1976 / TO / CURRENT
While John and Kinnari were studying at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, Kinnari had started researching the textiles of Kutch. What started as a research trip to the Rann of Kutch to study textiles in1976 for Kinnari's NID dissertation, with John doing the photo documentation, turned into a friendship lasting till this day.
The conservation of these heritage textiles and natural dyes was more an outcome of John and Kinnari's relationship with the craftsman rather than a preconception. Their colleague and friend in Bhuj, Mohmadbhai, was awarded the national award by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for his work with natural dyes.
John and Kinnari continued to work with the crafts people of Bhuj and Mandvi in Kutch throughout their careers in various aspects. Eventually creating a strategy that uses the skills of traditional craftspeople to create designs that appeal to an international market; there in keeping their art alive and entitling the community that created them.
This idea came to its peak when they launched their own retail outlet, Kinnu in New York City in 1997.
Here they used the ancient weaving styles of masharu, ikat and tie-dye to create couture fashion for an international market.
Some of the natural dyes and techniques used, stemmed from secretive recipes of dying cloth known only to a few families.
Kinnari and John’s work did not only keep the traditional arts in existence but also aided to support an entire community, giving it the self respect it deserved.