Story by Lauren Sharkey. Photographs of various items from Haath Designs. Photographs by Cathy Pinsky of Pinsky Studio.
In a society that revolves around up-to-the-minute mass-produced goods, Parviz BatlIwala, the owner of Haath Designs in-home boutique in Port Chester, thinks differently. Batliwala sees the value in using traditional and established techniques for her collection of handmade women’s fashion and home décor items imported from India.
Batliwala started her business about 11 years ago after a trip to India to visit her family.
“The way this happened was that many of my friends would ask me, ‘Oh where did you get that?’ Every time I brought something new back from my trips to India, they would all admire it. So I thought since everyone liked these items, why don’t I try this as a small business.”
In Haath Designs — haath meaning hand — Batliwala works closely with artisans around the world to create handmade products with classic designs and a contemporary twist.
“Everything is hand-embroidered, hand-woven, hand-block printed, hand-dyed, and 90 percent of it is hand-chosen by me. Then I put it together so that it works for the Western market.”
Committed to overseeing almost every aspect of the creation of her collection, Batliwala travels throughout India to consult with artists, designers and craftsmen.
“I come from Mumbai, and I have a very good supplier over there who has been wonderful to me. I have traveled to many different parts of India with her to see where these items are actually made.”
Batliwala will go to the villages to select the colors and fabrics she wishes to use in making her products.
“Some of the fabrics I will even put together. I’ll choose the blocks and then tell them which colors I want with which pattern. I am very particular about the quality and the finish of my designs.”
Due to the intricate work that goes into Haath Designs, the results are completely one-of-a-kind items, whether they’re jewelry, pottery, scarves or jackets. Among the techniques used are ikat and printing. Ikat is a method of weaving in which the threads are tie-dyed prior to the process to create designs on the finished fabric. Printing uses a wooden block, which is hand-carved with a personalized design. The block is then dipped in a natural dye and applied to a cloth to make the finished product.
Each item will be more unusual than the last, making Haath Designs a perfect go-to for the gift-giving seasons.
“I do the majority of my sales right before the holidays. Right before Thanksgiving, I sell a lot of linens. Then during the rest of the holiday season, my scarves and jewelry sell because they make great gifts.”
Outside of the gift-giving season, Haath Designs offers light, airy women’s wear that is perfect for the summer heat. “I have scarves that can be used as sarongs for the beach. I also make summer dresses and kimono wraps.”
When looking at Haath Designs’ pieces, you feel as though you’ve been transported to India. Batliwala even offers in-home private showings, which bring India to you.
For more, visit haathdesigns.com.