The White Champa Story
“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us…” – Keats
White Champa is eclectic and whimsical and at the same time sophisticated and architectural. The brand is a celebration of rare artisanal skills and has been defined by its unwavering pursuit of the creation of basic, timeless and classic pieces.
The emphasis of the clothes is on impeccable cuts and exceptional materials. Materials are updated and tweaked slightly each year, just as its iconic models are re-featured each season and gradually added upon as needed.
Embroidery is a key element for White Champa. Looking at the long and exquisite tradition of embroidery in India and the skill of the master karigars, the wish arose to keep this art alive in a contemporary form. It is used in light touches to emphasize a neckline, hem or cuff, bringing a rare, sophisticated flair to the pieces. The exclusive embroidery designs are one of the signature details of the brand.
White Champa carefully builds a foundation for a whole wardrobe, effortlessly combining high quality natural fabrics like pure linen, khadi cotton, silk and wool, with unique hand-embroidery and contemporary silhouettes. The beauty of draping meets the bravery of the cut.
Unconventional and purposefully un-advertised, White Champa has nonetheless captured a dedicated longstanding following of discerning customers who respond to superb quality and distinction. The White Champa woman likes a sense of adventure. She loves to wear beautiful yet comfortable clothes that subtly reflect her originality and quietly say something about her.
The women’s and men’s collections are completely handcrafted in the brand’s own manufacturing unit in New Delhi by a small team of dedicated and specially trained tailors and embroiderers, ensuring that each piece is completely unique and of the highest quality standard. White Champa Traderoutes is produced between the Philippines and India.
Founder and Creative Director White Champa
White Champa was founded in 2006 by Anjana Das.
Anjana lives the life of a global nomad and at the moment divides her time between Berlin, Manila and New Delhi.
She was born in Germany to Bengali parents and grew up in an environment of cultural diversity. A childhood rooted in one place but with close connections to many places in the world. She frequently accompanied her parents on travels through various parts of the world and drew inspiration from those journeys.
Anjana has lived in Southeast Asia for many years and travelled the region extensively. White Champa, a small, yet global label, which is situated in Delhi is the red thread that weaves all these different homes and inspirations together. Anjana’s different environments influence her work constantly. She continues to study Japanese, Thai or Indian textiles and her findings flow into the cuts, shapes and ornamentation of the clothes. She designs for a woman who does not follow trends blindly but is seeking rarity, quality and beauty in her life.
Before starting the label Anjana worked with the renowned French embroiderer Jean Francois Lesage. A priceless inspiration to the world of embroidery. She worked on several design projects with him and represented him in Germany and Thailand.
Co founder White Champa Traderoutes
Natasha Mukherjee was born in Switzerland, to an Indian father and a German mother, and lived in nearly a dozen countries across Europe, the Americas and Asia before she went off to college in Canada. She married a man from the Netherlands, raised a daughter from Burkina Faso, and then two more children in Southern Africa. As of now, she happily calls Manila home. Global influences co-mingle without contradiction or tension, and fuel her passion to discover even more cross cultural connections.
Natasha re-invented herself in 2012. Formerly an economist, she worked for over 2 decades in international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC, and academia, such as Cornell University’s Food and Nutrition Policy Program and the University of Zimbabwe. Upon her arrival to Manila in 2012, she decided it was time for a complete career shift, into the world of design and fashion. Her passion in international economic development remains strong; with her foray into the design world, she seeks to find meaningful connections between these two spheres. Inspired by her old and new travels, shaped by her old and new professional interests, the creations of White Champa’s accessories line Traderoutes, represent the harmonious outcome of myriad cultural and aesthetic influences.
Head of Sales and Retail
Paoyaola, comes from Naga Land in the north east of India, bordering Burma. She’s the daughter of a Baptist pastor and his wife and came to Delhi to study at university. From an early age back home she learned traditional Naga weaving from her mother, making her first commissioned shawl for her maths teacher at boarding school when just twelve years old. She grew up in a place where children didn’t play with toys but messed about with looms practising with plant fibres because imported yarn was so precious. Paoyaola says one of the reasons she loves working at White Champa is that she gets Sundays off to go to Church and connect with her community – cousins and sisters who get together to joke and eat. The other, is she enjoys wearing the clothes – “sometimes I put the fabric to my face to feel how soft it is; I love the feel”.
Head of Production
Mehboob Hussain or Master Sahib as White Champa’s chief tailor is known, comes from a family of generations of tailors. From the age of eight he learned his craft from his father, who stitched gentleman’s suits and army uniforms in Delhi’s Red Fort area.
Master Sahib says when he measures a customer he immediately visualises the final garment on them and hopes they will feel good when wearing his clothes. He says a really good day is when he does a first fitting for a complicated design and gets it right straight away but he knows however good he is some couture orders will take several fittings. He instills that spirit in the whole production team.
Maria Elena Mannlani
Elena Mann is the woman behind the abaca that White Champa Traderoutes uses in its bags and home accessories. She is the daughter of the Dream Weaver Yaab Mann (White Champa’s favorite clutches are named in her honor). Elena - like all other White Champa artisans - learned her craft from her family, especially her mother Yaab Mann, a well respected Dreamweaver. According the T’boli beliefs, special members of the group are conferred sacred designs for their weavings that are conveyed to them in dreams. These chosen ones are called Dreamweavers.
Elena and her team of abaca weavers are using their skills that were in danger of getting lost. With a renewed interest in traditional crafts, they are now motivated to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of abaca weavers. White Champa Traderoutes appreciates and honors Elena and her team for the unique beauty they create.
In Elena’s words: “T’nalak are hand woven dreams. T’boli women weave them, keen eyes and hands work together to judge lengths, to transfer patterns from memory to the loom. T’nalak is made of the whitest abaca fibers connected end to end with the smallest possible knots and dyed red and blackest brown. Its patterns are handed from mother to daughter, or bestowed on the weaver in dreams of Fu Dalu, the spirit of the abaca. It is a product as much of quietness of spirit as it is of skill, for not all women weave, and not all weavers dream.”