President & Group Managing Director: Dr.Shelly Ahmed | Editor in Chief & Group CEO: M H Ahssan
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query fashion. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query fashion. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#BloggerDreamTeam Are #CWC Players Fashion Conscious

Lights, Camera, and it is a Six!! You see a guy running across the field – a perfect advertisement opportunity for a shampoo, a shoe company. He takes a full round arm action like a well-oiled machine,  throws a ball like a bullet aim for its target – opportunity for range of products from gear oil manufacturers to tonic drinks. 

Today every action of a cricketer on field is depicted as a style icon. What more is needed when there are multiple cameras capturing each and every action of players, live telecasting it to  millions of viewers across the world.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Instagramming The Hijab: How The Online ‘Muslimah’ Fashion Industry Is Helping Reinvent The Veil?

A research paper on hijab fashion bloggers illustrates how are they cracking the stereotype of headscarf as a tool of oppression.

In mainstream media, Muslim women in headscarves are often stereotyped as oppressed. On social media, however, hijab-wearing Muslims are dispelling this prejudice, and, in the process, attracting increasingly more attention.

For the past few years, an expanding community of hijab fashion bloggers have been using Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and other platforms to assert their relationship with the headscarf and their diverse interpretations of the faith.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Starry-Eyed: Nobody Cares About The Clothes At India’s Big Fashion Week—Thanks To Bollywood Stardom

The Lakme Fashion Week in India closed on March 23—and it was more about Bollywood than fashion.

On the final day, the spotlight was on actress Kareena Kapoor, the showstopper for designer Anamika Khanna.

For the same show, three other Bollywood actresses—Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha and Jacqueline Fernandez—walked the ramp.  But it isn’t just big stars who eclipsed designers and models at the fashion week.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Changing Trends Of Indian Fashion Tradition & Culture

Styles of India fashion wearing saris and salwar-kameez have changed. The look  has become more of metro. India fashion designers have experimented a lot with India fashion clothes like the neck designs and the cuts of salwar- kameez. 

Everyone seems to have had enough of the exotic Indian look. Young designers are cheerfully trading Swarovski-studded tops for chic khadi, discovers Ritusmita Biswas. Fashion does not need to mean “exotic” with a capital E anymore. Designers are taking a break from the usual fare of jewel-studded lehengas and Swarovski-embedded halter tops.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Close Look: Luxury Epitome Of The Indian Wedding Buffet

By Ria Khan | Mumbai

Slowdown? What slowdown? It’s business as usual for fashion designers and couturiers in the Indian luxury wedding market. Sneha Kapur Manchanda got married to Delhi-based businessman Saurabh Manchanda a year ago, but she still makes it a point to attend ‘luxury wedding exhibitions’, which are mostly held in five-star hotels. “There’s a wedding in the extended family every year. 

One must be up-to-date with the latest trends, after all,” says Kapur-Manchanda. The wedding exhibitions or expos that the likes of Manchanda frequent are events where fashion designers, jewellers, home décor retailers and wedding card printers converge to lure the wealthy.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Feature: Is Fashion Illustration Is Becoming A Dying Art?

Fashion illustrator, Gladys Perint Palmer, has spent over three decades chronicling couture. The former fashion journalist, front-row fashion commentator and best-selling author, who says she draws faster than she writes, is currently the executive vice president of Artistic Development at the Academy of Art University in California.

We caught up with Gladys, fondly known as GPP, in Bangalore as she visited several Indian cities as ambassador of the Academy of Art University. In addition to networking in India, she has been sketching.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Exclusive: The Other Side Of Kashmiri Craft 'Pashmina'

By Arif Wani | Srinagar

SPECIAL REPORT Kashmiri crafts have been omnipresent from street to luxury yet least geared for new fashion markets. This is likely to change soon.

At a crafts display at New Delhi’s India International Centre, Mahvash Masood from Srinagar displays stoles with hand embroidery so delicate that only a magnifying glass can zoom into the details. “I want to tap into the global luxury market with these,” says Masood, who is working with a development consultant to price her designs.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Exclusive: Indian Fashion's Hits, Trends & Milestones

By Jacky Maker / INN Bureau

Fashion isn’t just about stars wearing a label on the red carpet. It’s also about that one piece in your wardrobe you have in common with your aunt and your neighbour. That iconic leitmotif in which the fashion vocabulary of a generation is written. In the past 25 years of Indian fashion, there’ve been trends that originated on the ramp and permeated down to the local darzi. We spoke to insiders and fashion historians and came up with our list of Indian fashion’s greatest hits.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Special Report: Massive Merger In India’s largest Branded Clothing Company - Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail

Amid India’s e-commerce boom, the country’s largest branded apparel company—a decidedly brick-and-mortar entity—has just been born out of a merger.

