Of late, fabrics like khaadi, linen, and cotton have started to make a comeback, and not just in ethnic wear but in beautiful dresses, jumpsuits, shirts, and various other forms. A fresh perspective on this age old textile, with an amp of glamour, and lots of comfort, handlooms indeed are making the much needed comeback they deserve.
More than the look and feel of handlooms, traditional natural dyes and handspun clothing have a far deeper meaning to the generation today. While designers are making handloom all the more popular, young men and women these days are more concerned about the environment, and Indianisation, than anyone else. A lot of this fresh perspective is helping weavers and craftsmen earn their wages, and get the attention they deserve. A lot of lost culture and art is also gaining mass appeal, with the comeback of handloom!
Not only young designers, but the government is also actively supporting these clusters as part of the Make in India campaign and an outcome of which is the major boost in handwoven silks, khadi, cottons and linens. A fresh example is the Banarasi duppatas and sarees which sold like hot-cakes, this entire year! Various popular designers like Anita Dongre, who has her label Grassroot, which is a craft based sustainable label, is eco-conscious, leather-free and offers handcrafted traditions from India with an aim to revive and sustain craft and artisans.
Let’s take you through styles and fabrics which are making quite a stir in the fashion scene.
Ikat is weaved in several parts of the country but Odisha seems to have pretty much mastered the Ikat art of weaving. Ikat weavers in Odisha are more often than not the members of communities like the Meher or Bhulia who have inherited the art form and have mastered the trait over the years. They basically strive to bring the rich Oriya culture to life in their Ikats with their unique dyeing techniques. Popular today on ramps in the form of day dresses, kurtas for men and women, waist jackets, the Ikat print has been raved about in the fashion circles time and again.
This hand painted or block printed textile art is one of the most prominent features of Andhra Pradesh. With a history of 3000 years, Kalamkari is known to have evolved during the Mughal era and has managed to retain its grace till date. Today as we watch Kalamkari make a contemporary fashion statement with conventional designers, we think we owe it to the skilled artisans of Venkatagiri, Pochampally and Gadwal that continue to create traditional and contemporary pieces adorned with Kalamkari prints. Kalamkari prints are widely seen on kurtis and kurtas worn by the young and old alike, with men and women equally carrying the print with panache. Kalamkari print waist coats are also an excellent option for fashion lovers.
Banarasi sarees need no introduction. The year 2018-19 has seen the Banarsi weave on almost everyone. From high-end couture stores selling sarees and suits, and menswear, smaller counterparts in traditional cities have sold, and continue to sell this beautiful textile!
Hailing from Varanasi, the weavers are nothing short of artists themselves as they weave with fine gold and silver metallic threads to create exotic delicate brocades. This high quality weaving procedure has not only managed to sustain itself through the years but has also bounced back into limelight for its sheer gorgeousness and beauty.
One of the most popular textile arts of India, Tie and dye or bandhani, come from one of the most culturally rich states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Bandhani sarees are now making a comeback, and so are full length kurtas, with Bandhani in its full glory as aburst of vibrant colours and even glass work. The authentic bandhani features square or round motifs that are a result of the dye—the more intricate your tie and dye the more authentic your bandhani. Like most traditional fabrics, while machinery might have increased production, true tie and dye remains native to the craftsmen and their skill alone.
Hailing from Madhya Pradesh, aka the cities of Bhopal, Gwalior and Indore are known for the intricate Zari work which was patronised by the Mughal Emperors over 300 hundred years ago. Zari is a brocade of tinsel threads meant for weaving and embroidery, ethnic styles in krutas, anarkalis, lehengas, have the intricate zari work enhancing their overall look! Zari work is an extremely popular and classy choice these days!
This intricate and delicate and intricate shadow work type of embroidery, hailing from Lucknow, is preferred by people who’ve loved handlooms, since forever. Initially, done in white yarn, on colorless muslins, is now popular in fabrics like georgette, chiffon, cotton alongside other fine fabrics. Popular in darker and pastel hues today, Chikankari embroidery work of India has now spread to cushion covers, pillow covers, table linen and the like!
Handwoven textiles are not only super comfortable, they are also extremely versatile. They can be made into any type of outfit. Surely, it does depend on the weight, drape and fall. Khadi jumpsuits, silk palazzos, Brocade dresses, Bhagalpuri silk shirtdresses, Chanderi cotton silk maxi dresses, ikat and kalamkari waistcoats are great silhouettes that can be made in handcrafted fabrics. The sheer simplicity, yet the intricate nature of these fabrics, the comfort, yet classy aura they have, is beyond compare.