FRAGMENTS OF IMAGINATION
The art of knitting takes us back to our childhood when most of us watched our grandmothers swiftly sew endless sweaters, scarves, and caps for us as their favorite pastimes. Now years later, the ancient technique of knitting is more than a warm memory and has evolved significantly as the designers are redefining this art form with their contemporary and edgy take on it. The simple and humble craft of knitting has taken shape into truly artistic and visionary form by our designers like Muskan Soni, founder of Khajoor Studio. She is one of the many talented designers in our country who are leading the way for premium contemporary knitwear with her signature aesthetic and creative direction through her label. We had the pleasure of speaking to her about her journey, design process, reimagining the craft of knitting, and the brand’s exclusive new collection Fragments’23.
What led you to launch the artisanal luxury clothing brand Khajoor Studio? We’d love to know about your journey and the inspiration behind the label
'Khajoor' is a Hindi word for sweet edible fruit - the date, growing on date palm trees. From date walnut puddings to being described as the tree of life, from breaking fasts in the evening Iftar meal with dates to being a symbol of prosperity and triumph, Khajoor as a brand represents the values of timeless traditions & cultural craftsmanship with a pinch of sweetness.
The soul of the brand finds its origin in my creative vision. Being born in the beautiful Pink City, I have always been inspired and surrounded by the rich culture, heritage, and crafts of Rajasthan. I was engrossed in painting with different mediums at a very young age and later went on to pursue a bachelor of design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi. After graduating and while pursuing CCBP from IIM Ahmedabad, Khajoor was born in 2021, with the hope to evoke a sense of colorful nostalgia and work with textile crafts merged with edgy modernity.
Khajoor derives its inspiration from all small things Indian, whether it's the vibrant streets of the south Indian temples or the intricate architecture of Indo-Mughal palaces in our hometown. Our signature aesthetic envelopes the love for the people, places, and art of our country.
We greatly admire how you honor the textile traditions of India and incorporate these beautiful age-old techniques into making contemporary pieces. Can you tell us about these techniques and give us an insight into your design process?
Our philosophy revolves around Contemporary folklore in India, expressed through artisanal & artistic contemporary essentials for the modern individual. Centered around hand knits and hand prints, the clothing at Khajoor is structured yet delicate, art-inspired, and mindfully handcrafted. From using ethical raw materials to natural and azo-free dyeing, we try our best to use sustainable raw materials, processes, and alternatives that live in harmony with nature. All our collections take inspiration from either some art movement or from everyday Indian things that take shape in form of knits, prints, or silhouettes. Translating it into textile crafts like hand knitting and hand block printing, which are hand done by artisans, takes a lot of sampling and experimentation to create something beautiful in the end.
The brand has made a name for itself with its stunning collection of knitwear. How did you identify and decide to fill the market gap for this craft? What inspired you to reimagine the art of knitting that was once just a hobby for most people in India?
While pursuing Knitwear Design from NIFT, New Delhi, I worked with different types of knitting techniques and fabrics - Hand Knitting, Flat Knitting, and Circular Knitting, with a special interest in hand knitting and crocheting. While working with different women artisans and clusters for hand knitting, I realized that there’s a gap in the Indian market for premium contemporary knitwear, which is also a zero-waste process because essentially no waste is generated with hand knits. After researching and experimenting with knits and yarns, we launched our first-ever collection in 2021 with hand knits while expressing our artistic vision and co-creating with women artisans in India with love.
How are your handknit products different from what we used to see in most of our homes? How do the customers perceive your modern and unique take on knitwear now?
Hand knits from Khajoor will always be distinct because they express our artistic signature aesthetic using materials like indigenous wool, merino wool, recycled cotton, etc., and are handmade by skilled women artisans in India. Our clients are very appreciative of our knitwear pieces. They understand the time and effort it takes to hand-knit a piece, and it makes them cherish these made-to-order pieces for life.
We’re so excited to know that Khajoor Studio has launched its latest collection, Capsule Edit’23 - Fragments. Can you tell us more about this new lineup and what sets it apart from the previous collections?
Capsule Edit'23 - Fragments expresses the concept of multi-dimensionality, an aspect of the truth of life. Fragments portray angular, monochrome, and simplified geometric forms and structures placed in a non-illusionistic space. Marginal 2D optics illustrate subtle monochrome freedom of experimentation.
It is a collection of conscious handmade knitwear, quilted dresses, and co-ord sets exploring various geometric patterns in the craft. The pieces are thoughtfully hand-knitted by women artisans from Himachal Pradesh, India, in pure merino wool and recycled cotton. The quilting and hand embroidery are done at our studio in Jaipur. From cloudy windy mornings to chilly nights, Khajoor Studio’s pieces will continue to keep you warm and cozy.
The Fragments’23 has been interpreted with distinctive visual storytelling. We’d love to know about the campaign and what it strives to say with its stunning photography.
The campaign for Fragments strives to express the concept of minimal abstraction, the garments from the collection fuse together linear and symmetric elements in flowy yet structured silhouettes so we wanted to shoot it in a clean, crisp manner. The homogenous hues and marginal 2D optics illustrate a simplified puzzle-like aura in the overall imagery.
What are your favorite products from Fragments’23, and why so?
Some of my favorite pieces from Fragments include the Tearoom Vintage dress which is a perfect old-school romantic, intricate crochet dress that can be styled for brunch or a night out as well. Another piece that I love is the Coral crochet long scarf, beautifully handmade in merino wool, a perfect head-turner accessory, and last but not the least, I love the Pearl Baby quilted dress, a chic statement dress perfect for outdoor settings.
What is next in store for Khajoor Studio? We are always looking forward to more exciting projects from our talented designers!
Coming up for Khajoor Studio are a lot of vibrant artsy hand block prints, resort summer crochet pieces, and more hand knits for winters this year while also innovating with new materials under our design language.
Interviewer and Writer PRERNA MALHOTRA
Layout and Graphic Design VEDHIKA HV
IKKIVI Zine is a property of IKKIVI by Founder NIVI MURTHY
Images by KHAJOOR STUDIO