Indian billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the $40 billion (Rs2.4 lakh crore) Aditya Birla Group, has decided to bring all his garment businesses under one company, which together adds up to annual sales of over Rs5,000 crore ($785 million).

Friday, March 01, 2013

‘Abhishek Bachchan Not Only An Excellent Actor But Also A Great Dad’

Ace designer Ritu Beri has roped in Abhishek Bachchan to launch the fourth edition of her annual children’s fashion collection and she says the actor is the perfect choice because he is a great father.

Abhishek, 37, who has one-year-old daughter Aaradhya with wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, will be the star guest at this year’s charity Baby Beri show for The Blessed Hearts Foundation.

“The Bachchans have always been generous and have done their bit for the society. Moreover, Abhishek is not only an excellent actor but he makes a great dad too. With baby Aaradhya in his life, he not only relates to Baby Beri but is equally excited to be a part of this charity event. I couldn’t have thought of anyone else but him as our Star Guest for the show,” Beri told INN.

Actors Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt and Kunal Kapoor have been part of the charity event in previous years.

The theme of this year fashion show is ‘Hippie Baby, which Beri says is extremely colourful and the mood of this collection is absolutely carefree and crazy.

“I am mixing the casual look with a little tribal feel, the clothes are wearable and easy. The amalgamation of their generation with the style from the 1960′s, is absolutely adorable and intriguing,” Beri said.

In 2010, Beri was conferred the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters), by the French government, for her contribution to the fashion industry.

The designer, who has completed 22-years in the fashion industry, said she is happy to see the metamorphosis it has undergone.

“Fashion industry has undergone a tremendous metamorphosis, since I joined the industry back in 1990. Now people are conscious about what to wear, they want to look their best at all times which is fantastic,” said Beri.

“Also, today our designers are constantly showcasing in various fashion capitals of the world. India’s fashion is spotted on the fashionable ramps of the world and is a huge source of inspiration,” she said.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Khadi - The Fabric of Freedom and Fashion

By M H Ahssan

Khadi has always been a fabric with attitude. If in the past its claim to fame was its status as a symbol of resistance against British rule, it has now become a fashion statement. Its journey from its eventful birth as the fabric favoured by revolutionaries, to designer boutiques and elite consciousness has been an exciting one.

At one time coarse and dull, khadi's latest avatar is brightly coloured and gossamer fine. While designers sing hosannas to the versatility of the fabric, wearers swear by its practicality and comfort. It is not only the perfect answer to India's hot and humid summers but also provides adequate protection against winter chill. Leading designers like Rohit Bal, Jatin Kochchar, Malini Ramani, and Bhavna Thareja and upmarket clothes brands like Fabindia and Anokhi have given to the traditional handspun fabric a modern and contemporary look. With its stylish cuts and innovative colours, khadi has come to define the trendy ethnic look. Its easy adaptability to a range of designs makes it amenable to both formal and informal look, as well as Indian and western styles. Stores stack a range of dresses in khadi - jackets, skirts, kurtas, dupattas, sarees, cropped tops, capris, trousers, wrap-arounds, spaghetti tops, trousers, you name it. Little wonder that khadi is a hot favourite with not only the make-a-fashion-statement college crowd but also the with-it and cool not-so-young.

From the coarse, plain kapda that was eons ago a statement of patriotism and later a must- have for netas, khadi as a designer’s raw material for runway apparels is a bellwether of its changing status. The government, having done its bit by roping in designers to give the plain old Khadi Gram Udhyog a makeover, has attracted the attention of even the elite.

While designers agree that khadi can lend itself to almost any look and cut, they rue the fact that it has been unable to find popular acceptance. "The biggest problem is that of mindset. For some inexplicable reason, people find it difficult to accept khadi as a formal outfit. This is actually not true. Almost all formal outfits can be made out of khadi - including western tops, shirts, pants sarees, lehengas and blouses", says Bhavana Thareja, a fashion designer involved in designing clothes for KVIC.

