Nirava, the owner of the izizi

the man who plays with Indian fabrics

I fell in love Indian fabrics--Kadhi, we call it here. I liked in particular Indian Kadhi and then I soon found Ikat, which originated in India and went to Bali and Japan.
Actually at that time, I had a couple of hundred dollars; with that money I bought some Kadhi material and made some trousers, some Chinese farmers' pants. I sold them, got money, and bought some more material-- and then it developed into a boutique, which is now called "izizi", came from just a few hundred dollars.

The boutique may look impressive but my situation is the same: still now I only have a few hundred dollars because I have so many things to arrange ---ha, ha, ha. But more fun, bigger fun I have now. At the beginning, I was just making the Buddha pants and now we are making hundreds of clothes each month.


What are the Buddha pants? They are Chinese farmers' pants. We gave this the name "Buddha pants", which is like a diaper. This was the first model we started. Since then we have been producing lots of models as you know.

Q: I have heard you found something very interesting lately. Could you tell me about what you have found?

Yes. These 6 years I have been working on vegetable dye here in India. I trained one of my weavers. For 2, 3 years I had sent him to a dye master in the mountains. He studied vegetable dyes with the master. He learned and became good in dyeing but he was not good in producing material on time---always saying "Yes,yes", but he could not deliver on time---it ended up good for nothing.

The Color Chart
So I was almost at a loss. What to do now? Shall I train somebody else? But one day, one Italian woman, she was a social worker in one village, walked in my boutique and showed me this color chart.

Then I knew what I should do. I forgot about training somebody else and went straight to this village where she was working. I went with Halima, a Japanese woman, who was also much impressed by this chart. There we were just amazed.
We found they are producing the most beautiful vegetable colors we had ever seen. Now I am convinced that they are the most beautiful in the world!

Q:Natural dyeing is fast? Color will come out, right?
When you hear about natural dyeing, especially Indian dyeing, you think, "Oh, no. Color will come out all the time when you wash." But it's not like that. In that village we went to, first they make crystal extracts from plants, roots, minerals, insects---many materials you find naturally. Sometimes they use even cockroaches and cow's shit. After they get the crystal extracts, they break them, melt them down, and make crystals again. They repeat this 3 or 4 times to get pure colors; this is traditionally called "Bhasma" technique in India.

Yes, vegetable dye does fade, but the colors are extracted in a way to be their purest; so they fade very slowly. Over the years they fade very slowly like the first jeans which were made by Lee or somebody. That was a vegetable color, Indigo, in hemp. The first jeans was made of hemp colored with Indigo.

Q:You mean it fades like jeans?
The famous thing about Jeans is "fading"; that comes from the vegetable color, which is slowly fading. You cannot see colors in the water. It fades mostly by the effect of the light. It is fading, fading and always looking beautiful.

When chemical colors fade, they look ugly. But when vegetable colors fade, they look beautiful. Finally they become almost white; then they look even more beautiful. In fact, many people like when vegetable colors fade.

We have one client in America, who is interested in linen in vegetable colors. He wanted us to wash the material 50 times and then 100 times, and to hang it in the sun and then show him the original clothes, the 50 times washed and 100 times... If he sees good fading, then he is very much interested, he said.

Q: Sometime we find tradition is really nice.
Yes, there in the village they are preserving some natural dyes which are really high in quality but are disappearing everywhere else in the world.

For example, in Thailand, they used to make these dyes, but since the industrial changes came, all the traditional things have gone. Now there is only one street in Chanmai where they are still making traditional umbrellas and hand-woven silks -- but only for exhibition. Basically all of this has disappeared from the villages. The same has been happening in India, too. Weavers using handlooms have no work. They are geniuses, artisans, gifted people descended from many generations of weavers, but they are dying in the street because factories can produce so much more cheaply. So nobody wants hand-woven material anymore.

2000 years ago, Indian dyeing was the best, the clothing was the most valuable in the world. Everybody was saying, "Indian dyeing, great!" And then chemical colors came, and everybody said, "Indian dyeing, oh, no!" At one time, Indian colors were the most beautiful.

Q: Have you tried these material made of natural dye yourself?
We have ten colors in cotton from that chart. I washed them all myself in a washing machine. Those colors are not running at all. When I wash Indian chemical-dyed clothes -- in fact I have done so much washing in India -- much color comes out. But when I washed these 10 colors, nothing came out. They are fast, but people think, "Oh, vegetable colors, they are going." Yes, they go in the light. They are light-sensitive. So you need to hang them in the shade and how they fade is nice. Even if they become almost white... so good!

Now I have an idea to make bed sheets for children. Imagine babies sleeping in the vegetable colors. It is a beautiful picture. You know then what I want to do? I want to sing a lullaby like this: lula, lula lululu----(he sang an beautiful singing at the end of interview).
His Lullaby in Real Audio
His Lullaby in MP3

Nirava and his Japanese partner, Halima

Nirava and his Japanese partner, Halima really fell in love with Indian Traditional way of natural dye and are going to make bed sheets for children with vegetable dyed materials!
If you are also interested in, contact Nirava and Harima at IZIZI boutique(A4 Ashiyana Park, North Main Road, Koregaon Park, Pune, India TEL:0091 20 6138969) or send them email :