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Mandakini Kumari- Reflecting the original creativity from the tribal heartlands of India "Ambarhue"

‘Ambar’ is a synonym of cloth in Hindi + Ambar means sky in Hindi. ‘Hue’ is a word that means colour or shade. Together ‘Ambar-hue’ essentially works into ‘coloured cloth’ or ‘all the colours under the sky’
Mandakini Kumari grew up in two places: Raghogarh, a Madhya Pradesh hamlet, and New Delhi. In her ancestral house, she learned about old fabrics and heritage pieces of clothing passed down through centuries. While she admired these ancient outfits, she preferred the brightly coloured chheent dresses that adorned her own closet. So when her wardrobe's designs were replaced by subdued pastels, she determined to bring Chheent back to life. Mandakini married and moved to Santrampur, a tribal neighbourhood in Dahod, Gujarat, where she worked as a vendor of chheent prints. Ambarhue was born after 25 years of building a dream.

Ambarhue is a brand that takes pride in its maximalist lifestyle. They promote local workmanship by designing goods that are appropriate for today's lives. These old retro rainbow designs are being revived by Ambarhue. Chintz is a timeless pattern that will suit many surfaces in any home or wardrobe. While we may like the floral patterns, the history it weaves is far more colourful. Chintz gets its name from the Hindi word 'chheent,' which comes from the word 'chheenta,' which means speckled. Chheent was first printed using the mud resist dyeing method. The majority of the designs were created by hand using a bamboo reed or kalamkari techniques. The natural dyes that were utilised to print the coarse cotton cloths remained brilliant. Chheent piqued European interest in the 16th century, and this simple design was adapted to suit European tastes. All of a sudden gone was the vibrance formerly synonymous with India. Chheent was colonised into chintz and calicos that were much sought after while its modest origins lay forgotten. Their prints are inspired by the tribes of Gujarat's Dahod belt, and represent the lushness of the natural treasures that surround us. "We try to provide a job for the ladies of the region while endeavouring to maintain ethical and sustainable methods to the best of our ability," Mandakini explains. Locals are involved in every step of the process at Ambarhue, from stitching to modelling their products. She shares, “Our team of rural-- the ‘Ambarhue Tribe’ are the ones who hearken us back to a time of vibrant colours, one we yearn for all to return to.”

“While we go back to our roots with Ambarhue, our sartorial style gives import to comfort- a key feature of all Indian garments. We want you to work, play, run, jump, twirl and dance with ease as you go about your daily chores.”, she further says. Their home line will add color to every part of your home, brightening it up. Chheent prints are distinguished by lush flora and vibrant hybrid flowers. Recent prints draw inspiration from nature, incorporating elaborate designs, some of which were influenced by Persian motifs. Each pattern impressed by the cloth reflects the rural deification of flora, animals, and natural elements. Nature is unrestricted by the restrictions of clashing colours. This incongruity is reflected in chheent prints, where red is paired with orange, yellow, and purple for romance, while green and pink work in perfect harmony.
She shares, “At Ambarhue while we revive chheent we also hope in our resurrection to do justice to the original creativity from the tribal heartlands of India. With a new identity, every one of our prints has a unique name and comes in up to five colour variations.” She concludes by saying, “For us, each pattern tells a tale- of love, labour and above all optimism- acting therein as our design identity at Ambarhue.”

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