Based in Mumbai, Taxi Fabric¬†started as a means to showcase young designers‚Äô creative talents and ideas through the often-seen though previously overlooked canvas of taxi fabric. Taxis are an integral part of Indian street culture ‚Äì with a metropolis population of 21 million and roughly 55 thousand taxis on the roads, they¬†are the most convenient form of transport around the city.¬†Taxi Fabric aims to shift and boost the perception of design in India as it¬†is barely recognised and ill-understood, particularly amongst older generations. Regarded as a profession not to pursue, the lack of resources, opportunities, and support perpetuates this further. The project aims to reshape this opinion with its functional, socially responsible design, demonstrating that design “holds the power to turn something that was once just practical and impersonal into something meaningful and captivating.‚Äù
Samya Arif, a Pakistani graphic designer and illustrator, is one of the storytellers. Her illustrated narrative, ‚ÄúMonad‚Äù, depicts the 1947 Partition of India, when British colonial India was divided into two separate states: one with a Muslim majority (Pakistan) and one with a Hindu majority (India). Inspired by shared roots and cultural commonalities, Arif portrays the neighbouring countries as estranged siblings who grew up apart and forgot how much love they had once had for one another. ‚ÄúDesign can help people understand each other better,‚Äù believes Arif, who finds design an overlooked, understated field in both countries.
‚ÄúA Century of Revolt‚Äù is¬†Kunel Gaur‚Äôs take on Indian independence and the struggle for freedom. It is dedicated to the freedom fighters for their courage and inner-strength. Gaur, a creative director and major contributor to India‚Äôs creative scene (he designed the Delhi Metro signage and ‘way finding’ system), considers the Taxi Fabric initiative to be ‚Äúa healthy dose of ‚Äògood design‚Äô to a canvas that moves, touching each and every person‚Äù.
Roshnee Desai¬†tackles freedom issues too, however¬†”Fakt Purushansathi (Only For Men)” is designed around women’s rights and speaks up¬†about discrimination, oppression, and harassment. Her taxi fabric is “by a woman, for the women”, and rebels graphically against the different standards she is exposed to¬†in her society.