Documenting: How Consumers Help Create their own Clothing in Hyderabad, India

With the rise of fast fashion and colonialism, slow mindful collaborations between people and craft communities has reduced significantly. People have preferred buying readymade pieces from fast fashion retailers and are losing interest in intentional clothing. Many younger folx have little idea how intricate clothing is crafted and its importance to building a slow, sustainable future. In efforts to spotlight this process and garner interest, I documented how clothing is typically created by consumers in Hyderabad and India at large.

In countries in the Global South, supporting local crafts is accessible and deeply ingrained the culture.

Handicrafts celebrate and continue the stories of our lineage.

Charminar, Hyderabad

Many pockets of Hyderabad are filled with vibrant fabrics, textiles, dye houses, artisans and tailors all skilled in producing masterful pieces. Growing up, I like many of us tagged along with my mother and grandmothers to fabric stores and handicrafts exhibitions, heavily influenced my relationship with fashion. These experiences inspired us to create, up-cycle clothes and appreciate the time and effort craftsmanship takes.

The process typically goes like this:

Consumers pick out fabrics, get them dyed in their desired color, approach artisans for embroidery or block printing, and stitched it in their desired silhouettes.

Fabric Selection

Let's begin at the fabric store. Fabric stores display a plethora of regional textiles like patola, kalamkari, bandhani, banaras, and chikankari. Rows of plain pieces line the shelves as well like cotton, linen, silk, khadi, hemp in various colors and white to be dyed in the color of your choice. The store attendants guide consumers in how much is needed for a blouse, lehenga, kurta or pant and accordingly fabric is cut.