The new line by Hidesign revives an age-old tanning technique
At a time when the fashion industry is rife with revivalists of everything from saris and embroidery techniques to handloom textiles and various other crafts, Hidesign launches its East India Collection. The line, comprising bags for both men and women, is crafted from leather that was perfected and popularised over 100 years ago by the East India Company. “It was only when I had just started Hidesign that I discovered it. I was fascinated to learn that the finest Italian leather goods are made with this Southern Indian leather,” says founder, Dilip Kapur.
Tanned with locally sourced myrobalan seeds and wattle bark, and softened with pungam oil, the hide takes on a special sheen that sets the leather apart. And unlike chemical chrome tanning that merely coats the surface, the extracts from the seeds and bark fill and feed the leather, giving it extra bounce and making it stronger. “This is what makes it so sought-after,” explains Kapur, adding that vegetable tanning takes over a month to complete, while chemical tanning takes just three days.
The collection is created entirely from Spanish lamb and Indian goat leathers, both of which lend themselves beautifully to the EI (East India) tanning technique, says Kapur. Employing clean lines and simple designs with solid brass accents, the bags let the beauty of the leather shine through. “With such fine leather, the less you do the better,” says Kapur, before picking his favourites from the collection. “There’s the Myrtle 02. The tanning gives this beautiful, smooth Spanish lamb a natural glow. The handcrafted flower straps make it extra special. For men, I love the Indigo 02 — a cross body bag with a rugged masculine look and feel, big pockets and solid brass buckles.”
While the collection is barely a few weeks old, Kapur is already working on a newer and much bigger project to be launched next year. “The details are something only time will reveal,” he says, signing off.
`3,295 upwards. At 1 MG Road, Trinity Circle. Details: 41511930
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo