Sabyasachi Mukherjee a designer known for his flair of contemporizing traditional crafts worked on Jaisalmer’s Rajkumari Ratnavati Girl’s School to wear ajrakh uniforms produced by the cooperative centre. Rajasthan is well known for vibrant colours of leheriya and bandhini textiles, handmade juttis and the beautiful intricate enameling of kundan jewellery. The state with rich handicrafts has a strong with the fashion senses still living with lowest literacy rates in India. This results in lack of skill set to represent their unique culture feast in contemporary corporate India.
American artist Michael Daubes CITTA involved in empowering women decided to build Rajkumari Ratnavati Girl’s School to combine education and textile craftsmanship together to help economic development in this city. The school has a capacity of 400 girls, and a training center to train local women’s in the traditional skill of the region. Daube, an American who was inspired by Ajrakh said, “I feel ajrakh has just been recently re-discovered by fashion and will eventually make its way into the pantheon of internationally respected textiles alongside batik and ikkat. The long history and use of natural cotton printed with indigo and madder root colours make it very appealing.”
The project has the backing of royal family in Jaisalmer. With anything between nine to 21 stages of printing and dyeing, ajrakh is one of the most complex craft techniques in the world today, one that dates back to the Harappa civilization of the Indus valley. “Ajrakh is a distinctly Indian and a powerful style. As children sensitise the local culture what better way to start than with a little bit of local pride? “ asks the designer. He has utilized ajrakh in previous collection. He also suggests if uniforms all over India could involve a little bit of local craft, then it would become a platform for great cultural exchange and can help to establish economic stability in backward communities with local production.