“Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling, the artist has experienced,” says Leo Tolstoy.
This is the tale of a young, bright Delhi-based designer Hunain Qureshi who set out on her incredulous journey in 2017, through her bespoke clothing brand-HK Heirlooms. Recounting her childhood, Hunain says that she was highly inspired by her mother, who saw through her child’s vehemence and enthusiasm. Embracing the traditional work, she created her brand, HK Heirlooms, which brings in à la mode dressmaking subtlety, coupled with fine detailing. With hand painting as
a significant essentiality, HK Heirlooms expresses ideas and emotions by creating certain aesthetic qualities.
HK Heirlooms believes in communicating affection and sensibility through an exuberant exploration of color and form. Kashmir, as we know, is an epitome of artistic crafts and is celebrated for its elegant and luxurious mastery and expertise. The intricate embroidery patterns, profound cultural heritage, and its rich legacy have attained significant importance all over the
world. Regardless of the fact that the beauty and grandeur of Kashmiri crafts is incomparable, there is an equal amount of hardship and effort involved in a single article.
Hunain, the girl who dreamt of weaving magic through her art, says that her fascination with the Kashmiri handicrafts started very early on in life. Being a non- Kashmiri, she felt all the more intrigued to get to the root of these crafts, which had cast a spell on her all along. Thus began her journey into the origin of some of Kashmir’s pristine art forms like Sozni, Kaani, Carpet weaving, and the like. Hunain recounts her first-ever visit to the Kanihama village, Budgam which is famous for the production of Kani shawls. Hunain expresses her gratitude to have met Mr. Sajad
Ahmed Wani a.k.a Sajad Kanihami, a Kaani prodigy and get a first-hand account of the journey of the Kaani artistry which is believed to be running in his family since the 1980s.
As Hunain explored and ventured into the craftsmanship of Kashmiri artisans and the
multitude of art forms in Kashmir, her resolve to include them in HK Heirlooms grew stronger. She continued her exploration and ventured into the birthplaces of sozni, wood carving, carpet handloom & a plethora of hand embroideries.
While an overwhelming sense of fascination and amazement stood at the core of this journey of exploration, Hunain also realized that the Kashmiri craft stands hugely underrepresented in the national & the international design circuits. The ones who’d managed to carve out some space in this sector were too far and few to have an actual impact. She now aims to undertake the plight of the Kashmiri artisans and tell their story to the world through a contemporary fusion of her brand with some of the native Kashmiri crafts without losing the veracity of its craft.
Hunain plans to curate a digital space embodying her journey and love for Kashmiri crafts and attempting to create a full-fledged ecosystem where art is represented in its truest form and the artisans, who are the soul of these crafts, shall be appropriately represented and remunerated for their craftsmanship.
To further acclimate herself about the past & the future of the Kashmiri crafts and their relevance in the present design scenario, Hunain has managed to gather valuable inputs from Mr. Sheikh Aashiq, President of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, and Ms. Amina Assad, Creative Head of School of Design, Kashmir Haat. She credits them with reinforcing her ideas and encouraging her to work along with the local artisans and foster the craft forever.
Hunain feels deeply obliged and humbled for the overwhelming experiences she garnered over the last few years and looks forward to attempting her story of intertwining Kashmiri craft in her brand, HK Heirlooms forever. She strongly believes that her collaboration with the local craftsmen, can efficiently bring out the best of the craft and promote the Kashmiri heritage through her brand. This is also a sincere attempt to re-introduce the Kashmiri Heritage crafts to the young-generation craftsmen and provide them a perspective of looking at the opportunities of being on the global pedestal of fashion, for times to come.