Fashion Designer & Owner
A Humming Way
My latest collection Matsutake symbolises strength, ebullience, immortality
A Humming Way (AHW) is inspired by the old-world regalia of Rajasthan state in India. The label's taste in clothing is classic, with clean and modern sensibilities in monotones, cutting across the borders and corners of the world. AHW showcased its spring/summer'20 collection Matsutake at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Designer and owner Sweta Agarwal was one of the six designers at the Emerging Designer Collective at NYFW. Agarwal talks about her experience at an international fashion week and the growing prominence of khadi globally.
Fibre2Fashion: Why did you decide to take part in NYFW? Is there a growing interest from US and other Western customers?
The brand's collection and design aesthetics since the beginning has been that of street style, which is very much New York. This is what I call two collections going hand in hand. Going New York, going West was always something that was hovering over our mind, although we thought it was too soon for us to take the leap. Fortunately, by God's grace, they were the ones who found us and thought we should be part of their shows. That was when we thought it was time to launch ourselves there.
Fibre2Fashion: What excites your clientele abroad the most about your clothing?
Being very new to them, I cannot pinpoint anything specific, saying this is what happens, but what I have realised is our take on this interesting fabric khadi. They love the fabric, the feel of it and what amuses them is the versatile experiments we do with the fabric.
Fibre2Fashion: Tell us a bit about your latest collection.
Fibre2Fashion: How different are fashion weeks abroad from the ones in India?
Fibre2Fashion: Where do you source all the hand-woven fabrics and khadi for your collections?
I source khadi from various regions of India, mostly from a few villages near Ahmedabad. We don't merely source, we have a collaboration of sorts, where we have adopted one or two villages from where we get the khadi. We also source from some places in Jharkhand, West Bengal and are now also trying to source from South India.
Fibre2Fashion: Do you have your own weaving workshop or do you outsource the fabric work?
As I mentioned in the last question, there are these villages that we have adopted and have formed a collaboration. We try to create our own fabrics there by adopting a trial and error concept. We try a few of the weavings with different yarns as well. It is a collaborative concept, not in-house but not from the market as well. It is something where we are involved while weaving.
Fibre2Fashion: How is the market for garments made from hand-woven fabrics and handwork in India and abroad?
Fibre2Fashion: What do aspiring designers need to do to be able to make it this far?
Fibre2Fashion: Sustainability and circularity are the buzzwords today. How do you incorporate these in your work?
Fibre2Fashion: Who is your target audience?
My target audience is today's young woman, who is well-read, aware of things around her, is confident of what she wants, very sorted, does not shy away from experimenting, yet is classy and fun-loving. While it is for women of all age groups, but 20-22-year-olds will connect to my garments more because of the classic silhouettes. Women who have a personal style statement will relate more to my garments.
Fibre2Fashion: What is next at your company?
We plan to get into serious marketing, have a sound business plan and trying to make several changes. We have learnt a lot and we want to be at par with others. Within a month, you will see our company announcing many developments. So, please wait.
Fibre2Fashion: Among fellow designers, whose work do you admire? Which of them are competing with you in your genre?
I cannot comment on who is competing, I don't know much, or I cannot define where I am or where others are. But yes, I admire the work of quite a few designers. I really love Rosie Assoulin. It is very fresh, hand-woven fabric, breathable; I love what she does with it; quite inspiring. I also love Zimmer Man. She does amazing work in simple and comfy silhouettes. There are other designers whom I admire, for example Marc Jacobs. We don't need to compete with anybody; we can have our own place, identity and space in this world. (HO)
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