Earthy Roots – Culture Couture
They have almost similar sounding names; they dream the same dream and complete each other’s sentences often. Mansi and Manshi – best friends since school are the brain and face behind Earthy Roots, a brand of bags completely dedicated to Indian fabrics, textile and folk art.
Mansi, a management student, always had an inclination towards the local handcraft and art form. During a trip to Jaipur with her family she bought hand quilted bags and got fascinated with the idea of creating something that was Indian and used Indian fabric. Having worked in the fashion field, Mansi discussed the idea with Manshi who joined in to support her best friend.
The duo don’t come from a design background but have a knack for it. Once the seed of the brand was sowed they went to the books and read up about Indian fabric, textiles, handicraft and designs. “Our biggest teachers are our mistakes. We’ve learnt by doing”, says Mansi.
The four year old brand is majorly focused on hand-woven and hand-printed fabrics but also have faux leather bags, “We are trying to shift people from leather to fabric and faux leather is the transition phase. It’s fibre rexine which looks and feels like leather and gives strength which is good for laptop bags”, says Manshi, “change is gradual and we’re trying to give both options to our customers”, she adds.
The duo travels a lot to get inspiration as well as source material for the bags for example Ikat from Pochampalli in Hyderabad and block printed fabrics in Jaipur. “We work with an NGO called Anoothi in Jaipur which trains women in block printing which is largely a male dominated profession. So in a way the NGO is trying to liberate the women there and make them independent”, says Mansi. They (Mansi and Manshi) also source materials directly from the artisans avoiding the middlemen. A trip to Kutch few months ago inspired there new range that the two are working on now, “we’re working with the local weavers there and are incorporating Ajrakh print into more contemporary design. So the printing style is traditional but designs are created to suit the sensibility of today’s generation”, says Mansi.
Right from technical aspect, to design and sourcing material, it’s a two member team. They work with a master who does the final cutting and stitching of the designs. “We create samples first and use them for six months to check the durability etc before putting them into production. We also give them away to family and friends to use and give feedback”, says Manshi. The collection has around 16 different styles. For their upcoming collection the two are planning a range of festive clutches using threads and fabrics of different kinds.
Earthy Roots products can be ordered via the Facebook and Instagram page. They are also available at the GVK store at the International Airport, Malgadi in Chennai and Ambal Fort in Cochin.