scientists and went on to study fashion at NID Ahmedabad. The words ‘Ek Katha’ literally mean ‘A Story’ in Hindi. I personally love the designs, ethos and the story (No pun intended) behind this brand. Here’s more from the designer:
How was the idea behind “EK KATHA’ conceived?
Ek Katha in Hindi translates to ‘A Story’. We nurtured the idea of narrating stories through our design journey which particularly is inspired by the human spirit and the creative energies. Hence our stories exemplify handcrafted, laborious, traditional and ecological means of creation. It is an honest endeavor to engage in practices which are thus ethical and is symbiotic with our mother earth.
The sustainability pillars on which ‘EK KATHA’ stands:
- Organic Cotton: We work with One Cert Certified indigenous organic cotton from Kutch (western India) which is rain fed and does not need irrigation.
- Handcrafted: We are working with artisans based in the same region who hand dye and weave in traditional handlooms. Surfaces are treated with batik wood block printing. Thereby we are sustaining traditional crafts and livelihood of craft clusters of Weavers(Vankar community) and batik wood block makers and printers(Khatri community)
- Plant based: Our dyes are plant based like pomegranate, turmeric, indigo, madder root and catechu.
- Up-cycling: Our design studio is zero waste wherein every spec of fabric is used to create new and fresh products like fabric jewelry, scarves, bags and jackets.
What inspired you to take the organic, natural dyes, zero waste approach to fashion?
I think this is a very good question, especially because every other day a new clothing brand is emerging and we all love the Mangos and Zaras of the world. My journey began with a visit to one of the most soul stirring places, Kutch, in western India. I have spent time there as a Student, as a Design Consultant and then simply as a traveller, and found that every time you rediscover the place in a different way. Their material culture, so intrinsic to their everyday life, is colourful in contrast to their arid surroundings. The various tribes, their respective crafts (each tribe in Kutch has their distinctive embroideries and crafts). Their innate sense of aesthetics and remarkable skill combined with it the simplicity of the people is awe inspiring.
“Their craft has always been beautiful without being detrimental to nature. Slow, basic, mild, beautiful, rustic, full of patterns and stories.”
Their organic indigenous cotton and the handwoven fabric with its raw quality, its simplicity and beauty in its plainness is what inspired me to take this ahead. I’ve always believed that craft in its traditional means, completely in sync with nature and community can only be good for all.
What is your personal style? What brands do you wear?
I am naturally inclined towards materials which are natural, breathable and with a style quotient as well. I support local Indian crafts and believe in buying clothing and accessories from brands working with artisans. Also believe in buying directly from the craftsmen.
What is your vision for Ek Katha?
We are completely driven by our ethos of artisan made (in India), ecologically aligned slow clothing creation. We work in small batches and hence understand that in will take some time to penetrate markets all over the world. We would like the user/buyer to understand the beauty of hand made and the resultant imperfections in the cloth. To reach out to buyers globally is something we are aiming at.
Where can we buy your products?
Pop Ups, Multi-designer Stores like Artisans ’Gallery, Mumbai ; Teatro Dhora, Jaipur; Ambara, Bangalore;Toile, Mumbai and Kolkata. We have sold through online portals like Jaypore.com, and through our Facebook and Instagram pages. Our E-Commerce site is under construction.