“I'm a collector. A traveller. An emotion.
I travel through earth, to satiate my hunger.
Along the way, I collect stones n' fabric, wood n' jute
And through the journey, these become-
My muse my medium.”
Penned by Diti Mistry, this poem succinctly and aptly describes her journey, design process and ethos of her eponymous brand DITI. The word “Diti” in Sanskrit means an idea, splendour and earth goddess. Much like its meaning, DITI was the result of a simple yet splendid idea to undertake artistic adventures by way of using forgotten and ignored materials and convert them into beautiful products.
Diti Mistry’s journey with her brand has in fact roots in her experience as an illustrator, doodler and an artist. But it all came together wonderfully during her internship with a clothing brand in Auroville. Although she was working on content creation for the brand, it was the disregarded and/or discarded cutting scraps and leftovers in the studio that kept drawing her attention.
Her creative mind would often find itself dreaming up ways in which these leftovers could be repurposed. And before she knew it she was making small hair accessories using the fabric scraps. “When I finally participated in my first exhibition and displayed my pieces for sale did I realize that this was indeed my calling to start my own venture”, reminisces Diti. Her young brand today offers fashion and home décor accessories primarily from textile scraps.
Design and Production Process
Every artist, as we know, tends to have their unique way of finding inspiration and then using it to create their art. As wonderfully described in her poem (mentioned above), Diti’s design process really just starts by picking up anything that catches her eye during her travels or otherwise. She then spends a lot of time with her materials and allows her instincts to inspire and guide her along. “I even take my time researching, sketching and conceptualising to ensure the products that are made are no less than wearable art” highlights Diti.
The challenge though lies in sourcing the materials for these products. Evidently, ensuring a regular inflow of fabric scraps in consistent colours and crafts is difficult. For her products, Diti has been working with local boutiques, tailor shops and artisans to meet her sourcing needs. What remains even after is sewn together to be used as packaging bags for the products.
Each piece under DITI is different as its handmade using basic stitches and traditional craft techniques. In the early days of the brand, Diti would singlehandedly create all her pieces. Gradually she started building her team and she now works with four women and an NGO to bring her designs to life.
The DITI products are primarily made out of textile scraps and further accentuated with some surface embellishments. Here are a few standout pieces that we love from her catalogue:
The Maldhari man and the Woman of Kutch: Inspired by her travels to Kutch, Diti created these characters which are quintessential representation of the tribal natives of the Kutch land. Made using Ajrakh block printed (traditional to the land of Kutch) and hand embroidered fabrics, these designs are available both as striking cushions and as brooches.
Frida Kahlo: Created with a desire to celebrate iconic women who challenged patriarchy and their restrictions on individual identity and self-expression, the Frida Kahlo design was born. Also available in both the cushion and brooch categories, this design stands for so much more than a mere décor/fashion accessory.
Gajah: The Gajah design is that of a wise elephant who hopes to relax and soothe anyone who takes him home. Conceptualized during the corona lockdown, the Gajah cushion and brooches are a great reminder for one to slow down and savour life.
Bos Taurus: The Bos Taurus design depicts a powerful bull, that makes for an absolutely captivating décor piece. Its fierce gaze is sure to not only stop one in their tracks but also encourage one to unleash and discover their wild spirit and strength.
As we are always curious to learn about every person’s sustainability practices, we asked Diti the same. She shared that “Living a sustainable lifestyle was not something that I had to learn, it was something I was born into.” She lovingly remembers and refers to her grandmother mending her torn clothes and also making grocery shopping bags out of fabrics lying around the house. The philosophy and practice of sustainability has now very organically extended into the core of Diti’s brand with an unwavering dedication to offer her customers products that last for a long time.
With the overwhelmingly positive response that DITI has received from its customers, Diti hopes to widen the scope of her home décor accessories range. Exciting collaborations with brands also seem to be underway. She also hopes to continue experimenting and embarking on exciting artistic adventures via new materials that she chances upon. And until then we have her fantastic characters of Gajah, Bos Taurus, Frida Kahlo and the natives of Kutch eager to come home and keep us company.
Image Credits: Diti Mistry
Feature Credits: Harshitha Venati