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Behind the Label: Goodearth

Every time we are in India, we make it a point to stop by a Goodearth shop to stock up on our favorite contemporary home products. Think block print linens, charming demitasse cups and beautifully colored glass. Many Goodearth wares make great hostess and holiday gifts that we begrudgingly share all year long. Learn the story behind this beloved Indian brand and then shop Goodearth products which are on sale for a limited time.

Can you describe the Goodearth brand?

As India’s leading Design House, Goodearth is known for bridging the gap between craft and luxury.  India is known for its handicrafts and we have become a platform for artisans to connect to flourishing market demand.  We work with the craftsman to refine cottage crafts to a position of Sustainable Luxury and our design teams collaborates with artisans to develop a contemporary design language. Each year, through our unique designs stories, we present an enchanted view of India and celebrate the heritage of the Subcontinent and Asia.

Can you briefly share the backstory of how Goodearth got started?

20 years ago, my mother Anita Lal, a ceramics designer, saw the craft of the kumbhars (village potters) was dying out. They were losing their livelihood as terracotta matkas (water vessels) were giving way to lighter, unbreakable plastic containers. She started working with them at what is now our headquarters, Tulsi Farms in New Delhi. She took their craft and contemporized it, creating large earthenware terracotta pots that were fired at very high temperatures.  This collaboration resulted in the kumbhars’s pottery gracing some of India’s finest homes and hotels. Back then, there was a dearth of places that sold well-made, contemporary products with an Indian aesthetic. My mother wanted to bridge this gap and offer products that revive forgotten craft traditions and celebrate the best of India, without being kitschy. In 1996 she launched Good Earth in Mumbai, and from that one boutique, we have grown into a luxury retail brand with shops in five Indian cities, one in Ankara and our designs available at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Selfridges this year.

What are some of your endless inspirations?

As our name suggests our inspiration is drawn from nature, all that is of this earth and all that is beyond. Wherever we go, whatever our inspiration, nature has always be part of our design language.  History has also been another source, so along with stylized trees, birds, flowers, animals, heroes and even inspirational villains have all been part of our design directory. The event that most influenced our signature was an exhibition of the Padshahnama in 1997.  The depth of color and delicacy of lines in the paintings were spellbinding and left a deep and lasting influence on the Goodearth design team. Ever since, we have been inspired by the Mughals who were great patrons of beauty, architecture and design.  Our legacy of luxury is Mughal after all. 

How does travel inspire your collection?

As our name suggests our inspiration is drawn from nature, all that is of this earth and all that is beyond. Wherever we go, whatever our inspiration, nature has always be part of our design language. History has also been another source, so along with stylized trees, birds, flowers, animals, heroes and even inspirational villains have all been part of our design directory. The event that most influenced our signature was an exhibition of the Padshahnama in 1997. The depth of color and delicacy of lines in the paintings were spellbinding and left a deep and lasting influence on the Goodearth design team. Ever since, we have been inspired by the Mughals who were great patrons of beauty, architecture and design. Our legacy of luxury is Mughal after all.

Eternal Kashi – Colours and Weaves of Banaras in 2015

This year we went back to Banaras, once known as Kashi, the City of Light. Banarasi weaves have historically been been known for their ‘shot’ colors (with complementing hues in weft and warp) and are often inspired by the changing light of the sun reflected on the river Ganga. So this was our focus this year, to explore the traditions of color and weave craft in this fabled city with the ceremonial and celebratory marigold as the leitmotif of the collection.

Tell us about the artisans and craftspeople you work with.

It starts with inspiration from a region rich in cultural and craft heritage. Then there is a phase of study; where are design team must first learn like apprentices of the artisans before becoming collaborators.  At Goodearth, we feel it is important that the designs we create retain the spirit of the artisans’ traditions so that each crafts person can identify with what he creates; otherwise it is as bland as something machine-made. We work with craftsmen across the country. We inspire them, help with design inputs and innovative application and then take their products to a global market.

As your collection continues to grow, what creative endeavors are on the horizon?

We want to continue our efforts to give the Indian aesthetic its rightful place in the world today. Keeping this in mind, one of our big endeavors for the next few years is to keep evolving our global reach, and enriching our storytelling.  This year we experimented with a series of craft films and were delighted to find that the first one, Pehchaan of a Jaipuri Quilt went viral on Facebook with almost 2 million views! We are a highly creative design house and constantly create new collections and product categories. One of our focus areas is to grow our apparel and accessories (scarves, bags, stoles and jewelry) category.

by: The Shop Latitude Team

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