It is very unfortunate, Thareja says, that people, especially the youth, would prefer to buy a Levis or any other denim brand for Rs 700 to Rs 800 but would consider the same price as expensive if the outfit happened to be made out of khadi.

"The rigidity of the mindset has to change and something should be quickly done to bring about awareness, both domestically and internationally", she says.

Designers also lament that khadi is yet to evoke the kind of response in the domestic markets that is has generated abroad. "It is unfortunate that we are able to sell more khadi abroad than within the country. Here it is still considered an inexpensive, rough cloth, which the hoity toity is yet to accept," says designer Ashish Soni, who makes it a point to include a few khadi pieces in each of his collections.

Fashion designers are however, confident that khadi has a huge potential. "Internationally, people are fond of linen. And khadi is the purest form of linen", says Thareja. And with more khadi dresses going off the shelf in markets overseas, it has persuaded the domestic market to give the textile more than a second glance. "It is a slow process, khadi will have more takers in the domestic market and like in the West, it will be cherished for what it is. Buying khadi can easily become a habit," says designer Vijay Lakshmi Dogra.

She adds, "It can replace linen in the international markets. It is so versatile, you can get amazing colours and textures and weaves if you combine khadi with cotton, muslin or silk. Even plain khadi by itself is a great material to work with, both for the winter and summer collections."

For designer Anju Modi, known for her work using the fabric, which she claims has a "unique textured look", khadi is "weather friendly and its appeal can be enhanced by using more prints on it".

Modi says, "The fabric is perfect for printing, especially the vegetable dye block prints that we have in India. Printing is in fact much better than embroidering it as it is easier to maintain and with prints being in fashion in the international markets, it will become more chic."

According to Dogra, the popularity of khadi has increased in recent times, "The ever-increasing penchant for khadi has some reasons. There are two kinds of buyers. The first kind of people buy khadi for a reason. A look at the past reveals the way khadi was promoted by Gandhiji. This was to promote village economy, to stop the exodus from villages to cities. Khadi was promoted extensively to make them economically more self-sufficient. One reason why some people wear khadi is the feeling that by designing clothes in khadi and by wearing khadi they are supporting the 80 per cent of the population that lives in villages," says Dogra.

The second kind of people, according to her, wear it because of the inherent nature of khadi since "It is one of the best and comfortable fabrics for both winter and summer: cool in summer and warm in winter. Moreover the availability of variants of khadi like muslin khadi, matka khadi and hand-woven khadi provides the freedom of experimentation to the designers and makes it a really suitable buy for all kinds of occasions. Matka khadi is one of my favourite fabrics and one can see its widespread use in my collection," she says.

She says that the marketability of khadi will only increase "once people start wearing khadi because then they become addicted to it. From masses to the elite, khadi is making a place for itself in wardrobes. The cost that ranges from Rs 30 a metre to Rs. 1000 a metre makes it really accessible and one of the most comfortable, convenient as well as stylish fabrics," Dogra says.

Its appeal to fashion sensibilities apart, designers feel that khadi’s role in helping impoverished farmers should also be highlighted, "It is important to underline how khadi helps in sustaining villages and the lives of poor farmers who grow cotton. Buyers, especially in foreign markets, would acknowledge such details. Like it happened when the market reacted strongly to the fact that the carpet industry was using child labour, it had such an adverse impact on business. In the case of khadi, it might actually augment the product’s appeal," points out Dogra.

Apart from being the king of the wardrobe, khadi is also a lifestyle product. It is used to make durries, gaddas, upholstery, cushions, bags, mats, bed-sheets, and curtains. Its inherent toughness ensures that it doesn't wear down easily.

The first true Indian designer was Mahatma Gandhi when he urged the people of India to wear khadi garments. It was not only a call to create self reliance but a call to create self reliance but a call to wear something that could prove the unity of India. Khadi was given a more important status by Gandhi after his return from South Africa. While in search of the charkha Gandhi felt that for a nation to turn self-reliant, it had to return to indigenous manufactured goods.

Gandhi wrote. Swaraj (self-rule) without swadeshi (country made goods) is a lifeless corpse and if Swadeshi is the soul of Swaraj, khadi is the essence of swedeshi. Therefore khadi became not only a symbol of revolution and resistance but part of an Indian identity.

