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    We Are Kora brings vibrant and traditional art to the day bag

    DO YOU know what’s special about this flower?” quizzes Saketh Singh, as he rolls out a biscuit-coloured cotton tote with an intricate pen-and-ink sketch of a blossom. “It is the cannonball, the state flower of Pondicherry!” It is such oft-forgotten elements that form the bedrock of newly launched Pondicherry brand, We Are Kora. The founders, Indian-German couple—architect Saketh Singh and freelance media professional Steffi Kirstenpfad—chose the element of nostalgia to distinguish themselves from other fashion merchandise brands.

    The beginning
    Their first line of products, is a collection of totes that depict profiles of enigmatic Varanasi rishis with matted beards and vermilion smeared foreheads, performers of Theyyam, and the Indian lotus. We Are Kora’s products — sling bags, organic canvas clutches, posters and even ties, fall into six categories: people of India, cultures, customs and traditions, flora and fauna, products made in India and mythical characters.

    Green course
    While the accessories are designed by a collective of artists and design students, the brand is keen on keeping its production eco-friendly. Organic GOT certified cotton from Southern Tamil Nadu is weaved in solar-powered looms in Auroville. After the bags are tailored in Pondicherry, they are packed in recyclable cardboard boxes with butter paper wrapping.
    The brand’s name is unusual. Humming the opening line of ‘Kora Kagaz’, Saketh says, Kora means different things in different languages— a blank , a beautiful woman, a musical instrument.

    Rs 600 upwards. Details: worldartcommunity.com

    —Olympia Shilpa Gerald

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