The essence of the Soham Dave brand embraces hand-crafted clothing, the natural environment, the heritage of India and women who live there today. While I was in New York during fashion week, I was fortunately invited to the Soham Dave fashion show at the Empire Hotel Roof Lounge. I first encountered the brand at Nolcha Fashion Week in September of 2011, where I met Alexis, a sweet Ohioan who handles their publicity. My mother and I attended the presentation set high above the city in the crowded Fireside bar. Luckily, there was a roof top patio with a window view, which we spilled into once the standing room only allowed no view of the makeshift runway. While the show added glamour to the eco-friendly collection, it wasn’t until the models mingled with the audience afterward when I could see the fine craftsmanship of the fabrics.
The story behind the fabrics of Soham Dave is what makes the collection so special. Soham Dave, the designer, was born in Gujarat, India in 1979. While studying Global Fashion Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, he met Nimet Degirmencioglu. Soham, as the namesake creative designer, and Nimet, as the brand ambassador and executive of business development, launched their first collection in 2011. The green brand employs women artisans in India, traditional eco-friendly production techniques, biodegradable fabrics, recycled materials and natural dyes. Not only does Soham Dave practice fair trade, meaning all workers are paid a fair wage, the company teaches workers about entrepreneurship to create sustainable lives. By applying traditional Indian skills, including hand embroidery, hand block printing and hand weaving, to contemporary silhouettes, Soham Dave fuses “the old and the new, classic and contemporary, and ancient organic and urban lifestyles.”
Soham Dave also launched a collection of handbags and handmade jewelry, which some pieces are made from scraps of fabric left over from the clothing line.
Soham takes inspiration from nature and Indian tradition. The motivation behind the latest collection is “Bandhani.” Bandhani is a method of dying fabric by pinching and tying very tiny pieces of the fabric in a particular design. After its dyed, the tied thread is unraveled to reveal small square-shaped dots, crinkled creases of fabric and vivid colors.
My take on Soham Dave:
My favorite pieces from the latest collection are the indigo Bandhani empire top and tan Ajrak printed dresses. From the online shop, I really like the white Safed Khadi dress, white Khadi wrap and beaded necklace on a metal chain. Another favorite is the Streetline Indigo dress that is Ajrak printed, which was recently purchased by Emma Watson from the Co-op 28 Boutique in Los Angeles.
I’m a fan of Soham Dave because it’s eco-friendly and socially conscious, which is oh, so hot, especially right now. But I’m eager to see the creators develop those selling points and elaborate on their designs. I imagine this line becoming super popular with the green folk, organic eaters, vegetarians, vegans, humanitarians, boho chicks and wannabe hippies as long as they embrace that off kilter lifestyle and love of clothing that’s comfy and practical, yet sexy. Now is the time to thrive on the bohemian/hippie/earth lovin’ style. I look forward to the addition of more natural dye colors, contemporary prints and sophisticated shapes.
What you need to know about Soham Dave:
- Every item is handmade by women artisans from remote villages in India
- All items are made from biodegradable fabrics, recycled materials and natural dyes using environmentally safe production techniques, making this collection 100% eco-friendly
- The collection currently includes jewelry, handbags and clothing, mostly summery dresses
- The cost of clothing items range from $80 to $350
- Based in New York City, Soham Dave is available at boutiques throughout the city and in Cleveland and Philadelphia
Where can you shop Soham Dave:
- Online here
- Evie Lou: 2153 Professor Ave., Cleveland, OH; 216-696-6675
- Also in New York City, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia…