By Hand From The Heart is a biannual Makers Market held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Designers of sustainable clothing & accessories for children; made from natural fibres, organic fabrics & herbal dyes.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
‘Love the world today’, is co-founded by my sister, Dipti Daryanani Ahuja and me (Dipna). We grew up to take on very different work paths. Dipti has been a marketing professional and was working in a corporate job for 10 years plus. While I am currently managing multiple careers – working as an educator and a movement artist. Somewhere on these two starkly different paths, we managed finding a common ground and a common search, which got us started with ‘Love the World Today’ – a sustainable clothing line for children.
Dipti always wanted to start something on her own. For me, nothing gives me more joy than creating, irrespective of the medium, be it body or lesson plans or clothes. But it was essential for both of us to do something with purpose. Which is where our interests met. With a 3 year old in the house, we always felt the need for clothes that looked good but were also comfortable and made from child friendly fabrics. A simple question of where does all the trash go and stumbling upon fashion industry’s little secrets in our research made us backtrack and think about what goes into creating something? Can we ever stop consuming? What is the meaning of sustainability? Are we doing enough to make this world better? And that is when we realised something needs to change. And that is how our journey with ‘Love the World Today’ started.
We decided to make clothes that treat the environment, the people involved and the processes with love, care and fairness. We want our children to care about the little big things in life.
How would you describe what you do; and how long have you been making and creating?
Simply put, we create. We create designs. We create clothes. We create experiments. We create an environment for work. We create a value system in the processes at ‘Love the World Today’. We create joy for ourselves. We create!! Oh, and we also collaborate.
We started discussing, ideating, researching sometime in 2014 and launched on 9th October 2015. So we are just a few months old at the moment.
Tell us about your recent works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
We make clothes for children in the age of 1 to 6 years. We use organic fabrics, handwoven fabrics, khadi, herbal dyes and azo free dyes to make our clothes. Our first collection is called – ‘Once Upon a Cotton Cloud’ inspired by our love for cloud gazing. It’s an all organic (fabrics) and
herbal dyed line of tops, dresses, skirts and shirts. We even have an accessories line (brooches, hair ties and tassels) made by upcycling our production scrap. So our accessories are made from organic fabric as well!
We are underway our second collection and nightwear collection. We can’t reveal much about our second collection yet but that is what we will be bringing to Chennai in February. All we can say is that our inspiration for the second collection is ‘The Winter Sun’.
Can you describe your work place / space?
We have a little cozy studio where we usually spend the day if we are not meeting people.
We dream of moving into a space of our own at some point with lots of windows, natural light, a small garden and collected knick knacks that tell stories all over the place.
What is a typical day at “Love the World Today” like.
No two days are ever the same at ‘Love the World Today’, maybe that is what keeps us going with such joy cause each day ends up being an experience. The only thing constant is our relationship – being sisters. So a lot of times you can expect bickering, laughter, many dabbas (food is the only other constant at Love the World Today) and mother/aunt duties for the 3 year old in our lives!
Sometimes we spend our days day-dreaming about all the things we want to create for children. Sometimes it’s about travelling, meeting new people, attending workshops and learning new skills. Sometimes it’s about meeting people who we look at as possible collaborators and beautiful conversations about design, textile, children and the community.
Sometimes it’s about experimenting and stitching by hand.
To cut it short, there is never a typical day at Love the World Today.
What/who inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration?
We feel grateful for the childhood we’ve had. I think having shared childhood and being raised in the same environment, it’s easy for us to connect, associate and dig into memories.
Our childhood has had a big influence on who we are, our idea of life and what we do. And we have to thank our parents for that.
Our father has been the biggest influencer. He ensured we spent a lot of time in nature, a lot of time enjoying nothingness and play, spent a lot of time hearing bedtime stories. We saw our mother and father work hard and true. So much so, that we had a little quote framed and put up in our living room through our growing up years that spoke about the joy of working – ‘No matter what ails you, work. Work faithfully and work with faith’
So our inspiration to work the way we do and think the way we do definitely comes from our childhood.
For design inspiration, we have a little one at home. Observing her helps us keep in mind that clothes for children need to be breathable and hassle free.
Our design philosophy is simple, ‘Let them be little’
Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
It usually starts with something that’s on our mind, like for the previous collection, it was clouds. We then chalk out a colour palette and design elements we are inspired to work with in that phase. This is followed by fabric selection. Usually this is a stage where we face a sort of a halt because working with organic fabrics, herbal dyes and small quantities has it’s restrictions. Then we sample, resample, re-resample till we feel we have the details in place and are production ready. Another big part of our process is collaborations. We feel that if you truly want to make a difference in this day and age, then you’ve got to address to the needs rather than think of yourself. The best solution is to collaborate with like minded people. It makes change making quicker, growing easy and possibilities endless.
I think the most enjoyable part is always the process. So much transition happens through the process. It’s almost like at the end of every process, you learn something new about yourself. You change too.
But we love when people walk upto us and tell us ‘Your clothes make us want to have babies’. We’ve even had some older people walk up to us and say ‘Where were you guys when our children were little’
The most beautiful part has to be thinking about how a little piece of something, made with love in one part of the world, reaches another faraway place in the world. We’ve had an old couple from Greece pick up something for their grand daughter, our nieces wearing our clothes in San Francisco, and then a mother from Madhya Pradesh picking up clothes for her daughter.
Isn’t it wonderful? Knowing our lovely organic herbal dyed outfits will be worn by children somewhere faraway makes the process worth every bit of struggle and nervousness.
Also, knowing that little by little you’re helping the sustainable community grow. What’s the point of a creative process if it doesn’t cause some shift somewhere.
What’s the best thing about being a crafter / designer?
The best part has to be that you just never stop learning. You are constantly pushed to create, to innovate. And the learning is never restricted to the demands of your profession. You end up learning so much about who you are when you design. The choices you make show so much of who you are. The most enriching part has to be that to be able to give, you need to first fill yourself up. And this filling up yourself and giving process is continuous.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
I’d say don’t care about creating something that people like or demand. Create something that ‘you’ genuinely want to create because then you’re sharing something honest. When you’re selling your work, you’re sharing a part of who you are with the world. And that is something that you should always remember.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
A lot of exciting collaborations and new product lines lined up for the coming months. Sometimes we feel, there are too many ideas and only two people!