20th Anniversary Patchwork Kantha Shirt.
This week we are proud to launch a second vacation shirt that was designed to celebrate two decades in business. Just around three years ago we began working with our partner factory in Jaipur, India; our relationship with them has been incredibly important to the brand’s direction, especially as we try to bring new ideas to the table. One of our favorite aspects of this partnership is how it has allowed us the ability to apply a level of handwork to our garments that we have not been able to achieve in years past. The kantha quilt shirt we’re launching this week exhibits one such technique that we are very excited to share with you all.
In FW21 we produced two colorways of a block BD shirt in a brushed cotton fabric: earth and indigo. These shirts each utilized four distinct colors (8 between the two) that were arranged on the shirt to mimic vintage workshirts that were repaired from heavy wear. When we visited our factory in India in the fall of 2022, our production manager showed us a kantha-stitched quilt that they had taken the initiative to make using the leftover fabric scraps from the two shirt colorways without us asking. The stunning end result created a beautiful contrast of colors that resulted in a much bolder pattern than the original color combinations we had designed; this quilt served as inspiration for us to produce a special edition 20th anniversary Vacation Shirt. One of the best aspects of our relationship with our factory is their ability to sometimes foresee an idea and present it to us knowing that it will be something that we will be excited about. We’ve spoken in the past about how most designer-factory relationships are quite straightforward, whereas ours sometimes feels more like a collaboration due to back-and-forth exchanges of ideas on how to try new things and execute on existing ideas in better or more unique ways.
Kantha is a traditional embroidery method from India, where discarded fabric is revived by layering scraps over one another and are held together by the signature running stitch seen throughout the finished work. Because there were not nearly enough scraps remaining to complete a production run of shirts, we produced new cotton shirting that was dyed to match the indigo and earthy hues of the original BD shirts. These fabrics were then cut into irregular shapes, kantha stitched by hand, and then machine stitched together for strength into quilts. The blankets also feature a light cotton voile lining which is used as a backer to strengthen the fabric. The shirt patterns were then cut from the resulting quilts and sewn into shirts. No two quilts were the same, hence no two shirts are the same.
The 20th Anniversary Kantha Shirt launches on Thursday, August 17th at noon EDT on 3sixteen.com. Limited quantities will also be available via our NY & LA flagship stores, as well as select retailers worldwide.