Aab Label: Bringing Back Phulkari’s Traditional Hand-embroidery

The business was founded in 2021 and is owned by Shreya Mehra, a media alumnus from the London School of Economics and Political Science. It emphasizes everything Indian. Each piece of Aab is delicately made from cloth that is entirely handmade and then manually embroidered with dazzling silk thread using ancient Phulkari techniques. The company also has a committed team of traditional artisans, researchers, designers, technical specialists, and others who all work together to advance this particular skill and all of its facets.

When did you start AAB Label and what was the thought behind starting it?

Incepted in 2020. Launched in 2021. Idea was to bring back the handcrafted Phulkari. Aab started with a vision to revive handcrafted Phulkari and take it global. Aab has been shaped by the philosophy that our culture grounds us, when art & culture aren’t preserved a part of us that was shaped by it also breaks. Thus, in reviving a fading folk art we are connecting people to their cultural legacies & roots and The only way to do so is by contemporizing it.

How did you keep yourself motivated in this journey? Was there any role model?

I realised early on that the key is to remain consistent. I always had faith in my idea followed by good response & feedback.

What is your view on the Traditional Art of India and how was your interest developed in this?

Phulkari is deeply ingrained in Punjab’s cultural fabric, and the details that distinguish it make it a versatile craft, but this colourful and ancient hand-embroidery technique is gradually fading. Growing up in Punjab, I was always fascinated by art, history, and culture.What I had read about Punjab’s art history and culture was nothing like what I saw. Much had been lost as a result of the partition. That’s when I began researching art, history, and culture, and I discovered various art forms in Punjab and India. I began looking for hand-embroidered Phulkari and purchased a jacket for a friend using an antique piece solely for the purpose of gifting a piece of culture. The lack of variety compelled me to conduct research and understand why – when I finally decided to reimagine Phulakri, I visited numerous Phulklari clusters to gather information. I’d seen the antique pieces and recognised the true beauty of the craft. And that’s when I realised, ‘If I can’t find it, why not make it?’ There has been no turning back since.

As an entrepreneur, what all challenges did you face while bringing this brand into existence?

Quite a lot! First – I came from a non-fashion background, so understanding the basics and knitty gritties of the fashion & textiles industry was a major challenge. Second, the idea was to revive a craft which is fading and that too bring good quality to it. It was a task to find artisans who could provide good craftsmanship since much of the skill used in Phulkari was lost during the partition.

How do you make sure the brand resonates with the art form?

In reimagining Phulkari, we make sure that we don’t change the technique and characteristics of the folk embroidery. Thus, while we create new designs – techniques of embroidery and characteristics remain the same. Additionally, we use the same raw material as the antique Phulkaris i.e. patt silk threads and khadi fabrics. Thus, while the form of the garment has changed – the raw materials and skills used remain the same.
What all platforms do you use for advertising? Did this help you reach the target audience?
Yes, we are an online first platform and dominantly focussed on Social media & Influencer marketing. It is helping us reach the right audience – we can see some organic growth too. There has been an increase in awareness for the brand too.
How do you plan on taking this brand onto a global level?
We hope to take this global very soon. The idea is to start collaborating with influencers and promoting the product using new media and available social platforms. We are also in discussions with MBOs about presenting our collection offline so that customers can experience it.
This article is drafted by Prittle Prattle News in the form of an Interview.
Must Read – Andhra Pradesh
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