India is a colourful and visually rich country, which by extension, informs the common perception of it’s textile crafts and clothing. A less spoken about side to this ancient culture though, is that it is also home to the opposite aesthetic- Kora or undyed cloth, shades of white and the practical minimalism of the drape versus cut and sewn garments. Tilla locates itself on the cusp between these two worlds and celebrates both expressions with equal interest.
Our clothing for the day is pared down and clean, designed with function at it’s centre. Hand-drawn prints and bold, graphic separates bring contrast to an otherwise traditional palette of base fabrics from khadi cotton to gossamer chanderi silks.
For the evening, we go all out and offer metallic, embroidered kurtas and dresses that capture the lightness of our standard line, infused with that little extra glamour. Every detail is impeccably handcrafted, from the motifs to the hems, with the inside of each piece being as beautiful as the outside.
At the very core, our values stem from the handmade and self-reliant nature of village crafts. We believe in sustaining the relationships we start with communities by working with them over long periods of time instead of using their skills for just one season. Craft is a complex inter-related ecosystem that supports over 10 million artisans across the country. We are always aligning our production and design practices to bring growth to this system, instead of following fashion trends that tend to be short lived and transient.
Jamdani is a fine, translucent cotton fabric from Bengal that is woven with motifs using the inlay technique. It is ideal for summer and is traditionally worn after being starched to crispness.
Chanderi is a silk- cotton weave with a gentle sheen that gets it’s name from the town in Madhya Pradesh where it originated. It can be woven plain or with zari (metallic thread) and can be worn in several layers because of it’s lightness.
Tilla’s best loved textiles are bold, graphic prints in black and white which are inspired from Indian trees- peepal, neem, gulmohar, aam, badaam etc.
Roghan is a block printing technique that uses a thick, viscous paste made from castor oil, that is either applied with a wooden block or stick, or pressed through a brass stencil onto the fabric. The print is then dusted with metallic powder or fine cotton flock, giving it a raised, tactile surface.
Beadwork is an ancient craft practiced in Saurashtra and other parts of Gujarat. Tilla’s use of this craft extends it to shaped pieces such as collars, epaulettes and cuffs, making it an integral part of the garment rather than surface embellishment.
Khadi is handspun and handwoven fabric, and is the heart of Indian textiles. It can be woven as cotton or silk, and is often worn kora or undyed in it’s natural shade of white. Historically, khadi came to symbolise India’s self reliance and resistance to British colonial rule, by rejecting foreign goods for local cloth instead. Today, it is a way of life that aims to put democratic systems of production back into each village and supports fair trade and transparent supply chains.
Our evening line is called Naqshi tara and refers to the metallic threads and motifs used in Zardosi, Pitta, Ari and Badla embroidery. These techniques of gold and silver embellishment are used on kurtas, abhos, dresses and lehengas that we offer for more formal wear, while retaining the lightness that characterises a tilla garment.
Photo credit: Paulami Dev Varman.
Photo credit - Naqshi tara: Rohan Doshi.