AN NGO STITCHING TRENDY DESIGNS WITH TRADITIONAL CRAFTS - The Daily Guardian
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AN NGO STITCHING TRENDY DESIGNS WITH TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

Anshu Khanna

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Philanthropy and royalty go hand in hand. Every royal is taught to give back to the society and also to imbibe the culture of their heritage. They are made to respect the tradition of patronizing what is handmade by artists and craftsmen residing in their region – which is something that Princess Gauravi Kumari of Jaipur, like many of her blue blooded contemporaries, has imbibed and worked on with utmost perfection. This Diwali, she breathes new life into a design-driven and craft-based NGO, PDKF.

Revving up the merchandise of the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, started by her mother Princess Diya and now adopted by her, she presents a collection of silhouettes made from the finest cotton, block-printed, textured and embroidered by craftswomen.

This Diwali, as the world fights for sustenance during a gloomy pandemic, the young princess, back home from NYU and taking online classes, has joined hands with her mother and created a collection for PDKF that is chic, design forward, international in taste, and yet steeped in the craft heritage of Rajasthan. All set to flag off a standalone store within her home, the City Palace of Jaipur, Gauravi, a student of Fashion Marketing and Management, is giving traditional craft a much needed contemporary shot in the arm.

Gauravi is very happy with her role at PDKF. “The women are making such exquisite products. Their mastery over their craft is remarkable. All they need is to nudge their design sensibility in the right direction and turn PDKF into a great rooted, craft-based, and globally relevant brand,” she says. Hence, Gauravi is busy designing bags, accessories, fashion knick-knacks and dresses with the craftswomen. Gauravi has also collaborated with French designer Claire Deroo to create kaftans, shrugs, shift dresses and resort wear that can belong both in the palace shop and in a multi-brand designer outlet.

The PDKF outlet and online store will showcase the work of the women artisans trained at the foundation to a global audience. It is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional crafts of Rajasthan. “Our idea is to create something trendy with traditional,” says Gauravi.  The foundation trains women in heritage and traditional craft techniques like gota patti, thread work, appliqué, and block printing. The collection will range from garments to accessories and will mainly feature the old techniques with modern designs.

Princess Diya Kumari Foundation has been working for over seven years for the empowerment of disadvantaged women and girls in the rural areas of Rajasthan. PDKF works in five centres across Rajasthan and the core program areas are skill building and livelihoods, girls’ education, financial and digital literacy and health and hygiene.

The objective of the PDKF store is to promote and enhance the skills of the women artisans at PDKF. The shop and the design intervention of Gauravi will provide their competence with an international platform and pave the way for their economic and overall empowerment, “which for me and the family is of utmost importance,” shares Gauravi.

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