Call them textile crusaders – artistes who believe in reviving and promoting the incredible craftsmanship that lie at the core of the Indian design philosophy. SGBG is a unique brand. A nine-month-old luxury prêt-à-porter womenswear label with a base in London and India, it has been founded by a mother-son duo, Bindu and Surya Giri out of sheer passion for design, a respect for culture and concern for the arts.
Surya, an India-born, US-raised millennial, has a music and orchestration background but was drawn to his roots thanks to his mother’s adventures. Hailing from a royal lineage in Kerala, Bindu’s family owned looms, which, armed with her degrees in business and apparel design from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and LaSalle School of art, she set to revive, working closely with the weaver and artisan communities of India. Surya’s perspective towards it all changed when he started working on a documentary on Bindu’s work which led him to interact closely with the artisans. “I felt there was much power in their work, much to explore in their design,” he says. Together, the pair started creating pieces for modern women using signature fabrics that were hand-woven across India by a limited number of master weavers. “There is one textile that has only six weavers working on it, it’s that rare. The savoir faire, those techniques and the art are all dying. It’s important that we understand their value,” adds Surya, who feels strongly about keeping these age-old traditions alive.
In the last nine months, Surya and Bindu – operating out of their headquarters in Chennai – have displayed their collection in London, Paris and Japan. More collaborations are in the offing. SGBG’s Autumn/Winter 2018 collection in particular is an embodiment of their ethos. This collection showcases innovative embroidery techniques of heavily knotted silk threads created from 200 to 300 hours of embroidery. Couture technique is mapped onto accessible pret-a-porter silhouettes. Flowing fabrics — buttery satin, hand-woven silks, organza — are contrasted against angular cuts. Finish and fit take priority. The results – when passion meets tradition – are there for all to see.