It was six months before British designer Hannah Thistlethwaite moved back to her native city of London from Bombay India that she started the design label Midsummer +1. Her career in product development and textiles had moved her to India three years before where she soon found herself falling in love with a country that would eventually produce life-long friendships, many adventures, and eventually inspire a business. When I met Hannah in Bombay, she was on her first trip back to the country after leaving, and was “glad to be back with friends, chicken tikka rolls and crazy inspirational chaos .” I was impressed with the way she blended contemporary design with traditional craft from Shantiniketan artisans in Kolkata. -Kari
Below we caught back up with Hannah to get more insight to the Rubina by Midsummer +1 collection:
What was your design and production process for the Dazzle Clutch Series?
Sadly, my Bengali is non-existent so I really relied on the few people at EMA who speak English such as Tanmoy and Sumita. They helped me understand the shantiniketan process - took me to leather tanneries, explained the embossing and dye painting process etc. Over the course of 6 months I made several trips up to EMA (from Mumbai where I lived) taking with me each time various ideas, bag patterns and even paper models I had made. I learned so much from Tanmoy and Sumita and the artisans at EMA, what was possible and what works.
What makes the Rubina clutch unique?
This colour of our fold over clutch has been specially made for Rubina. Each one is hand painted and hand finished in Kolkata by the team at EMA.
What was the inspiration behind the design?
I came across Dazzle camouflage and it’s history while researching patterns and thought was so unusual and interesting but still very eye catching that it seemed the perfect pattern for the midsummer +1 version of shantiniketan.
What is Midsummer +1 all about?
Midsummer +1 is about unusual contemporary accessories, hand crafted using traditional techniques. The name just comes from the day I was born (22nd June - the day after midsummer’s day)!
Why do you choose to work with artisans?
What’s next for Midsummer +1?
What’s been inspiring you recently?
You recently moved back to London after 3 years in India. How has that transition been and what do you miss most about India?
What are your top three not-so-touristy destinations in India for visitors looking for an authentic India?
Photos by Christine Coen