The Jacket Story

Me and my love for winters – the food, the soft sunlight, the fog, lazy afternoons munching on peanuts, snuggling in the blanket, I love everything about winters. And jackets and coats are a big part of my winter love story.

When we were young, we didn’t have too many sweaters and woollens like the kids of today. We were well provided for but there were no excesses. Mom would knit sweaters for us as and when required. When I was eight, my aunt gave me a Kashmiri embroidered blue coat that instantly became my most favourite winter wear. The moment I got back from school I would look for that coat. A few years later she gave me a red coat that I liked even better. Both the coats were hand me downs from my older cousins, but that didn’t matter. Once I outgrew the coats they were passed on to sisters. When we were kids, we would very happily wear clothes or woollens that our older siblings or cousins would outgrow.

Chtra Shharma in a brocade jacket by SAANCHI

After school, my years in Hyderabad made me forget coats. Hyderabad wasn’t that cold and light woollens would suffice. I had to relook at my winter wardrobe when I moved to Delhi, picking up warm and fashionable jackets and coats in a limited budget was quite a challenge. Big brands were off limits. Sarojini Nagar, Janpath and Dilli Haat were favourite haunts. I remember picking up a maroon Tibetan jacket from Dilli Haat. Made from Yak wool it kept me warm through the freezing foggy Delhi winter. The temperature would hover around 5 degrees then, with no sun in sight for days. I later bought a Rajasthani quilted jacket to add variety and colour to my winter wardrobe.

Many winters in Delhi have only strengthened my bond with coats and jackets. I have built quite a collection over the years. At times I find the western coats and jackets a bit limited in terms of colours and cuts. Blacks, navys and greys do get boring after a while. My perception of jackets changed after I came across handcrafted, Indo-western and traditional jackets that can make a dull winter day so vibrant, designed so thoughtfully by Sanchita from SAANCHI. In shades of blacks, blues, yellows, purples and reds she makes formal jackets that I wear to work, woollen jackets, quilted silk embroidered jackets that can be teamed so well with an evening dress or sari.

Embroidered silk jacket by SAANCHI

“Jackets are a perfect way to spice up your attire. Every jacket defines and shapes an individual’s character. The material, the colour, the shape and embroidery reflect the essence and personality of the wearer,” says Sanchita Singh Roy, founder of the design studio SAANCHI.

“Jacket is a versatile garment that can be made from many ingredients, to suit different occasion. There are leather jackets, silk jackets, summer jackets, denim jackets, woollen jackets, flight jackets, fashion jackets, brocade jacket and bomber jackets. I generally work with wool, silk, brocade and cotton. I use embroideries, traditional prints and fabrics to give an ethnic touch to my jacket,” adds Sanchita.

An important tip from Sanchita – while purchasing a jacket do determine very precisely what sort of jacket you need, the purpose and occasions where you would be donning the jacket.