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Soham Dave Spring Summer 2012. Photo by: Elizabeth Shrier

Soham Dave promotes local artisans, and fairtrade to create a contemporary range of products with an emphasis on biodegradable fabrics, chemical-free dyes, recycled materials, and hand-crafted items.

Designer and founder Soham Dave was born in India in 1979. Although initially pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, design and aesthetics fascinated Dave and drew him back to fashion. During his childhood in the small town of Gujarat he would stand for hours and observe his family tailors while they worked, so rather than pursue engineering, Dave joined his family’s house of fashion in 2003. Then he enrolled at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). Upon graduation, Dave found his niche in combining fashion and craft working at SEWA Trade Facilitation Center, a company working with marginalized artisans. There, he explored traditional Indian skills including hand embroidery, hand block printing and hand weaving, and creatively applied them to creating contemporary silhouettes.

Dave then decided to move to New York to complete his master’s degree in Global Fashion Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and launched his eponymous label; which began with handbags and handmade jewellery before evolving to include women’s apparel.

Soham Dave views himself as not only ‘designer’ but also environmentalist and social entrepreneur.

“Creative people should know the materials they are using, where it is coming from and how it is made,” says Dave. “We see the materials and processes that the product is made of as a whole story, and keep the nature, our artisans and our eco conscious customer in the heart of Soham Dave. Ethical fashion is growing as consumers are more sensitive about environment and are demanding more sustainably produced products.”

Hand block printed 100% silk dress. Photo by : Romeo Lee

Inspired by his time with SEWA, Dave works closely with his artisans and focuses on eco-friendly techniques and natural dyes.

“I am amazed how artisans create the beautiful fabrics without any chemicals and even with no need of electricity” he shares. “So I dedicate myself to keep the traditional skills alive and refine the artisan’s work and create modern looks where they can compete in today’s market.”

The collection is available at small boutiques in Manhattan or online.

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