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Filled with plants and refurbished furniture, the Summer House studio reflects the brand’s approach to sustainable living.

A peek into The Summer House moodboard where everything from fabric samples to colour swatches makes an appearance.

Craftsmen at work

Cake Stand

Drop Platter

Curtain Holders

AI4_28_2017_2_19_32_AM_Main_Image.jpg
Workspace 28 Apr 2017

Sunny and Sustainable, all year long at The Summer House

Think airy fabric, modern silhouettes and natural palettes. At Bangalore-based lifestyle brand The Summer House, everything echoes the philosophy ‘pure is beautiful’. We spoke to founder Shivangini Parihar and business head Rekha Datla to learn more about the choice to have a process that is fair and responsible.

When Shivangini Parihar started The Summer House in 2012, work was limited to wholesale orders and supplying to brands like Toast UK and Fabindia. But when she met Rekha Datla while working on products for an interior design project, it was love at first ‘site’. The two instantly connected and became partners in work. Slowly, The Summer House evolved into the lifestyle brand it is today, an amalgamation of sustainable and organic processes and products that uphold purity while celebrating the soil they grow on.

“Our grandmothers instilled these ethics in us even before brands began using them as inspiration,” they echoed, while reminiscing childhood memories amidst nature. Neither of them come from design backgrounds, but their love for everything handcrafted and fair-trade brought them together. Shivangini leaped into design after working in advertising, as a writer for 10 years while Rekha owned a boutique in Bangalore before joining The Summer House. Through the brand, they hope to go back to a world where pure was synonymous with beauty.

The studio, located in a residential area in Bangalore reflects the duo’s love for tree-lined paths and slow living. Away from the jammed roads and daily hustle, the lanes are filled with parks that make the perfect work breaks and melodious bird chirps weaving a welcome. The team often takes strolls and plans picnics in neighbouring parks, which also inspired an entire collection – The Picnic Edit.

Just like organic and sustainable fabrics form the canvas for their products, the collections seek inspiration from nature. “We look at fabrics and try to see how we can develop changing seasons – the literal season, not the fashion trends, into a weave or print,” they said. For clothing, the process begins with creating mood boards, often taking pages out of the 50s and 60s. Minimalism and simplicity are key to the collections with organic, sustainable, undyed and artisanal fabrics at the forefront, thereby translating it into intricate production processes.

Filled with plants and refurbished furniture, the Summer House studio reflects the brand’s approach to sustainable living.

A peek into The Summer House moodboard where everything from fabric samples to colour swatches makes an appearance.

 

Along with their philosophy of everything sustainable and organic, the brand also prides itself on working closely with crafts people across the country to create weaves and prints that are dipped in homegrown colours while remaining timeless. Weavers from Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh and block printers in Karnataka and Gujarat are currently a close part of The Summer House family. The duo believes that crafts take more than just seasonal associations with the craftspeople to ensure ethical pay. It is as much a part of their livelihoods as ours. “We believe that it is only possible to make the process beneficial for them when we give them fabric for clothing that we wear everyday, rather than just occasional or festive fear,” they expressed.

For the upcoming August-September edit, denim is making its way across their mood boards. They start each project by providing swatches to the artisans; this one involved providing denim fabric samples to the weavers to match thickness. After the fabric was understood, they worked together to get the right colour while ensuring that residues didn’t pollute nearby water systems. As is evident, the process is tedious; Shivangini and Rekha expressed, “It is a two month process in itself to figure out how to minimise waste and remain sustainable in all our practices.” Timelines prove to be the biggest challenge for them due to the high margins of error and constant trials as opposed to a factory set up. However, knowing that the finished product was painstakingly handcrafted without harming the earth keeps their loyal clientele coming back, regardless of the wait. While the fabric is developed over two months, the final transformation of fabric to wearable attire happens in 45 days.

Craftsmen at work

Along with season-inspired collections, the lifestyle brand produces a limited range of hand-crafted homeware that is also made by traditional craftspeople based across the country. Produced in small batches to respect the natural materials that they are created with, the home wares range from mango-wood-based rolling pins to slate-based platters.

Cake Stand

Drop Platter

Curtain Holders

While the team works on artisanal silks and block prints that will hit the racks in November, we jumped into their recent creations for another peek. Organic cotton pajamas to lull you into a calm sleep, fluid tencel dresses in summer hues and a pinafore that will take you back in time, are just some of their fresh summer pieces. Stitching breezy afternoons with seamlessly flowing prints, their latest products are a gentle call to wander away into sunlit parks for a slow day.

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