What is Rekh & Datta?
Rekh & Datta is a design studio in Austin, Texas, producing small batches of light cotton clothing and accessories made from custom fabrics hand printed in Rajasthan, India. The fabrics are designed by Rebecca Layton.
Rekh & Datta's business model is based on the "slow clothes" concept -- an alternative to mass-produced clothing. It’s about quality over quantity. Artisan-made over mass-produced. Minimal impact on the environment. Garments that are made with care to last longer and by individuals who take pride in their work for a fair wage. Oh, and also: they look and feel really, really good.
We know each and every one of the people who print the fabric and sew the garments. There is no middle man -- it is a one-to-one relationship that has been years in the making.
We already have meters of hand-printed fabric and prototypes of each garment. Now we need your help to do our first sample production run. Funds from Kickstarter will go straight into the stitching of our first line of clothing and housewares.
Your help in this early stage will be crucial to the success of our new venture. And what you'll get in return, besides a beautiful, hand-printed, hand-stitched garment made of soft Indian cotton (if that is what you choose), is the satisfaction of helping to keep the craft of block printing alive.
Thanks for your help!
The Rekh & Datta Manifesto
1. SLOW CLOTHES -- Clothes made slowly, with quality and care by highly skilled artisans who are paid a fair wage.
2. MODERN DESIGNS / TRADITIONAL METHODS -- Fabric made with contemporary motifs using ancient techniques.
3. NO MIDDLE MEN - Every single person involved in hand-printing the fabric and stitching the clothes is known personally by us.
The Rekh & Datta Story
Rebecca Layton first traveled to India as a tourist in 2005, visiting a designer colleague in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It was there that she witnessed the process of block printing, an ancient technique that goes back centuries. An artist and textile designer who also taught art and art history, she continued to study from afar. Five years after her first trip she returned to Jaipur, this time with a research visa as a Fulbright Scholar to study block printing in depth. After one year of studying the history and process, as well as developing her own print designs and collaborating with artisans, she spent another year teaching at an international school in the foothills of the Himalayas. Meanwhile, she continued her investigation of textiles and print patterns. While at the school, she brought a group of 8th grade girls (mostly Indian) back to Rajasthan to introduce a new generation to this beautiful craft.
Rebecca returned to the States in 2012 and decided to start Rekh & Datta to share this amazing craft in the form of light cotton clothing and housewares. Collaborating with Polish clothing designer Monika Jakubiak, whom she met in India, Rebecca went to Warsaw in the summer of 2013 to work on Rekh & Datta’s first line of clothing. Our very first prototypes were produced in the fall and our first small run of samples will be stitched in Poland. Eventually, we would like to have the line manufactured in the US. But first we need your help!
Select one of the donation levels. If (when!) we reach our goal, we'll contact you about the specifics -- including available patterns for your order and your size.
What does Rekh & Datta mean?
It was one of Rebecca’s students in India who came up with the full name of the company: The Wonders of the Rekh & Datta Handmade Industry. Rekh & Datta are the Hindi words for “Line & Shape” and refer to the technical terms of the block carving and printing process. The rekh block is the outline of the design and is usually printed first. The datta block fills in the lines with color. Line and Shape also points to the simple geometric patterns that are at the heart of Layton’s designs. These geometric forms are inspired by the modernists of the earlier 20th century: the Bauhaus weavers, the textiles of the Wiener Werkstatte, or the patterns of Sonia Delaunay. The designs also take many of the forms of a rapidly growing India.
What's the future plan for Rekh & Datta?
EDUCATION: One of the reasons Rebecca started this company was to educate folks about the process of block printing. To that end, Rebecca and her filmmaker brother David are working on a documentary film that will cover its history and technique, and also to tell the stories of the families and individuals that carry on this striking tradition of handiwork. We have already shot preliminary footage (some of which is featured in this kickstarter campaign!) and are planning to return in February 2014 to continue working on what will be the first such feature film to extensively cover the history and technique of block printing. Beyond this, we are currently looking to partner with NGOs in India who are committed to helping to empower and educate girls and women.
SLOW MANUFACTURING: We are working with stitchers in Poland, the home of clothing designer Monika Jakubiak, to produce our first samples. For production, we are looking for stitching to be done here in the US. Kickstarter funds will be used for our initial run of samples, and to go towards a larger production run in the US. We are looking to grow slowly and organically, so that we can keep to our standards of slow clothes, made with care.
Images for press here: http://bit.ly/1fe3dmt
Risks and challenges
We have made sure to give a fulfillment date that will be realistic; if we are able to get your items to you faster, then we certainly will! But we will also make sure to keep you posted each step of the way. Yes, there are potential delays, but since we already have our fabric in hand, we are one step closer to production.
Whatever challenges arise, we'll be sure to let you in on our process, so that you will be in the loop. We are committed to getting through this first phase in the business as seamlessly as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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