At Kacha Tanka we fasten together pieces of Indian crafts, techniques and textiles with contemporary silhouettes, to create garments that make the wearer feel localised yet relevant to the modern lifestyle. Feeling localised is a way of being connected to our Indian ethnicity and roots.
Our design sensibilities are an amalgamation of our inherent Indian aesthetic, and our love for contemporary silhouettes. With our colourful and diverse cultural heritage as a base, we play around with contemporary shapes to make fun, vibrant clothing that can be dressed up or dressed down in a whole lot of ways.
Inspired by a flower motif from one of the family’s ancestral havelis, my father drew a pattern. While he lovingly restored the structure of our century-old home, he recreated this pattern on the walls. I’ve grown up seeing this motif, and it has become a symbol of home and comfort in my heart. To carry a little piece of home with us in our journey, we made this motif our visual identity, our logo.
KACHA TANKA — THE STORY
Carefully cut pieces of fabric are laid out on a table, like pieces of a puzzle waiting to become one. My grandmother, Badi Mama, loosely fastens them together with long stitches, until the pieces come together into a lovely, flowy frock. Dancing and twirling in it, I’ll go on to spend a beautiful summer. This is where Kacha Tanka was born - in some of my fondest childhood memories.
Ghasipura, the village we live in, was part of a zamindara run by my forefathers. Afternoons at home were filled with the sweet hum of my grandmother's sewing machine. In all my memories of her, she's creating or mending things. She was up-cycling fabric at a time when the term didn’t exist - she made durries, peedhas, and blankets to keep the cows warm, all with katran (waste fabric). From her, my mother learnt how to sew, and used her newly-acquired skill to give family heirlooms a new lease of life. She restored my great-grandmother's old lehengas, and made bolero jackets out of sarees that couldn't be mended, to wear with suits in the winter. She was a keen follower of fashion trends, and loved recreating things that she admired in magazines, but couldn’t get her hands on. Learning from these two women, I realised that skill can be the most valuable inheritance. It not only helps us bond with our loved ones, but gives us the power to shape our lives with our own bare hands.
Kacha Tanka started out as a clothing line, but I envision it being a thread that binds a whole community. With a few women from Ghasipura village already being part of our team, we are working towards equipping and employing many more. Plans for a sewing and crafts training school in the village are well underway.