David Abraham on Abraham and Thakore’s latest collection made of upcycled materials

Ektaa Malik
Designer David Abraham, Rakesh Thakore recycled fashion, indian express talk, indian express news

David Abraham (right) and Rakesh Thakore.

Stray scraps of cloth and abstract pieces of cut fabrics might be usually thrown away by designers and tailors, but for the past couple of months these ‘katrans’, as they are popularly called in Hindi, were carefully salvaged and kept safe at the Noida workshop of designers David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore, the eponymous names behind the label Abraham and Thakore (AnT).

In fact, the scraps have found a place of pride in their latest collection made of up-cycled material and recycled clothing. The 40-pieces were unveiled on the weekend at the ‘Conscious Culture Design Fair — Future Collective’ at Bikaner House in Delhi. Instead of having models wear the creations, the duo chose to hang them from wooden beams, with a humble twine rope. The effect was akin to that of an art installation. “People should be able to touch and feel clothes. Also, models just go past so fast, there is no time to take in the construction, which is the draw for these particular designs,” shares Abraham.

Designer David Abraham, Rakesh Thakore recycled fashion, indian express talk, indian express news

A design from their latest collection

We see interpretations and variations of classic AnT silhouettes in the collection. It boasts the signature colour palette of the label — black and white — with a hint of beige. The collection features dresses, long jackets, cropped shrugs, culottes, pants and simple shirts. For the embellishments, we see ample patchwork and homely cross-stitch. “We used classic styles and our most popular shapes from over the years. We wanted to make them as accessible as possible. It should be easy to wear as people are already wrapping their head around the fact that this has been pieced together bit-by-bit, that’s enough of a new idea,” says Delhi-based Abraham. He adds, “It was difficult in some ways as the extra stray cloths are abstract shaped. We had to patch them together and re-cut them again. It was much more labourious than making a fresh piece.”

The fashion world, globally and now also in India, is increasingly witnessing conversations around upcycling and conscious fashion, given the high amount of waste that is generated from the industry. This collection is an attempt to be aware and mindful of the same, feels Abraham. “India has always had a tradition of upcycling and reusing. The most obvious example is Kantha, which in West Bengal is a highly appreciated craft. It really developed when all the old mulmul saris were patched together to make quilts,” says he, adding, “Upcycling is something that we have been doing. In the old days, I was told in Rajasthan you had a dyer in all corners of the towns and villages. The ghagras and odhnis, coloured in tie-dye pattern, would be worn till they were too faded and then re-dyed."

Designer David Abraham, Rakesh Thakore recycled fashion, indian express talk, indian express news

A design from their latest collection

Abraham feels that we as a society and the fashion fraternity need to go back to the old systems. Additionally, we need to be aware that several people don’t even have access to fashion. “I think, we, the fashion world, live in our own bubble. But we come from a tradition where old clothes were bartered for new utensils. I know we can’t just stop making clothes and people won’t stop buying them, but we can be mindful at least. Invest in classic pieces which will last,” he adds.