In conversation with Seema & Neelam Tupkar, Founders - Messiah Craft
How does it feel to have your work featuring at NYFW?
Blessed. We are really lucky to be part of something this huge and we can't express that happiness. Small brands are getting wider reach nowadays, but Dhanya ma'am is the first lady to take a small brand like us, to an opportunity this huge. Without her support, we wouldn't have reached here.
We are very thankful to Papreeka.
Tell us about your brand.
Messiahcraft is based in Goa and makes the most beautiful Dhokra jewellery. We work directly with experienced Dhokra artists, so the pieces are well made. We focus mainly on aesthetic pieces, mostly in gold color. Dhokra is a slowly dying art, and we are trying to bring up the primitive Dhokra culture from Jharkhand and Orissa into the sustainable fashion front. Messiahcraft collection stands out because of the rich history behind this dying art form.
We have not been to the flea markets in many years, but our mom started the flea market business thirty years back. Before the merge of Messiahcraft, she had a small business. Though not educated, she tried to bring up her own business and her hard-work has been our greatest inspiration. When she gave me the key to her business, the two of us joined forces to create our brand. Messiahcraft, in the name of Jesus, was born hence.
What is the inspiration behind your pieces chosen for Fashion Week?
We’ve always wanted to keep Indian crafts, especially ones as beautiful and unique as Dhokra alive. Fashion week collections are our way of introducing Indian culture, styles, and art to the world of fashion.
What is an unexpected turn of events that the pandemic brought about?
The pandemic has greatly harmed the poor and vulnerable businesses and craftsmen.
When all doors closed, we had to come up with different strategies to continue business and engage with our customers.
We didn't know when we would get a chance to open up again. It was hard to just sit around waiting. We did everything we could to keep our sales up; worked on more Dhokra art, used the time to experiment more, and created new jewelry designs for some lovely customers. We also tried to reach out to different brands, customers and collectors, spreading word about our collection. We posted some beautiful jewellery pictures on our Instagram account "@Messiahcraft". The brimming photos on our Instagram account attracted customers around the world.
We struggled just as much as everyone else did. It was all about hope and the will to restart and with the same hope we are back on track.