Launched in 1999, Amba is the socially conscious brainchild of designer Hema Shroff Patel. Having worked with the Rehwa Society and Women Weave, two non-profit weaving organizations, Patel was inspired to create a label that would simultaneously uphold the commitment to supporting female artisans and showcase the intricate weaving patterns unique to India. With one-of-a-kind stoles and delicate accessories, Amba draws upon Indian traditions to create an undeniably modern product.
1. You were born in the US and moved to Bombay- what made you start working with Women Weave? How was "Amba" conceived?
Hunting for beautiful sarees and stoles to give as presents for our wedding, a dear family friend put me in touch with Sally Holkar (the founder of the weaving project), who has been my mentor ever since.
2. What is the message behind the Women Weave organization?
To give women in weaving communities from rural India dignity by empowering them through training, counselling and support.
3. How does your design process work?
Very slowly...by connecting many dots...stirring up many yarns in a big pot and constantly looking for inspiration when I am driving around in the city or in rural India.
4. What is on the ?Amba? mood board?
To work on an interesting recycle product by using all my scraps from various block printing and weaving projects.
5. Which is your favorite "Amba" piece?
My naturally dyed indigo waffle stole with red trim.
6. What is next for "Amba"?
To focus strongly on its social entrepreneurship aspect.
7. Other than Amba and Women Weave- you have also started organizing mini day tours of Mumbai- can you tell us a little bit about that?
These are my days out in my own city...kind of like mental health days for me...I spend the day with some very interesting people visiting, who want a unique perspective on our maximum city- Mumbai. We do a range of things from eating, antique hunting, walking, chatting about politics and the local pulse of the city.