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Kantha - the OG of fashion upcycling from India

In a land of diverse artisanal crafts, it is hard to pick a favourite. But Kantha hand embroidery has a special place in our hearts!

One of the most iconic hand embroideries of India, Kantha is a technique of using the simple running stitch to create beautiful complex patterns.

Traditionally, Kantha is an age-old craft of upcycling, done by women of Bengali households. It is done skillfully by hands, requiring no electricity, and is one of the oldest traditional techniques representing circularity, waste control, and sustainable living.

Most commonly, it is a practice of repurposing old saris, which are stacked and joined together with running stitches to make quilts and other home furnishings.

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Modern-day Kantha:

Today, Kantha mostly refers to the type of hand embroidery stitch used to create intricate motifs - the simple, straight, running stitch.

Traditionally, Kantha was about turning old clothes into home furnishings - mostly quilts and cushion covers but nowadays, it is not limited to just old clothes and Kantha can be seen in a wide variety of products from garments to table mats. The versatility of the craft is recognized, appreciated, and loved by many designers & artists.

Kaizen loves Kantha:

Kantha ticks more than one factors of sustainability:

-Empowers artisanal communities and provides livelihoods.

-Zero use of electricity, as it is a craft of skillful hands.

-Age-old technique of upcycling, repurposing, and waste control. Hence, promotes circularity.

All of our Kantha embroideries are done by women artisans of a certified fair trade organization, Sasha, who has been supporting more than 100 craft producers and artisan livelihoods for more than 40 years.

Original artworks of dainty florals and geometric patterns are hand embroidered into sustainable textiles like eri silk and hemp in our interpretation of the age-old heritage craft.

Artisanal crafts like Kantha are often passed on through generations and many communities are economically dependent on their craftsmanship.

Made with a lot of care and love by an actual person, there is always an emotional value attached to every handcrafted product.

Kantha is just one such special Indian craft in a plethora of unique crafts in every nook & corner of the country that has represented for a long time every new term that we use to talk about sustainability today!

Image courtesy: Sasha Fair Trade

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