Time to sock and roll
Makers of a new range of Warli-inspired socks hope to give the traditional art form a modern spin
When Mustang Socks and Accessories set up its factory in Palghar 35 years ago, the founders were blown away by the earthy Warli paintings in the adivasi padas around. "It felt like the art was part of the atmosphere," Lubeina Shahpurwala, co-founder, who joined the brand in 2004," she says. So that they wouldn't take the beauty around them for granted, Shahpurwala and team decided they'd incorporate the stick figures and iconic motifs onto their socks. It was a good way to "add character" to a new range they were planning.
The team has collaborated with Ramesh Hengadi, a Warli artist associated with the Paramparik Karigar Crafts Association, to launch a range of Warli-inspired knit socks. The two met at an annual art fair in Palghar earlier this year.
Since tribal artists create a base of mud before the figures are painted, the socks, too, are available in a range of earthy, muted colours. "While Warli art has been popular, we realised our tradition and design thought hadn't kept up with the times. Which is why we set up a Warli centre to promote the indigenous culture among the youth," says Hengadi, whose work has been gifted to influential Indians including Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Through the centre, Hengadi hopes to conduct workshops to sustain interest in the art form.
Shahpurwala admits that they weren't entirely confident of the idea working, but believed enough in the natural beauty of the style to give it a try. "The local artisans focus on the craft, never on recognition. Since we have the tools at our disposal, we thought we should invest effort in designing a range that amplifies their skill," she says. They have hired local artisans to knit the socks too. "There is a sense of pride when they create pieces for this range. It's heartening,"
Price: Rs 100 onward
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