Gandhi confessed though, When I first discovered the spinning wheel it was purely through intuition. It was not backed by knowledge so much so that I confused charkha with kargha (handloom).

The term khādī or khaddar means cotton. khādī is Indian handspun and hand-woven cloth. The raw materials may be cotton, silk, or wool, which are spun into threads on a spinning wheel called a charkha. It is a versatile fabric, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. However, being a cruder form of material, it wrinkles much faster than other preparations of cotton. In order to improve the look, khādī is often starched to have a stiffer shape. It is widely accepted in fashion circles.

Mahatma Gandhi began promoting the spinning of khādī for rural self-employment and self-reliance in 1920s India thus making khadi an integral part and icon of the Swadeshi movement. The freedom struggle revolved around the use of khādī fabrics and the dumping of foreign-made clothes. Thus it symbolized the political ideas and independence itself, and to this day most politicians in India are seen only in khādī clothing. The flag of India is only allowed to be made from this material, although in practice many flag manufacturers, especially those outside of India, ignore this rule.
Khādī was used, and dyed random colors, in some of the costumes for the Star Wars prequels, such as Mace Windu's (Samuel L. Jackson) attire.

Khadi commands a sentimental value for Indians. It is often associated with Mahatma Gandhi. Someone said, the first true Indian designer was Mahatma because of his appeal to Indians to wear khadi garments. That appeal was necessitated because of the need of creating self reliance and proving unity of India to English. Khadi also symbolized the need and importance of indigenous manufactured goods. Khadi represented India’s resistance and revolution. Khadi was also the face of Indian identity. Many people get confused between charkha with kargha (handloom). The basic difference between the two is while khadi is hand made; handloom yarn is processed at the mills.

The actual meaning of khadi is any cloth that is hand spun and hand woven (while it is now used to refer to any handmade item of mass consumption like handmade soap and paper). India has long history of textiles. In the Vedic period, Aryans used to produce their own cloth. Khadi had an important role in marriage functions. Khadi charakhas were presented to brides in their wedding trousseau to encourage spinning of the yarn.

The handspun cotton, known as Khadi is of special significance to Indians. Gandhi elevated the fragile thread of cotton to a symbol of strength and self-sufficiency, and to provide employment for the millions during India's freedom struggle, and that symbolism of wearing cloth made by human hands has continued till this day.

These two forms of fabrics have always confused people. While khadi is hand made, handloom yarn is processed at the mills.

Many fashion conscious Indians will know that India’s rendezvour with textile dates back to ancient times when the Aryans in the Vedic period produced their own cloth. In fact, khadi (which means any cloth that is hand spun and hand woven) had a most religious role in marriages when brides in India were presented with a khada charkha in their wedding trousseau to encourage spinning of the yarn.

Roman gold, says history, paid for the import of Indian textiles, while Alexander the Great, when he invaded the country in 327 BC, was dazzled by the art of fabric making and printing as also was Marco Polo the Venetian traveler. It was in 1921 that Gandhi launched the movement of spin your own cloth and buy hand spun cloth which gained momentum making khadi the fabric of the freedom struggle.

Around that time Gandhi used khadi as the uniform for the first Non Cooperation movement and the Gandhi cap had strong symbolic overtones- that of the Indo-British battle over the looms of Manchester and a bid for a modern Indian identity. So deep rooted was the sentiment attached to this fabric that Pandit Nehru wove for his daughter Indira a wedding sari in salmon pink khadi while he was in jail. This sari is still worn by women of the Nehru-Gandhi family on their wedding day.

In 1953 when the Khadi and Village Industries Board was established it had only 156 registered institutions. Today every village however remote or small has it own khadi institutions. Initially the weaving of khadi was rather difficult as it was impossible tow eave a full length of cotton with the uneven khadi thread and at one time Gandhi is believed to have threatened to wear a sack if he was not provided with a khadi dhoti. Today the range of khadi products is unlimited from garments to household linen to furnishings, etc.

The weaving of khadi is preceded by the spinning of the thread on the charkha after which it goes to the bobbin winder, warper, sizer and finally the weaver. While spinning is organized by the khadi Board, weaving is done by the weaver at his home in an individual capacity. Spinning is mostly done by the girls and women in the villages, while weaving is dominated by men. Because of the work involved, the price of the khadi cloth when it reaches the shops is more than that of the mill or handloom cloth.

