Have you heard of the slow-fashion movement?
Veteran women’s fashion designer Charu Wadhwa’s slow-fashion infant wear label Qatrah is designed in New York and ethically handcrafted in India by local artisans. Using handwoven, heirloom-quality fabrics, each Qatrah piece stands out in a sea of disposable fashion with designs that endure and can be passed down for generations.
“I think slow fashion lies in the essence of the textile process of Qatrah, where materials pass through the hands of one craftsperson to the other,” Charu says. “Qatrah is an effort to eschew factory and sweatshop culture in favor of equal pay and better working conditions for our artisans to create beautifully made pieces that can be worn, treasured and handed down from one child to the next.”
Charu’s clothing designs focus on freedom of movement for babies with airy silhouettes that reflect her Indian heritage. Rompers, harem pants, low-slung trousers and cotton-silk blankets (perfect for baby’s first trip home from the hospital) round out the breezy collection for 0 to 2-year-olds, available at www.qatrah.net.
Exquisite, Enduring Artistry
Qatrah is an ode from Charu to her daughter, Aria. Her newest collection, Little White Bird, has flowy, away-from-the-body silhouettes that feature the symbolism of the bird as its central motif. Charu revives the traditional Indian crafts of Daraj (reverse applique) and Chikankari (white on white embroidery) of Lucknow, with her distinctive, intricate embroidered designs of subtle bird details and playful, colorful tassel accents. The comfortable, breathable fabrics are all lovingly hand-dyed and finished on hand looms.
Charu Wadhwa is a designer with a strong interest in sustainable practices in the fashion industry and works for the upliftment of skilled and semi-skilled craftspeople. She hopes to be part of the new wave of designers and entrepreneurs that implement more conscious and careful practices within the fashion design field.
Charu’s extensive background in high-end women’s fashion sets her apart from other micro-fashion designers. Educated at NIFT in New Delhi and FIT in NYC, she has over a decade of experience working for the most esteemed design houses, including Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. From Nicole Kidman at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Naomi Watts at the 2014 Oscars, to Katie Holmes at the Met Gala, she has been instrumental in many memorable red carpet fashion moments.
“Do you know who made your clothes?” asks Charu. “At Qatrah, we work with artisans directly and towards their upliftment!”
Now, who wouldn’t love that?