In a country like India where there are 29 states and 7 union territories with a population of approximately 1.38 billion, with a vast spread culture and heritage filled with a number of unique practices and interests. One such cultural and traditional interest is art form. The heritage of India goes back to a long time and gradually there have been so many significant changes.
In India there are various art forms famous in their respective places and are presented in various ways. Label Pratham is one such brand which has come up with the idea to bring traditional art forms closer to you in the form of sarees and other fashion wear.
The idea of something like this doesn’t come over night. It all started a long time back when Prashant Garg and Shweta Garg got married and their artistic and creative interests aligned together. They started entertaining their interests and making something creative together.
For the initial 7-8 years the Garg couple would buy fabric and design sarees out of it. They would just make these designer sarees for themselves or their relatives and friends. When people started liking it, they thought of putting up a shop in an exhibition. In 2011 they did a small exhibition in Delhi with only a collection of 25 designer sarees. When the result didn’t come great it dissuaded them.
After about two years in 2013, they realised people were getting more and more interested in designer sarees and this made them think of giving their idea another shot. This time they thought of doing something exclusive, instead of doing same kind of sarees. At that time they came around the idea of Pichwai. The history of Pichwai goes back to about 400 years from now. It is an art form,which has its origins in Nathdwra, near Udaipur in Rajasthan. The Pichwai paintings depicts stories of Lord Krishna’s life and his leelas. The word Pichwai comes from two words – Pichh meaning ‘at the back’ and wai meaning painting. The paintings were hung at the back of Lord Sreenathji (7 year old form of Lord Krishna) to educate people on Lord Krishna’s story. It is a long lost art form and Prashant Garg with the help of his wife Shweta Garg thought of bringing this art form back and creating something unique.
In 2015 they came up with remarkable concepts to make sarees based on this art form. They created fusion by amalgamating contemporary and traditional concepts. While on one hand it was digital printing & linen fabric forming the contemperory parts and on the other hand they were bringing back this relevant old traditional art form in handloom sarees. This was the first time they were coming up with handloom sarees as well as such with a unique concept behind it. By the end of the year they were ready with about 15 sarees.
In 2016 the label Pratham showcased their collection of Pichwai sarees in an exhibition and was astonished to know that most people weren’t aware of what Pichwai is. This gave them immense pride to know that they are actually making people know about an old lost traditional art form of Indian culture and their collection sold in no time.
All this process of researching, getting the best fabric, sketching, designing, manufacturing and retailing sarees gave them an exposure to it as well as they enjoyed educating more and more people about Indian culture. This made them dig deeper into the heritage of India and the humongous varieties found in different places and different states of India. It seems like every place has its own tale and presenting it to the world is very important.
They kept on experimenting with various art forms as well as various ways of making sarees. They tried the process of digital printing on handlooms to contemporary designs on linen fabric. They started collaborating with other craft forms and doing justice to them in their own unique way. They went on to making Jamdani & batik sarees famous in Bengal, followed by handwoven Paithani sarees of Maharashtra, ajrakh of Gujrat & handpainted sarees among many others. When they started with this brand they were unaware that they would come this far and do such authentic gorgeous fashion wear. Currently they have also added Kalamkari, Chikankari as well as Phulkari sarees to their list.
Label Pratham is known for their traditionally creative as well as authentic sarees but they have also come up with lehengas, designer blouses, gowns, dupattas, belts, stoles, face masks, jewellery and wall art too. The price range of saree starts from about Rs.16k - Rs.18k and go up to Rs.50k - Rs.55k depending on the type. They are shipping worldwide with customers in US, UK, Singapore and Australia as well.
An Indian brand paying tribute to traditional art form, giving recognition to them on a global level, making contemporary designer sarees as well and creating everything from scratch is rare to find. They maintain their authenticity through their work and give the best out to the people.