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NAMG
 
Indian Art
 
THE HOUSE OF RAISONS
 

Since 1969, House Of Raisons has worked with handcrafted textiles, experimenting with weaves from all over the nation and bringing these crafts closer to us. Today, Raisons is continuously endeavouring to discover the finest weavers, artisans and craftsmen and strives to re-interpret ancient weaves. In 2003, NIFT graduate Gaurav Gupta joined the brand, giving it a millennial dimension. In conversation with him.

 

The House Of Raisons is renowned for reinterpreting age-old Indian textile craft. How challenging is it to craft modern, globally relevant design with handloom textiles straight from the looms?

Well, it is only as challenging as getting to work every day. It has become a way of life for us at the House of Raisons. Its challenging only in the sense that it keeps us going on and on, and keeps dull days away. I feel, RELEVANCE is the key word. No matter which craft sector we are working with, our objective is to make the end result relevant in terms of design and form. The challenge in the process for us — a small scale enterprise — are no different from any big design house churning new collections every fortnight, except the  production limitations. Infact, the limitations of production allow us to come with a lot more variations in design, as the minimum production runs are very easily consumed. At times, the challenge is to convince the artisan to weave a non-traditional design. They are wary of trying innovations, as these designs do not sell in their traditional markets. And they fear if for some reason we do not pick up deliveries of our orders for minor or major design deviations, they will be stuck with huge stocks. So we have to provide them assurance of purchasing defective or incorrect production runs, which is quite a challenge. But there is no other way.

 

Was it tough or did the family linage carve inroads?

It was never tough. I admit that my father's passion for Indian crafts and his extensive research and travelling helped me immensely in getting acceptance from the weaving community. It didn't take me long to understand that the most important factor in this field was the trust and acceptance of this community. They would choose who to work with based on their gut feel. Once in, I had my share of mistakes and problems, and only after I realised these clusters and weavers can't be managed like a factory with planning sheets- spec sheets- deadlines et al that things became smoother.

 

Is it difficult working with weaver clusters nationwide? Do share some experiences.

It is difficult only if you believe its difficult. If you accept the following with a SMILE, nothing will seem difficult — the logistics and accessibility issues — the language and communication — irregular production and despatch schedules — incorrect interpretation of the design specs — embracing imperfections and constantly innovating helps in adjusting to the difficulties.

 

What are your efforts towards the social upliftment of weavers clusters and handloom textiles?

Honestly, none, apart from giving them committed work 365 days a year, and making timely payments even if stocks remain unsold. So, there Is no SOCIAL OR CHARITY work that we are involved in as of now. I ALSO feel, ethical business terms with these clusters also help in a big way in their upliftment.

  

Speaking of your brand... do share your design aesthetic with us Gaurav.

Our brand  aesthetic is 'less is more'. It's funny but the brief for each collection is the same: 'keep it simple with a  soul’.

Geometry inspires me, and its influence can be seen in almost all our collections. I find it everywhere in this developing India… bridges, pillars, metro, high storeys, skyscrapers, roads, overhead electric lines!!

 

Are you someone who is a traditionalist at the core but is unafraid to experiment with ancient textile craft to make it relevant today?

Yes, thank you for putting it so simply. I never thought of it but the answer has to be yes. I am definitely a traditionalist, and in an attempt to modernise the craft, we do experiment with colors, patterns and weaving techniques. Our efforts in this direction resulted in successfully achieving placement jaamdani weaving, which has never been done before in this country.

 

Do you feel handmade products, particularly textiles, are luxury in the purest sense?

Oh yes, absolutely.  To me luxury is to be sipping your favourite drink, on a rocking chair, overlooking a lush green field. And in doing so, the most difficult thing to arrange is TIME. Time is luxury. So any of these handcrafted textile products, which take days, and at times months, to make a single product are a true symbol of luxury. Of course it comes at a cost. Power loom versions of any handloom design come at 40 per cent the cost.

 

What can we expect in the near future from The House Of Raisons?

You should expect more innovations by inter crossing of different weaving sectors.  We are working on using innovative yarns in traditional weaving centres like Maheshwar and Chanderi. Can't disclose much at this stage!!

— JASMEEN DUGAL
 
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