These desi brands are keeping India’s traditions cool

Contemporary clothing, accessory and homeware makers are writing the next chapter for India’s traditional crafts

Today, Indian handicrafts and textiles are keeping up with the times as a wave of new-generation artists and entrepreneurs have found a way to make traditional crafts in a contemporary style. They are rooted in the belief in sustainability and being local. We drew up a list of brands that are making Indian crafts the next big trend.

Indian crafts made cool


Coffee tables by Vakr

Coffee tables by Vakr – Nupur Agarwal

These lunar-esque coffee tables and sculptural, suspended shelves are designed by architects Nehit Vij and Devyani Gupta, who set up their experimental studio with a mission to combine craft and modern furniture. For their first collection, Lehar, they used design-modelling software to create wave-shaped concrete pieces and retrained traditional rattan weavers from Uttar Pradesh to make parametric textures. Website


Gauri Verma and Karuna Laungani of Jodi

Gauri Verma and Karuna Laungani of Jodi – Nupur Agarwal

With their imaginative patterns and vibrant colours, Jodi’s dresses, jackets and menswear move beyond the stereotypical look of block-printed Rajasthani and Gujarati clothing into something modern and more conceptual. Its founders, former fashion stylists Karuna Laungani and Gauri Verma, are inspired by their travels across India to produce signature prints with pomegranates, Bengal tigers and parrots rendered in hand-block printing and clamp dyeing. Website

Heirloom Naga

These desi brands are keeping Indias traditions cool
Heirloom Naga

Jesmina Zeliang trained a network of more than 450 rural, home-based artisans to weave on the flexible loin loom, or back-strap loom, to create textiles and decorative pieces that are “a confluence of traditional practices and modern design”. Now stocked at Daylesford Organic and The Citizenry in New York, the range includes classic throws and cushion covers in tactile, natural materials such as cotton and eri silk, with a timeless aesthetic. Zeliang also makes fans and wooden figurines, bamboo-woven pieces and rustic woodwork. Website


Sangaru's Flame back red chair

Sangaru’s Flame back red chair – Sandeep Sangaru

Sandeep Sangaru knows that the key to preserving crafts is to instil the makers with pride so the younger generation will want to continue their lineage. “Craft had to go from something that hangs on a wall to something people use in their daily lives,” he says. His portfolio runs the gamut from intricate cabinets of Kashmiri latticework to a Channapatna bed made of 108 lacquered pieces; to complex bamboo installations showcased at Varana in London. He’s also been commissioned to create a bamboo café for Frankfurt’s Ambiente trade fair. Website

Sheetal Zaveri

Sultana earrings by Sheetal Zaveri

Sultana earrings by Sheetal Zaveri – Gaurab Ganguli

Hyderabad-based Zaveri and her husband Hitesh are fourth-generation jewellers who work with artisans descended from the makers of the famous Nizam of Hyderabad gems. She creates intricately carved pieces with whimsical twists—her two-tone earrings, neckpieces, bracelets and rings are crafted predominantly from sterling silver with gold polish, in the kundan tradition, for which gemstones are set into gold foil. “I love religious motifs such as bulls and birds on contemporary chokers and charm bracelets,” she says. Website


Wool jacket and tunic by Injiri

Wool jacket and tunic by Injiri – Wrap and design pvt ltd

Growing up in Rajasthan, a state known for its handicrafts, Chinar Farooqui developed a deep appreciation for such skills and founded Injiri in 2009 to celebrate India’s living craft traditions. Her goal was to create and nurture long-lasting relationships with artisans producing Madras check cotton, Dhakai jamdani muslin, Kachchi bandhani tie-dyed fabrics, Lucknowi chikankari embroidery and Bhujodi turban weaves. The result is a collection of vibrant dresses, jackets and stoles in relaxed, trend-defying silhouettes, plus timeless pieces for the home. Website


Sustainable bamboo trays by Mianzi

Sustainable bamboo trays by Mianzi  – Shashank Gautam

This prize-winning outfit produces lights, home accessories and slick modular furniture using the craft of bamboo weaving from India’s north-east states. “As a child, I spent a lot of time in my grandfather’s rickshaw repair workshop, watching him solve problems with his hands,” says its industrial-designer founder Shashank Gautam, who has also created a prototype for a bamboo e-bike. Website


10ft Bamboo chandelier by Ikkis

10ft Bamboo chandelier by Ikkis  – Gunjan Gupta

Gunjan Gupta’s collectible chairs have been displayed at Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and the Vitra Schaudepot in Germany. She is known for sleek products that are machine-made and then finished by hand—terracotta-coated brass jugs, hand-enamelled chai cups Champagne flutes and brass-and-marble bucket vases. Limited-edition pieces made in collaboration with master crafters include stone carvings, bidri (metal) work and terracotta pottery. Now she has launched Ikkis, an accessible homeware line that blends the Indian aesthetic with international style. Website


Orvi Flora Collective

Orvi Flora Collective – Sanjeev Agrawal

This Jaipur-based homeware brand works with lesser-known crafts such as tarkashi—for which copper or silver wire is inlaid into wood, micro mosaic and Japanese raku-fired pottery. Founder Sanjeev Agrawal wanted to help artisans in danger of losing their livelihoods and invested in research and development to introduce technology to age-old crafts. “People love handcrafted things but you need to give them the right aesthetic,” he says. The bestsellers are intricate floors and surfaces, inlay furniture, bookends and vases. Website

Varnam Craft Collective

Varnam Craft Collective Bangles

Varnam Craft Collective Bangles – Karthik Vaidyanathan

Karthik Vaidyanathan’s Bengaluru boutique is filled with an innovative homeware range inspired by 200-year-old Channapatna lacquer work: paper-towel holders; door stoppers; bar accessories—all gleaming with natural dyes in tones of mustard, indigo and forest green. His toy collection goes beyond decorative dolls to make engaging games based on Montessori and Waldorf philosophies. Website

SMR Days

Outfit from SMR

Outfit from SMR – Anubhav Syal

Stocked at London stores like Harrods and Browns, this menswear brand subtly mixes textile crafts such as chikankari and ikat with contemporary resort-wear shapes. It is known for its breezy separates in breathable fabrics including cotton, silk and linen. Founders Adam Shapiro, Dan May and Gautam Rajani visited more than 27 factories, weavers and artisans all over India before launching, and they work with the Sangraha Institute in Lucknow to produce playful motifs such as palm trees in traditional needlework. Website

Boond Fragrances

Handmade packaging by Boond

Handmade packaging by Boond – Krati Tandon

Siblings Krati and Varun Tandon started this label in their hometown of Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, a place regarded as the perfume capital of India, in 2021. The brand links makers of ittr, perfumes made with the thousand-year-old deg bhapka method of distilling petals, with new sources of income. The deeply nostalgic scents include motiya (jasmine), maati (petrichor), khus (vetiver) and gulabi (Indian rose). They are sold in boxes wrapped in handmade paper, with a hand-written poem penned by the duo’s father. Website

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