Showcase 08 Mar 2017

Trailing through Safomasi’s Tiger Safari Collection

Stitching their passion for travel, design and textiles together, Sarah Fotheringham and Maninder Singh founded Safomasi. What started as a way to work with each other and combine the love for everything beautiful, turned into an eclectic designer homeware brand. We explore their latest collection ‘Tiger Safari’ that brings lush colours from India’s national parks to our homes.

Lifestyle images by Tenzin Lhagya, All other images by Safomasi 

When they first met, Sarah was working as an Art Director with Wieden + Kennedy Delhi, after freelancing as an illustrator for a few years in London. Maninder coincidentally, had also just moved back to Delhi to work with the Fashion Design Council of India after living in Australia for five years. What happened next is woven into the stories that Safomasi tells with its collections.

After wandering India’s Tiger Reserves, Sarah and Maninder had collected verdant memories and tales soaked in amber that were bubbling into a vivid collection in their heads. Sarah had also spent time exploring Ranthambore, Kanha and Bandhavgarh. A wonderful trip to Pench, Madhya Pradesh together, ensured that they felt even more compelled to churn out a collection dense with the landscapes and animals they had absorbed.

Having built a customer base for Safomasi than stretches across oceans, they knew that wildlife and nature would resonate as much with people in India, as they would in other countries. Picking colours from the thick forests they waded through, green, taupe and brown with pops of orange became their colour palette. Amidst the tigers, deers, elephants and langurs that inhabited the land, they also included illustrations of themselves touring through the forests in a jeep with Sarah’s brother, who was also travelling with them and fit perfectly into the colour palette for the collection with his ginger hair. As deers rolled in the meadows and langurs swung through webbed branches, the collection integrates the fierceness of the orange tigers with the cautious camouflage that dictates the laws of the jungle.

While Sarah and Maninder consider themselves very lucky to be able to merge holiday and work, they spend long durations turning memories from their suitcase into textiles that make their way to people’s homes. They spent 12 months on the ‘Tiger Safari’ collection, beginning from photographs and notes to finally shipping them off to their destination. The process commences with filtering elements that are important to them, which makes way for Sarah’s rough sketches on Photoshop. While Sarah is putting patterns together to narrate the story, Maninder spends his time thinking about sourcing fabric and raw materials.

What’s crucial to the feel of Safomasi work, apart from the unique illustrations is the fresh touch of screen-printed fabric. So after the illustrations are finalized, they are separated, screens made and raw fabric bought. Simultaneously running trials and deciding specifications for each product, made by their in-house team, the full run of fabric is printed with water-based inks that are not only soft, but also environment friendly. Stirring their digital drawing process with their entirely handmade printing process, the collections combine the finesse and vibrancy of pixels with the exclusivity of watching the design and colours come alive layer by layer.

While they work with a family run screen-printing workshop to transfer the striking visuals to cloth, their in-house team of tailors stitch the fabric. Led by Masterji (the expert/head craftsman), who has been an integral part of their studio since the set up, they present a rough idea of the specifications and rope in his input before production. Experimenting and sampling is a very important part of their process to ensure that the final pieces do justice to not only their vision but also their adventures.

But their love for interesting surfaces doesn’t end at screen-printing. All their products are made from natural fabrics: quilts from cotton cambric, cushions and table linen from cotton. Since they have a slight slub to them, the fabric perfectly adds texture to the prints with clean details to ensure that colours are well fleshed out.

If the colours, illustrations, prints and fabric weren’t lucid enough to make you want to add pieces from their enchanting collection to your home, we also delved deeper into their growing range of products. What began as just quilts and cushions for their initial Pushkar and Mithai collections, has turned into an enormous assortment of lifestyle products. Almost doubling the number of available products from their previous collection, the Tiger Safari collection orbits a gamut of table linens, bomber jackets, silk scarves, totes, clutches, fabric by the metre and hand tufted wool rugs to choose from. Products swept their way onto the shelves because of continuous customer interest, requests and personal experiments. While the silk scarves were something they wanted to try as a way to produce beautiful gifting items, fabric by the metre was introduced on popular demand after repeated inquiries for curtains and upholstery.

From deep woods to veiled foliage, Safomasi’s latest Tiger Safari collection showcases the organic crispness that binds a traveller’s journey into the forest. Echoing Sarah’s distinct illustration style and Maninder’s expertise with fabric, the products loop tiger trails and jeep tracks while crisscrossing wildlife with drifting visitors, as they erupt in a colourful symphony of luminous hues and warm textures. Bomber jackets for the wardrobes, cushions for the living room and silk scarves for a special birthday gift, bringing the safari home has never been easier. With many accolades to their name in just about five years, Sarah and Maninder hope to continue traversing across the world and telling their tales with Safomasi.

Like us, if you’re wondering, ‘Where next,’ watch out as they take you through a spring in Turkey soon!

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