Khadi over the decades has moved from a freedom fighter’s identity fabric to a fashion garment. At one time it was scorned as fabric for the farmer and the rural wearer. Today there is such an increasing demand for khadi is such an increasing demand for khadi cloth that despite the million workers all over the country involved in spinning it they are unable to meet the demands of the market.

In 1989 the first high fashion khadi show was presented in Mumbai by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) where nearly 85 dazzling garments were created by Devika Bhojwani.

There was an exciting array of eastern and western attire. Devika had launched the Swadesi label in 1985 which was distributed through nearly 5000 Khadi Gramodyog Bhandars and Emporia.

In 1990 designer Ritu Kumar of Delhi presented her first Khadi collection at the Crafts Museum. Her Tree of Life show, an audio visual tableau spanning the history of textiles in India, showed the design lexicon of the country, the creators of textiles, those who have regenerated textile crafts and those who would wear the garments.

Eight collections were presented of which khadi was a very significant one. Since then the Tree of Life show has been presented several times for charity and caused a stir with its creations. Once again in 1997 Ritu Kumar presented the Tree of Life shown this time in London where the British were amazed with her khadi collections.

Once the sign of freedom, Khadi today holds it own on the fashion scene… it is a part of every wardrobe when it comes to selecting fabric with a discerning eye, informs Rity Kumar.

Today the younger generation may draw inspiration from the way film and MTV stars are dressing, but there was a time when fashion too was dictated by our political leaders More than the dresses it was what they signified and the fiery personalities behind them that caught the imagination of the masses and influenced them to unwaveringly follow the footsteps of their leaders, even in adapting the way they dressed, recalls Ritu Kumar.

Reveals Ritu, Actually, they were the first generation growing up after Independence and so the need to underline their identity was immense. There was also the need to emerge with something totally different and in opposition from the dress code foreign rulers had imposed.

Another person who ahs been working regularly with khadi is Kamal Wadkar, the well know promoter of traditional crafts. For decades khadi has been associated with rural wear. Although many would say it is just the right fabric for the Indian climate due to its loose weave and cool texture, khadi lacked that touch of style which other fabrics like rubia, linen or cotton had observes Kamal.

Kamal has been associated with the Gujarat Handicrafts Board (Gurjari) and the Mumbai Khadi Sangh. Her exhibitions in Mumbai for KVIC (Khadi Village Industries Commission) have netted nearly Rs.12.5 million. Kamal has presented nearly 4500 garments in 150 styles in different colours weaves and embellishment with prices ranging from Rs.460-750.

Her exhibition titled Elegance in Khadi and Khubsoorat Khadi with eight designer collections presented ethnic wear in varied forms besides western garments.

But since Khadi is woven by hand in villages it is often difficult to provide large quantities of the fabric at short notice. Yet it is this handmade quality of the fabric with its inherent defects that is the beauty of Khadi and that is what the buyer wants at times. Says Kamal it is not a poor man’s fabric although it provides employment to the poor man. It is a very up-market fabric emphasizes Kamal. Khadi dhotis are turned into printed Kurtas and dupattas.

There are times when the price and coarseness of the fabric deterred the fashion conscious from wearing it. But today khadi has many faces which are not just restricted to cotton. There is Khadi is quite competitive now and depending on the style of the garment it could range between Rs.400-2500.

There is a quaint story of how Gandhi while visiting a poor village spoke to an old woman huddled in her dark dingy hut asking if there was anything she needed. The woman said she had everything pointing to an old charkha in the corner.

The rediscovery of the charkha has brought in a new economic thinking for Indians. It has given new life to the individual made him more resourceful and self dependent. Making khadi a true start of democracy in the true sense. Khadi, however, can no longer be sold on an emotional level. A new approach has to be adopted for the new generation who are unaware of its original implications. It will be worthwhile for the young and trendy generations of the 90s to discover the beauty of khadi and support is as a fabric of our tradition.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

'Bindi' A Fashion Symbol, A Mark Or A 'Marriage Status'?

Is the bindi a fashion statement, a caste mark or a marriage symbol? It is all three. Placed within contemporary perspectives, it is debatable whether it is popular television that has resurrected the bindi as a cosmetic to enhance the feminine image of woman. 

