How this content creator made a case for India's textile heritage, one state at a time

Through her #IshtatesofIndia series, fashion designer and content creator Ishita Mangal combines humour and heritage to celebrate and preserve India's rich textile traditions.

Harper's Bazaar India

Did you know that the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, and basically every single state in the country had its own traditional handloom? And if you were to name all the Indian textiles, we bet, the number can be counted on your fingers with the usual chanderi, kalamkari, and Kanjeevaram, among others topping the list, of course. 

This is probably what motivated fashion designer and content creator, Ishita Mangal to start her #IshtatesofIndia series. Known for her innovative, sassy, and pleasantly snarky content, Mangal serves up her episodes (one dedicated to each state) with a generous dose of wit and knowledge, making them informative and entertaining. The series is not just a visual treat but an honourable mention to the incredible artisans of India who weave magic into every thread. Mangal reflects, “India has immense talent and craftsmanship. However, many of the people running these businesses lack professional conduct and marketing knowledge. Moreover, the industry is very unorganised, making it a challenge to do business with or reach out to them. This is an issue I hope to address in the future.”

Mangal has styled these textiles—some traditionally, some with a contemporary twist—and showcased how these traditional pieces are wearable and stylish in every way. “We reach out to local vendors or stores and contact the locals to understand the traditional ways of accessorising (the outfits). We also look for brands willing to lend us pieces for the shoot,” Mangal explains. Through the series, Mangal explores the unique crafts, drapes, jewellery, patterns, and languages of each of these these regions.

But the series is not just about the fabric; it’s about the people, the history, and the little nuances that make the state unique. “The idea originated from my interest in speaking different languages. And when it came to selecting crafts, we chose either well-known traditions or lesser-known ones that deserve more attention. The goal has been to include a surprise element in each episode,” she adds.

Mangal’s #IshtatesofIndia series is a movement dedicated to preserving and promoting India’s rich cultural heritage. Her content is tailored for the younger audience and addresses the issue of their reluctance to invest in handloom traditions due to a lack of awareness and the misconception that these are relics of the past. 

Mangal captivates her audience with fashion, beauty, and style videos, covering everything from shopping tricks and styling tips, to skincare secrets, make-up hacks, brand guides, and the latest fashion news. Before #IshtatesofIndia, Mangal created a few other mini-series such as #IMHighMaintenance, which focused on luxury brands, style, and knowledge, and #HowToFunAndFashion, a fun series about styling tips, getting ready videos, and more. 

Feature Collage Credits: Ishita Mangal

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