What follows is a long post , I suggest grab your favorite beverage , sit back and and enjoy this music .
This is the story of Pratham , of fighting against all odds , of one of our favorite art forms – Pichwai and India ‘s favorite garment – Sari.
Prashant and his wife Shweta started designing clothes for Shweta which were highly appreciated wherever they went. This went on for some time when the designing process started for family members too. But after designing for some years he and his wife gave up and thought that they were not going to take it any forward and stopped with it then and there.
It was their Guruji who made them come back to their roots of designing and asked them to design a Sherwani (wedding attire of Boys) for his son’s wedding in 2013. Prashant and Shweta were highly elated and worked their best in creating this master piece. Once this was in place, it was the blessings of Guruji that they got an order for designing clothes of a Friend’s Family for a wedding function. Seeing everything was falling back in place they gathered courage and started off with their brand Pratham .
“Every event in your life is a test of your faith .There’s something positive about any thing that happens to you. No matter how grave it may appear. ” Shweta and Prashant
Pratham means First and Excellent , and also a person who holds first rank in a group of people in the society. This merely means that one is unique . Also as per Indian traditions we first worship Lord Ganesha who is the supreme power. These ideologies lead Prashant and Shweta in naming their Label as “Pratham”. (This being apart from the fact that they named their only son ‘Pratham’ too)
“I am an M.B.A (with no formal qualifications in fashion) & into my family business since 2002. Since childhood I’ve had a creative bent of mind & would always find myself engaged in various craft activities…. be it art from mud, old magazines, dry leaves cards to name just a few. Never into sports, craft shows on Television would always entice me. But these hobbies were not encouraged by my father who termed them more as ‘girl’ thing.”
“Frankly speaking the traditional family business set up never excited me. Although the money, status all came easily but still I always craved for something new, adventurous & different things. It was only after my marriage to Shweta in 2003, I realized the designing element in saris (worn majorly during those times in our homes) & how a sari purchased from a normal shop & a good designer boutique was so different. Earlier, reluctant to accept this fact & continuously negating Shweta’s taste & faith in designer saris, I soon founded myself accompanying Shweta to sari designers & was completely mesmerized by the charm of designer saris. ” – Prashant
“Always searching for something new & different ways of doing & present things (in a strict & hostile environment), life went on…..But frankly speaking the traditional family business set up never excited me. Although the money, status all came easily but still I always craved for something new, adventurous & different things.
A mere cover on copy during schooling & even post graduation needed to be different. A gift to friends on their weddings are such that they still occupy prominent places in their respective bedrooms or living rooms.” – Shweta and Prashant
Rising from the dull crayons,
To dominating the world with brightness.
She has done it again.
Once the meek one,
Now portraying the bull.
She has done it again.
The blues of tradition,
And one outfit that slays.
She has done it again.
Baatein for Shweta
“Our initial work was mainly – recreating our mothers’ wedding sarees & lehngas. The outcome was terrific. Mixing vintage charm with contemporary fabrics resulted in products that would not be seen any where else. I would not mind mentioning here a fact that our above experiment was a huge inspiration for a fashion designer based in Shahpurjat,Delhi who created his entire collection on similar lines & is still doing it in Canada (although he informed me about it before hand)
Thus started the design journey with couple of friends, our moms, sister-in-laws from both the families as our first clients.”
“Earlier this year we participated in The Saree Festival in Delhi after being rejected twice. The response received was unparalleled, which was not thought of at all. Apart from great sales, the feedback, compliments received made our days. Being appreciated by none other than ace designers Ms Ritu Kumar ji ( who also picked 1 saree), Ms Abha Dalmiya Ji, Mr Jattinn Kochhar, Ms Ratna Jain (of ‘Tantra’ Ghaziabad, who also picked from us), made us feel as if on seventh heaven. The irony here is- Ms Ratna Jain is one of the designer’s from whom Shweta used to purchase during initial years of our marriage.”
Pratham has also launched their first Flagship store- “THE SAREE COURTYARD” in Delhi
Pratham as a label respects womanhood and also designs their products keeping in mind the strengths a woman has and the roles a woman can play at large. Shweta says – We are catering to every woman of all sects of the society who has entrepreneurial skills, a senior citizen, a bubbly girl in her 20’s, or a home maker.
A woman, any of these, is a true celebrity for Pratham.” On a different note…. since I am a huge Sridevi fan, that too since childhood. I would want to see her in our drapes.” Prashant
“The reflection of our fascination for Indian art forms, in our creations is what we do best. Combining various art forms & not making repeat pieces is what sets us apart. ”
When Indra, the lord of rains, showed his wrath on the people of Vrindavan, with violent rains and thunder, lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain like an umbrella and saved the inhabitants – the cows and cowherds, from Indra’s fury. Indra was humbled and the people started worshipping Govardhan, the giver of rains and green pastures. Legend has it that in 1409 AD, an image of lord Shrinathji, the mountain lifting form of Krishna, was discovered when a cow worshipped the lord with offerings of milk. A temple was established there and was held in high reverence. And the land of Pichwai paintings was born.
“The fascination for the glories & vibrance of Indian culture & tribal arts have always been the backbone of our designing process. We have always incorporated, amalgamation of various sensibilities, processes and traditional ideas in our designs.” – Shweta and Prashant
“If you are happy doing something that gives you inner satisfaction then ‘Yes, I am successfull’ I never designed… to become successful. For me it was a way of life, something I couldn’t live without. There were instances (in the start) when I used to design just for my wife…. after every few designs the thought process would be “…leave it yaar, enough sarees, lets rest! we are only piling up the heaps.” It was only during those ‘pause’ moments that either I would fall ill or be bombarded with new designs…. enough for me to start all over again. ”
“Throughout I had been purely following my passion. The Saree Festival & its outcome just happened. Never planned for it. Planning had always been to create something new. Divine grace bestowed by my Guruji, blessings of my mother, finances from my father & unwavering faith, belief & support of my wife had been the real ingredients of my success. ” Prashant
“We will soon be starting our own E-commerce portal, Travel a lot and design more & more of good stuff. Rest we are assured will definitely be taken care of…Also, the sequence of events happening in my life over last 3 yrs especially, seems to heavily push me in the direction of my aim, as if God is present to take care of me every single moment.”
In his essay “The Secret of Work”, Swami Vivekananda says, “Just as water cannot wet the lotus leaf, so work cannot bind the unselfish man by giving rise to attachment to results.” Even though the lotus is rooted in mud, it continues to float on the water without becoming wet or muddy. The Bhagavad Gita says, “One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results onto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.” ……..so true for Pratham .
Follow Pratham on Facebook here or directly contact them on their email ID –firstname.lastname@example.org
To see the beautiful saris in person , visit them at :
” Pratham – The Saree Courtyard”
J-1 Udyog Nagar Industrial Area
Near Peeragarhi Metro station
New Delhi , India