She may be the first Indian woman designer to have won the International Woolmark Prize for the womenswear title, but Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice has no hint of pride in her voice. The designer comes across as calm and grounded in equal measure as she speaks to us about her recent victorious moment. "The experience was quite humbling," she tells us over the phone from Italy. "I didn't look at what the other finalists were doing. I stayed put to my truth." From being inspired by her grandmother's upcycling habits to developing a brand new fabric, Ruchika tells us everything you need to about the winning collection.
"The colour story was inspired by Tyeb Mehta, an artist who epitomised the language of modern Indian art between the 1960s and 1980s. I've also incorporated monochromatic lines and geometry, inspired by Nasreen Mohamedi . I was also inspired by my grandmother, who used to upcycle hers and my aunts' old saris into quilts without even knowing she was 'upcycling' them. She used to say that in the form of these quilts, the love of the women who wore those saris would bring us good luck."
"Recycled yarns made from post-consumer waste have been used for the kantha embroidery and for the warp and weft delicately done on a handloom by rural artisans. The same yarn has been used to create upcycled coats. I have also developed a new fabric in Italy that is 88 percent merino wool and 12 percent steel — the steel allows the super fine wool to be crushed and sculpted. Fabrics developed at Raymonds have been coated with an anti-microbial layer which protects the garments in tropical temperatures, ensuring a pristine condition of hygiene. Natural dyes have been incorporated into the collection that have been developed in a village close to Goa. The buttons are made of coconut shells, coated with enamel."
The sustainable and holistically-designed collection addresses the problematic issue of consumer waste in fashion. "I see the collection being of interest to women with a strong personality and point of view. They question how their clothes are being made and what is their impact on the society and environment."
The designer will take forward her winning collection as Bodice Studio which will be available at her studio in Delhi and at leading department stores and boutiques all over the world that include Boutique 1, Boon The Shop, David Jones, Harvey Nichols, Sugar, Mytheresa.com and Lane Crawford.