The allure of “Made in India” has a long history. In the 19th century, Western European women lusted after imported paisley shawls and still today, a trip to India is incomplete without a block-printed or woodworked souvenir. For Indians, artisanship is at the bedrock of their culture. Upon the birth of a girl in Punjab, it's long been the custom for mothers to begin embroidering a Phulkari textile for the eventual wedding. Similar traditions extend to other regions; across the nation, you'll find people who take pride in the ability to create beauty and celebrate life with the humble needle and thread.
For many, though, the craft extends beyond heritage; it's a livelihood and it's one that has been upended by the pandemic. As many retailers canceled orders and designers halted production, those farther down the supply chain, such as Indian craftspeople or karigars—a discreet but immeasurable force the keeps the global fashion system running—felt the effects.
“The magic weavers behind the clothes we wear are facing an uncertain future,” writes Vogue India. For this reason, the magazine along with the Natasha and Adar Poonawalla Foundation, has launched To India, With Love, a multi-part initiative that includes a film (that tells the story of Indian craftspeople), a charity fundraiser, and an auction. For sale are archival pieces and one-of-a-kind creations from Anita Dongre, Giambattista Valli, Giorgio Armani, Manish Malhotra, Prabal Gurung, and more. Aquazzura donated a pair of star-studded denim flats, Bibhu Mohapatra is offering a pleated skirt and blouse from a recent collection, and Naeem Khan contributes a hyper-colorful two-piece pant set.
The film premieres today and will be simulcast on Vogue India's Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube platforms today at 10am EST. Auction bids and donations can be made here. Facilitated by Give India, the funds raised will directly support karigars and allow them the basic necessities so that they can continue to make their magic.