HAND H A N D I N Tradition and technology come together to create a uniquely Indian fashion identity By Varun Rana Photographs by Jimmy Granger MACHINE-MADE HAS BECOME A BAD WORD in fashion of late. But why? In India, more than anywhere else in the world, hand-embroideries coexist— often in the same designer’s factory—with machine-done embellishments. Machined Delhi-based designer Rimzim Dadu, known for her threadwork is highlighted with centuries-old zardozi techniques. And when an old intricate and sometimes strange handcrafted textures— garment can no longer be worn, its precious dabka-pitta patches are cut off and her last was a handwoven jaamdaani sari made of machine-appliquéd to a new couture anarkali. This is not new. But over the last few silicon—says that there really is no competition between years, the anti-machine sentiment in fashion has risen to such an extent that hand embellishments and machine-made textures and ‘handmade’, ‘organic’, and ‘eco friendly’ textiles as far as she is concerned. “Right now, handmade have become marketing buzzwords. Even is seen as being more luxurious. But in my work, both fast-fashion giants like H&M now offer are equally important.” She goes on to describe a corduroy-like texture that she creates where it takes ecology-conscious lines. Which is ironic, one worker to cut strips of chiffon, another to turn them into cords on a sewing machine, and a third since this abhorrence of machine made to stitch them together to form the base fabric. Where does hand-work stop and machine work begin? fashion stems from a reaction to massThe boundaries are blurred. “As a designer, I just use what’s convenient to me. Because I like experimenting produced, harmful-chemical-using highwith textures, I often end up inventing my own ways. I didn’t have a handloom to weave the silicon street brands in general. jaamdaani sari, so I just made one from scratch.” In India, though, designers are doing For her, and many like her, machine and hand crafts feed into each other to create a distinctly Indian what they do best: Not following the design idiom where true luxury lies in the design value of the product. Raw materials are important, international trend. “I believe you should yes, but good design can elevate humble nylon as well as rough khadi to couture-like heights. Rahul use eve '