David Abraham: 5 books that inspire the veteran designer


5 books that inspire veteran designer David Abraham

Quick fact: He loves the illustrations in Alice in Wonderland

By Gargi Agrawal  May 21st, 2020

One of the most well-respected fashion houses in the country, Abraham & Thakore launched back in 1992. The label is spearheaded by designers David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore, who together turn their vision into designs that exude simplicity, authenticity and timelessness.

We reached out to one half of the duo, David Abraham, and asked him for five books that inspire him and his work. Here’s what he had to say:

Small is Beautiful by E F Schumacher

Published in the early 1970s, this book outlines Schumacher’s belief in sustainable development which has never seemed more urgent and relevant than at this particular moment in history. He espoused small scale, appropriate technologies and believed that economic development should first empower the individual. This is a book for all of us who believe in the craft and handloom industry in India.

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DV by Diana Vreeland

This is an autobiography of one of the fashion world’s most influential editors, Diana Vreeland. Told in her inimitable voice, the book gives us a glimpse into the glamour and luxury of a world that no longer exists. Her wit and provocative point of view beautifully captures the slightly breathless, and illogical world of fashion, beauty and style that has always captivated me.

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Handmade in India by Aditi Ranjan and MP Ranjan

This extraordinary compendium of every craft that is practised in India, from textiles and woodwork to basketry, is a celebration of India’s incredibly rich and diverse craft heritage. Written by two extraordinary professors of design that I was fortunate to have been a student of, I consider it an essential work of reference for every designer, whether in India or abroad.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

I was incredibly moved by this book when I read it many years ago and it remains one of the most powerful works of fiction I’ve read. It captures how the human spirit still manages to prevail amidst the cruelty and senseless violence of life in this country.

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Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I grew up with a copy of this book found in my grandfather’s library which I still have. A vintage cloth covered hardback from sometime in the first half of the 1900s, it has absolutely magical colour illustrations by a British illustrator called Margaret Tarrant. I loved the fantasy and madness of the world that Alice wanders through. And indeed, I still do.

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Photographs: Courtesy, David Abraham