History shows that men of royalty, priestly families and high caste men in India sported a mark at the centre of their foreheads as a mandatory cultural custom.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Exclusive: Inside India’s Big $38 Billion Wedding Market

By Jacky Maker / INN Bureau

On a recent trip to India to explore the country’s sizable wedding market, BoF editor-in-chief Ian Amed spoke to top designers, show organisers, media executives and former brides to learn why weddings are such big business in this fast-rising country of 1.2 billion people.

While the rest of the fashion world may have entered its late summer slumber, India’s fashion industry is gearing up for its prime time moment: the unfathomably large, opulent and over-the-top Indian wedding season.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Everyday Is A 'Women's Day' In 'Fashion And Advertising'

The mammoth overdrive that International Women’s Day advertising puts out can make anyone barf with disgust. What really is Women’s Day? Who started it and what purpose does it serve? 

Some women get flowers from their male work mates. Some women get together for a girl’s lunch. My postman rang the doorbell on Monday morning to wish me ‘Happy Women’s Day’ for the day before. I am a very polite girl or I would have said “buzz off” in Marathi.

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Trending 'Islamic' Fashion Is Being 'Made In India'

INNLIVE Media Team
Headquartered in the US with factories in India, EastEssence makes Islamic clothing such as abayas and burqas for customers in 68 countries. Gargi Gupta speaks to the company's founder Sunil Kilam.

Indian industry may have been slow to respond to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's slogan, Make in India, Make for the World, but there's one company registered in Silicon Valley, California that has been following the maxim to the T. EastEssence has been making Islamic clothing in India and selling to the world for the last seven years.

Ironically, EastEssence, which is a manufacturer and online retailer of Islamic clothing - abayas, jilbabs, burqas, thobes, dishdashas, hijabs etc - was founded by a Hindu from Kashmir.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Saree saga: Draped for elegance and growth too

By Kajol Singh

Shantaram's eyes were weary. But he couldn’t suppress the proud smile on his face. A masterpiece all the way, he thought to himself giving the nine-yard wrap one last look. A brush of colour, a touch of tradition and an entire year of laborious craftsmanship... the meticulous weaves had finally taken shape. And it had been worth all the days of working round the clock for Shantaram’s family. After tying the knots on warp and weft threads, dyeing, colouring, weaving and finishing, the beautiful double Ikat Patola saree was ready.

It’s not just the Patola saree of Gujarat that is impressive. In fact, the saree in itself is perhaps the most innovative garment in the history of India. What’s more, it’s holding out in the era of slowdown. The brisk business speaks volumes. Sample this: Many leading retail houses in the country admit to 15-20% increase in saree sales over the last year. Even expensive designer sarees are now being bought by a whole lot of 20-somethings. A visible indication of saree sales being untouched by slowdown blues. Industry estimates peg the saree market at a massive $12 billion in India.

Experts say that the demand is steady despite the economic slump. “Sarees like the Patola command a niche market with primarily the NRIs and affluent lot buying them from us. Our sale of sarees have in fact gone up by 20% over the last year,” says S K Chaturvedi, MD of Gujarat State Handloom Handicrafts Development Corporation which was formed in ‘73 for revival of handlooms and handicrafts of Gujarat.

Various other states of India, too, can be credited for making the saree an iconic sensation. Each saree mirrors an effortless story woven around the country’s royal tradition and heritage. With their unique charm and appeal, it is little wonder that sales have still been soaring at a time when spending on other categories have seen a sharp drop.

A peek into the past also offers interesting insights into the story of the saree. It was Maharani Indira Devi of Cooch Behar who made the idea of French chiffon sarees extremely popular in the royal circle. Princess Niloufer from Hyderabad wore fashionable chiffon sarees showing off asymmetrical sequin work. Then synonymous with royalty, the saree’s glory exists even today.

States, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Orissa, narrate stories of rich heritage spun into this elegant garment. While Gujarat is known more for its reversible double Ikat Patolas, it is the fine silk Kanjeevarams that are synonymous with the South. Likewise its the Paithani which are famous in Maharashtra and Ikat sarees which are dominant in Orissa. The fine silk and opulent embroidery in Banarasi sarees from Uttar Pradesh make them highly sought after, while ‘Kantha work’ and Balucharis are prominent from Bengal. The Uppada silk saree is typically of Andhra Pradesh.

