"You could say I was one of the pioneers in fashion design, and what a struggle it was at the time!"
"I'm Ritu Agnihotri, and to me, to have the ability to create is something I treasure dearly. I so enjoyed the drawing classes I used to take during my free time. I would sit quietly making my own sketches and paintings.
"I was born on September 6, 1961, which makes me part of a generation when fashion design was new to India. You could say I was one of the pioneers in fashion design, and what a struggle it was at the time! After graduating from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, I pursued my dreams with earnest. Now I specialize in textile design featuring a blend of embroidered work with strong print lines.
"What I enjoy doing most are textured prints, which are not the regular flat prints you find in the markets. I use traditional motifs from different regions in India, but I make them slightly different. It's not contrived, as I intentionally avoid drawing it out too perfectly.
"When I exhibited my designs in Calcutta, all who came appreciated what they saw. Through their comments I was aware they could tell my designs are somewhat different from what they usually see in the market. I also had an exhibition in Kenya with my prints and embroideries, and I realized I felt a connection with the rustic prints they make there. I am familiar with historic patterns, and believe the vibrant compositions in their woven baskets and fabrics can be related to the way we Indians use our colors.
"Just like I connect with the past, I have a deep bond with the prints I make, which are all done with linoleum cuts. I make the designs on a rubber plate and etch out my patterns, then take a paper impression. During those moments of creation, I am just quiet and at peace with everything around me, while inside I am vibrant with energy that gets transferred into my designs. It's an incredible exploratory moment. All the prints you see come from my initial explorations, which I transform into something you can relate to.
"I've made my prints and designed my clothes with a lot of passion and delight; I hope you enjoy wearing them."
Designed by India's Isha Jain, this festive blouse features a mandarin collar and pin tucks down the front, which give it an easy fitting grace. Embellished with block prints, applied by hand and kantha, or running stitch embroidery, the colorful....read more
Tanya Berry selects black cotton for this charming blouse. Applied to the yoke, an intricate fishnet is crocheted by hand, and flowers flow around the hem to border the short butterfly sleeves. The smock slips over the head.
Designed by Ritu Agnihotri, this charming pinafore features paisley motifs in white on white. The scoop neck yoke features machine embroidery, with pin tucks that give the top its graceful shape. The blouse slips over the head.
Cool cotton in a rich magenta tone inspires Isha Jain. She designs this charming blouse with floral motifs, created by hand with the block print technique. The bodice opens to graceful pleats, and diminutive beads adorn the neckline and cuffs.
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