For Production With A Creative Edge, Designers Turn to India


Prada Made in India shoes

High-end Indian craftsmanship is the secret to some big brands’ more detailed components, while smaller outlets are relying on textile production in the region.  Who knew?  As the fashion industry increasingly turns to the country for quality production, the rest of the world needs to distance itself from the idea that the country is solely a source for cheap goods.  Let’s take a look at who’s moving factories into India:

  • Prada has had its garments embroidered in India since the 1990s, and in 2010 launched a “Made in India” collection that specifically celebrated its styles made in the country.  The project was part of a wider effort to have various parts of Prada’s collection made by the best artisans in different parts of the world.
  • Like Prada, Blumarine turns to India for Chikan embroidery, a traditional form of craftsmanship generally passed from father to son, since about 1500.
  • We’ve been watching the IOU Project since its launch last year — the madras-centric company was founded specifically to employ traditional Indian weavers and keep their unique textiles in wide production.   Shoppers can watch every part of the production of their clothes via webcam.
  • On a smaller scale, but similar to the IOU Project, Dries van Noten has worked with the same Calcutta family on its embroidery for 25 years.  Rather than send instructions on what to embroider, the designer employs a go-between to foster a creative relationship in which the two parties inform each other on the final designs.

Meanwhile, over in China, the haute end of the country’s domestic fashion industry is experiencing a re-birth.  As countries typically associated with inexpensive goods become more widely regarded for their high-end craftsmanship, will the “Made in Italy” tag lose its luster?  Or, in a more positive light, perhaps quality manufacturing techniques are surging worldwide — after all, even “Made in America” is experiencing a little renaissance at the moment.


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