SGBG Atelier is a brand by the mother-son duo Surya Giri and Bindu Giri. Creating luxury prêt women’s wear using traditional craft that are emblazoned with traditional motifs, the brand aspires to exhibit the importance of traditional weaving as it tethers one to their culture, especially when they are part of the Diaspora and attempting to understand where they stand in this regard.
As part of the royal family in Kerala, Bindu grew up surrounded by incredible stockpiles of handloom sarees and fabrics. This influenced her interest in the craft and she has been working in the field for over 15 years, creating exclusive sarees and ethnic wear for a select clientele.Under her eponymous brand, she works with weavers from Kanchipuram and other parts of India. But for Surya, an economics graduate, his tryst with design is relatively new. The trigger point for him was when he witnessed the complexities of weaving while shooting a documentary for his mother’s brand. He said ‘if you are looking at the warp and the weft, you don’t realize how it is all mapped out in the mind of the master weaver. It is all incredible skill and that is when I thought why is it that someone like me doesn’t know more about this. And that is kind of where all of this started.’
Bindu has spent years creating her network of master weavers and she brings a lot of the specificities of that aspect to SGBG Atelier. They design all the pieces together and their need for ensuring attention to detail is a family trait. While the pieces in this brand is a far cry from the designs in her eponymous label, the transition into creating luxury western attire happened quite naturally for Bindu. The purpose of the brand is reinterpreting the traditional Indian handloom that has a wealth of history associated with it. Presenting it to a customer whose culture is an amalgamation of many cultures and getting them to notice the multicultural sensibility at the helm.
According to Surya, ‘the design process for creating the pieces from the brand varies not even from season to season, but rather from piece to piece.’ The spring/summer 2018 collection was inspired by the South Indian figure Drishti Bommai, or DB who is considered as a sign of a good beginning and was befitting to be the inspiration for their first collection. The work for the Spring/Summer 2019 collection is already underway which they say is an exploration of Diaspora and anxiousness.
As a brand, SGBG Atelier has many aspirations, but the most important aspiration is to push the heritage and stories from India to the outside world, and present it as a centre for design both for creativity and execution. The community of people that the brand works with are flag bearers of culture and the brand aspires to improve the lives of the master weavers as well as their children in tangible ways. Another aspect of this is to create prestige, value and incentivize traditional craft works and to ensure design works as a way to push craft forward.
You can see more from SGBG here.
Text Fathima Abdul Kader