September 15, 2019 Comments (0) Views: 1191 Apparel, Design, Fashion, Textile

Wajahat Rather started Raffughar as a tribute to the traditional darners of Kashmir, to contemporize the ancient craft techniques of his home state.

‘Tarakh maal’ Afsar. Handwoven cotton silk military shirt
with minimal pleat detail above pocket.

How were you drawn to textiles?

I am from Kashmir, which is famous for its exquisite textile crafts. During my school days our neighbor, Ab Gani Padder, used to reuse old woolen carpets to make embroidered gabbas. My father had a kaleenwaan (carpet workshop) when I was a kid. Unfortunately he had to shift to a government job when there was a decline in the craft. Textile I guess was part of the daily rhythms back then and that may have helped my decision to study textiles at NID. I went on to do an MA Design – Fashion & Textile from Nottingham Trent University, UK.

How did ‘Raffughar’ come about?

During my final year project at the Craft Development Institute in Srinagar, I was working with the soznikaars (master artisans) of Kashmir who told me that their forefathers were raffoogars (darners) who would mend clothes. I decided then that whenever I had my own label I would dedicate it to the darners of Kashmir. I started Raffughar in New Delhi in 2013.

‘Qurbat’ Zoon – moonlight. Zoon – light and breezy dress made out of
handwoven cotton mul with intricate khatamband cutwork pattern.

What is Raffughar’s design philosophy?

We believe that traditional crafts are sophisticated and have refined over the years. To contemporize these authentic hand techniques that have evolved over a long time requires proper direction. We intend to revive the traditional and natural processes of craft-making in the contemporary global market scenario. We rally forward with DNC as our motto, combining Design, Nature and Crafts to yield a meaningful whole. Raffughar’s ideology revolves around studying traditional textiles, silhouettes and translating them into contemporary ensembles. Our work can be better defined as ‘Museum to Barcode’ – this defines our design process. For us clothes become a medium to tell unheard stories of art, culture and literature.

‘Tarakh maal’ Kos-e-tafseel. Handwoven silk cotton jacket
with Khatamband pleats on the cuff.

This article was originally published in POOL 108.

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