The pair visited India last year to document the place, its people, and to capture Supriya Lele’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection
Last year, British-Indian designer Supriya Lele enlisted the help of photographer Jamie Hawkesworth for a special, and extremely personal, heritage project. Tracing the roots of her family tree, she headed to Jabalpur – a small city in central India, overlooking the holy Narmada river – to document the place and its people, as well as to platform her Spring/Summer 2020 collection. The trip was documented vividly by Hawkesworth, and turned into a new book, titled Narmada, which is available exclusively on the designer’s website.
For Lele, the project was a chance to honour her patrilineal heritage, by returning to a place she visited often while growing up. “My fathers family are from Jabalpur,” explains Lele over email, “and the holy river Narmada runs through it. It’s not only of important religious significance but also on a personal level as my father and grandfather’s ashes are scattered in that river.”
She adds that the collaboration with Hawkesworth came about “quite naturally”, with the pair having met through friends. “I've always loved Jamie’s work,” says Lele. “His eye is incredible [and] his attention to detail is amazing.”
All profits from the book will go to Girl Rising, a charity dedicated to fighting gender discrimination around the world. “I hope that I can share the story of Jabalpur and my family,” adds Lele, “but also support Girl Rising through the proceeds – empowering girls across the world.”
Narmada is available now on her official website. 100 per cent of profits will go to Girl Rising that utilises storytelling to change attitudes and social norms to stand up for girls and against gender discrimination in different communities across the world