The New Dawn of Indian Textiles

In the era of fast fashion and international brand obsession, Indian Textile heritage is going through a crisis. Fashion was losing its roots in India, but Indian designers are working hard on its revival. They are restoring Indian handlooms in their designs by working with the rural artisans. ‘Glocal’ is a new term that is gaining momentum for Indian craftsmanship. Let’s see how the reinforcement is being done.

The Gallery Way

Sayali Goyal, owner of the magazine Cocoa & Jasmine, organized a textile photo exhibition titled ‘Safed’ which recognized crafts like natural dyeing, kalamkari, kantha, jamdani weaving, block printing and Maheshwari weaving. They met local craftsmen who create fabrics and designs as amateurs. This initiative aimed at promoting less but quality consumption of fashion that adds cultural value.

Designer Sanjay Garg promotes silk and organza fabrics through his brand ‘Raw Mango’. He showcased the collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Raw Mango’s bold but clean designs have ignited the revival of Indian textiles such as chanderi, brocade and chikankari. The artisans and weavers from across the country create unconventional pieces that symbolize Indian legacy.

The Glocal Way

Ekaya is a brand propagating hand-woven products; empowering over 8000 weavers from Banaras and craftsmen from over India. It was the first textile brand to collaborate between creditable designers and weavers. The brand was established with the vision to introduce traditional textiles on fashion luxury platform. It caters heritage collection at national and international level.

Vraj:bhoomi is another clothing label working with desert artisans; encapsulating traditional hand block printing skills into aesthetic wear. It is heavily involved into contemporary revival of a fabric craft called “Ajrakh”, a form of hand block printing using natural dye. Their global garments have strong appeal of India roots. ‘Contemporary Revival’ is the spirit of their design expressions. Their production process functions as a team work between the designer and the craftsmen. This helps them sustain the inherent quality of Indian crafts.

The Royal way

The House of Angadi is another brand carrying its 600 year old legacy in hand woven textiles. It works with weavers from across the country. Recently they worked with weavers from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, artisans from Kota in Rajasthan, craftsmen from West Bengal for kantha and weavers from Benares for Banarasi jamdani.

Asif Shaikh is a renowned embroiderer from Ahmedabad, Gujarat who deals with just handwoven silk, cotton, block print and natural dyes on textured fabrics. This is further embellished with Karchobi embroidery that was introduced by the Mughals in the 16th century, under the patronage of Mughal emperor Akbar. Shaikh has uplifted hundreds of artisans through design and embroidery work and he claims that those are his only family. Today, customers across the globe wear Asif Shaikh’s intricate regal garments.

Indeed, Indian textiles are seeing a new dawn in the world fashion. The millennials that sought quick wardrobe change and fads have matured by seeking timeless, cultural yet fashionable designs.

Article by Radhika Kothari