Countrymade: Handcrafting Tales of War and Loss in Fashion

The raw authen­tic­i­ty of the gar­ments from Coun­try­made, a home­grown Indi­an brand estab­lished in 2019, leaves a last­ing impres­sion. This dis­tinc­tive brand embod­ies the psy­cho­log­i­cal jour­ney of a sol­dier, deliv­ered through a ful­ly cir­cu­lar, slow fash­ion ethos.

Who is Countrymade?

Sushant Abrol, the cre­ator of Coun­try­made. Paris Fash­ion Week. 2023.

Helmed by Sushant Abrol, Coun­try­made was born out of a decade-long expe­ri­ence in the fash­ion indus­try, hav­ing been the cre­ative mind behind four oth­er brands. Coun­try­made con­sis­tent­ly pro­duces col­lec­tions cen­tered on an endur­ing theme: the last­ing marks of war.

Sushant gave us insight into the ori­gins of Coun­try­made in our inter­view, reveal­ing the heart-wrench­ing inspi­ra­tion that came after the loss of his sol­dier broth­er in an air­craft crash. Each piece speaks to the psy­cho­log­i­cal tur­moil a sol­dier faces. The brand weaves a nar­ra­tive around a sol­dier grap­pling with the after­math of war, con­tem­plat­ing the point of all the vio­lence and loss, where both ends often win noth­ing, leav­ing only lives shat­tered.

Hand-made details of Coun­try­made

Coun­try­made’s moniker sig­ni­fies its com­mit­ment to hand crafts­man­ship over indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion. Every piece sees the com­ing togeth­er of many skilled hands, each step from fab­ric cre­ation on a tra­di­tion­al hand­loom to the final embroi­dery is a tes­ta­ment to the slow fash­ion approach. All designs are brought to life with­out the assis­tance of mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy – it’s pure­ly hand­made.

The Latest Collection at Paris Fashion Week

For the cur­rent col­lec­tion, Sushant sought inspi­ra­tion from a let­ter penned by his late broth­er. A stand­out piece is an embroi­dered shirt with words sub­tly altered from the orig­i­nal let­ter, reflect­ing intro­spec­tions on the pur­pose of war.

A look at the new col­lec­tion of Coun­try­made
A look at the new col­lec­tion of Coun­try­made

Hand­craft­ed designs show­case a city viewed from a war­plane, depic­tions of bod­i­ly scars, intri­cate elec­tron­ic cir­cuits, and hints of weapons and blood­shed. Coun­try­made mas­ter­ful­ly mar­ries poignant nar­ra­tives with excep­tion­al crafts­man­ship. The raw beau­ty of each gar­ment cap­tures the essence of bro­ken promis­es and lost lives, pre­sent­ed in an extra­or­di­nar­i­ly beau­ti­ful way. The unpar­al­leled hand crafts­man­ship stands as a tes­ta­ment to the unique artistry found only in India.

The col­lec­tions, craft­ed pri­mar­i­ly from cot­ton and linen, are designed keep­ing in mind trop­i­cal heat and humid­i­ty, ren­der­ing them wear­able all year round.

Towards the Future. Sustainability

Coun­try­made is ded­i­cat­ed to main­tain­ing social stan­dards, ensur­ing fair wages, and observ­ing work­ing time lim­its for its work­force, com­posed most­ly of arti­sans from the coun­try­side pos­sess­ing a unique set of skills. As Sushant says, “All our hands come togeth­er in order to cre­ate some­thing beau­ti­ful.”

Empha­siz­ing low envi­ron­men­tal impact, Coun­try­made favors hand­loom fab­rics, sourc­ing silks from Banaras and Bha­galpur, linens from Ben­gal, and hand­wo­ven den­ims from Ahmed­abad. They fol­low a strict pol­i­cy of using only nat­ur­al fibers in their gar­ments.

At Par­a­digme Mode, while our focus is pri­mar­i­ly on Euro­pean brands, we can­not over­look the excep­tion­al crafts­man­ship emerg­ing from India. We’ve observed renowned brands like Dior draw­ing inspi­ra­tion from the coun­try’s unpar­al­leled artistry. It’s cru­cial to pre­serve these tra­di­tion­al prac­tices in a rapid­ly mod­ern­iz­ing coun­try, not only for the ben­e­fit of its local pop­u­la­tion but also for the glob­al fash­ion indus­try.

Written by David Ferrero
August 7, 2023

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