Ichcha (pronounced “Ich-chah”) was founded by THREE SISTERS with one, simple wish: To encourage conscious living.
Originating from the Sanskrit word meaning “a wish”, Ichcha’s products are created for better, more beautiful lives: For you. For our artisans. And for future generations to come. All products are made from natural and high-quality material, such as handspun and handwoven fabrics, colorfully dipped in a bath of vegetable dye, friendly to the environment and perfect for the HOME OR BODY.
Tell us about your journey starting Ichcha.
It was a mesh of events that led to the beginning of our journey. I, a trained software engineer, always had a passion for crafts and big dreams of doing something more meaningful! I wasn't able to for various reasons but one day it happened - I quit my job and set off to meet my sister, who at the time was doing her Masters in London. My sister, a textile designer by profession, and now a Masters in Block printing, was all ready for us to explore the idea of working with artisans! We wanted to do something more meaningful and also something that would give back to the community in some way. We also knew that whatever we do we would want to do it without harming the environment. So with that, together we set off on a journey to India to discover, make friends, and create beautiful, timeless pieces for one to treasure and pass on to their loved ones.
What does sustainable fashion means to you and how Ichcha engage in it?
Sustainable fashion for us is knowing about all that went into bringing our creations to life and passing on that same emotional value to the customer. The more we value the products we purchase, the less likely we will be able to throw it away at the next fashion season. We hope that Ichcha pieces stay in your closet for years, and then to be re-used as something else after its first life, or passed onto family or friends.
Walk us through the process of making an Ichcha piece.
All our designs start with a personal story. Let's take the Baagh Scarf for example. To Ruchika, Rachna is always lost in her world, so the Baagh (garden) is a dedication to the her Alice in Wonderland sister, with mixed elements that we hold dear: Tea cup, Tree, Lotus flowers, Elephants, and a camel (dedication to our friend from Egypt). This design is carved onto a wooden block by a talented 80 year old block carver, who is very picky as to what he carves and who he carves for since no one appreciates his hard work. Once the block is carved, it is seemed in mustard oil for 2-3 days until the wood is receptacle to take in dyes, mud, water. With our design planned as white and blue, the block slightly touches a sponge tray of mud. This mud paste is a mixture of natural elements, the main being fullers earth. Once the carved area is coated slightly with the mud, it is thumped onto the fabric, and the mud transfers over to the fabric to create a resist. With all printing done, the fabric is dried in the sun until it's crisp, ready to be dyed in a 17 year old indigo dye vat. The fabric dances around in the vat for a few seconds before being pulled out, strained, and laid out on the ground for a final sunbathing before it is washed by hand, hit against slabs of stone, to bring out the shine of the fiber.
Why is it important to work directly with the artisans?
There is a deep pleasure with seeing the hard work of the people who are blessed with such creativity and carry the secrets of ancient craft techniques. They have names, stories, and can teach you so much about not only the craft but life as well. Rather than working with factories with multiple lost faces, working with artisans makes us appreciative of the products, with an emotional connection.
What we should look forward to with Ichcha?
Ichcha is launching a line of block printed bedding collection as well as organic cotton pillows! The designs are inspired by our nature sightings during our travel. A true test for our block printers also, since they are patient with experimenting on new blocks with us! They aren't used to the crazy things we make them print.