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When we came across Chandamama for the first time we kept gazing at their beautiful look-book- kiddiewinks giggling and dancing and playing around zestfully in a beautiful farm. The brand is inspired by a passion for travel and life all over the globe and a love in particular for India. Let us tell you the story of a happy mommy making happy clothes for happy kids- Chantal Kumar, creator and designer of Chandamama in today's #TuesdayTale.
Chantal is Dutch and she grew up in the North of the Netherlands. She happily shares with us, “My parents live in Alkmaar, and it is really the countryside. It is very beautiful, and the atmosphere is quiet and peaceful. My dream job was to be a fashion designer. I was 4 years old, and when I didn’t know what to do, my mom would give me a piece of paper and a pen and would say, “Sketch something! Sketch what you have on your mind. If you don’t know what to do, just draw or write something.” She loved sewing; we would hardly ever buy clothes. We would design a print: my mom would design a skirt I wanted.” That is how her journey with designing clothes began, and it only turned out to be an awesome one.
Chantal says that when you have a dream you may forget it for like 10 years, but it will always come back to you. She doesn’t know how, but it definitely happens. She chose a different career. She wanted to travel and managed to find a job with the Dutch Foreign Service. She worked at the United Nations in New York. “I was in love with New York. New York made me remember my dream. My boyfriend (now husband), who is Indian, encouraged me to take a Fashion Design course at Parsons School for Design in New York.” This is where my dream found a strong ground.
They later moved to Singapore. “I had my children, and I knew going back to my career would mean a full-time nanny at home and I would just be miserable. I would never see my kids, I would travel all the time, and it was just not worthwhile. I felt that I had kind of learnt everything I should at that course. I decided that I needed to try, and it was then that things just sort of happened. I worked on my first collection and came to India for production. Around that same time we decided to move to India. In the last few years I’ve fallen in love with this beautiful country- India. Apparently growing up in a small farmer village left me with a slight farmer complex. I like that we live in a farmhouse, a little bit city and a little bit farmy, in Chattarpur, Delhi. I love sitting on our verandah watching the birds… There is nothing like it.”
Now knowing all this we really need a bigger slice of her life, and here’s a small tete-a-tete-
>> What inspires Chandamama?
Inspiration for my collections undoubtedly comes from bringing up my children where we live in India and on a farm. Watching the children living life to the fullest amidst beautiful natural surroundings inspires me to create collections that encourage outdoor fun as well as look great.
>> Tell us what goes behind the beautiful Chandamama look-book?
All our photos are taken on the farm. I have worked with Kamal Kaushik, the photographer from the beginning and really love how he creates images that are more like portraits, then a straight up fashion story. With these images, Kamal not only creates beautiful shots of my product, but also creates a window into my children’s lives.
I like simplicity and I cannot work hard for fashion. Being a parent I try to combine timeless sophistication with functionality for everyday use. Freedom of movement, creative color combinations and a soft feel are my criteria for the designs. Kids have such a fun-loving nature, they need to be able to jump, run and climb. And that’s what Chandamama is all about.
Chandamama uses beautiful fabrics and loves colours, brilliant ones as well as halftone ones and embraces the use of the old technique of Indian block printing and the use of natural Indian fabrics and dyes. The collection is hand made in India.
The company support children’s projects in India with a portion of profits each year.
This is what life is all about at PolkaCoffee, we want to tell stories of makers, the creators, who give their heart and soul to do things they love and inspire us. Don’t you too want to jump on a haystack and look at the moon glaring out of a starry night?
Originally published here