Pooja Rajput’s Chidiyaa brand is intended to evoke nostalgia in the wearer, bringing to the fore memories of beautiful times past
What took you from computers to fashion?
PR: I have always been creative, and immensely enjoy that part of me. As a child, I was always inclined towards art but coming from a middle-class family our priority was always to get a stable job with a steady income. That’s how Computer Engineering happened, but my heart wasn’t into coding. Even while I was doing a corporate job I always managed to keep myself creatively involved with all the people and HR engagement activities. Life was good, but I knew this wasn’t my calling. I needed a more fulfilling medium of expression and so Chidiyaa happened.
What does the Chidiyaa brand stand for?
PR: Chidiyaa is not a product, it’s an emotion. It is the nostalgic feeling that makes you happy; that takes you to your childhood or the good old days. It does not make you sad that they’re over but brings back the fond memories. Chidiyaa is a community of women who think alike, who have a mind of their own but are still emotionally vulnerable. Chidiyaa is about the honest artisan who is making his living by doing what he does best.
What did it take to establish your network of artisans across India?
PR: In the entire design process the artisan is the hero. If not for him I couldn’t create what I imagined. To understand and value this is very important. Artisans who have been working with us over the years are now our family and understand our design philosophy very well. But this wasn’t easy.
The first year of starting Chidiyaa was all about product development. I had to travel extensively to remote villages to understand different printing and weaving techniques and what craft would best suit my style. It needed a lot of experiments to finally come up with something that was close to the concept design.