Not surprisingly, each of these sarees are quite expensive. Bright coloured Kanjeevarams are the famous reflections of the art and craft of South India. Made by craftsman in Kanchi and characterised by lively colours, the quality of silk used is extremely fine. Gold zari work can be significantly seen on them, also making for a good investment. The premium range in these is between Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000. But besides the popular Kanjeevaram, there are other sarees in Tamil Nadu too which are equally well-known.

Attracting global fashion houses
Brocades, tissue sarees, Thagadu and Sarboji sarees also form the exclusive range in silk sarees. Tissue sarees, usually worn by the bride are woven in gold thread and are priced mostly upwards of Rs 1 lakh.

Mr Jairam, MD of Rasi Radha Silk Emporium in Chennai, a 110-year old textile firm in Chennai, feels that even though fewer people may be wearing it now, a growth in demand is still being seen. "The saree is not dying as we have seen a steady growth in their demand over the years. We saw a steady growth of 17% till October. The dip in sales post October has been marginal. It is a significant part of the wedding market, hence the sales are not affected as much," he says.

Nalli Group of Companies, a leading player in the textile and retail business, has also been experiencing year-on-year growth in saree sales. "It's more of a perception that the saree is going out of fashion. They have been clocking good sales and growth every year," says Lavanya Nalli, president of the Nalli Group of Companies.

The South, in fact, is known for its wide range in saree wear besides the Kanjeevarams. Also famous is the Mysore Silk saree which is known for extensive and rich zari embroidery on the borders of the saree. From Andhra Pradesh, the pure silk Uppadas display geometric designs and intricacy, requiring a lot of skill and a few months to produce, thus pushing up the cost of these sarees.

The sarees of Gujarat are no less magnificent. The reversible double Ikat Patola, one of the most famous sarees of the state, can range anywhere between Rs 80,000-1,50,000! Woven in Patan in Gujarat, it takes over a year of painstaking effort to make one such saree. Besides the Patola, there is also the Bandhini saree which is the tie and dye saree of Gujarat.

Another popular saree mostly worn in weddings is the Gharchola saree which is woven in Khambat while the embellishment is done in Kutch and Jamnagar. Mainly worn in wedding ceremonies, the red and white combination in these sarees is a preferred choice. Adds Mr Chaturvedi, "Gujarat is famous for various types of sarees. In the Patola, the craft and motif is very intricate. The yarn is dyed in such a way that the motifs form beautifully on the saree. It is symbolic of the rich craft of India." Equally enchanting is the hand-woven Paithani saree of Maharashtra which is a distinctive style featuring bird motifs as well as stars, lotus, flowers etc. A Paithani could range anywhere between Rs 3,000-Rs 1 lakh or above depending on the way it is designed. Made of pure silk, these use gold embroidery extensively. However, in recent times even silver threads topped with gold are a common feature, thus bringing down the overall cost of the saree.

But if you thought the saree's popularity was only restricted on home turf, think again. International fashion houses such as the French fashion house Balenciaga included the saree in their creations as early as 1937. And in 2007, Nicolas Ghesquiere, creative director of the fashion house reintroduced the saree in a glamourous avatar showing innovative drapes in his collections. He even had an entire line dedicated in Fall 2009 for the Paris Fashion Week called the Sari Silhouette Collection!

Experts, however, feel that continuous steps need to be taken to ensure a steady sales growth for the saree. Rta Kapoor, author and researcher, for 'Saris of India' volumes & 'Handcrafted Indian Textiles,' has been involved in several initiatives to revive the evergreen wonder. "The saree has to be re-introduced as a contemporary garment that can be woven in many new ways as it is so flexible and can be constantly refashioned. Only then can the looms that are facing a threat from cheap imports be given a new lease of life," says Kapoor.

In fact when it comes to innovation, the varied drape styles of designer sarees has increasingly been attracting the younger generation. Fashion designer Ritu Kumar, whose collection comprises a large variety of sarees in metallic work, says that a lot of innovations are taking place by designers to attract the younger buyers.

"The drapes are very versatile now. The blouses are also more innovative in cholis, halters, strings and backless styles. One can drape the saree depending on the blouse being worn. For evening wear, it is now fast becoming a preferred option by women in their mid 20s," she says. While styles may come and go, this is one clothing item that continues to have its loyal base of customers. An ageless wonder all the way.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Deepika Padukone’s Video For Vogue Is Fully 'Hypocritical'

A video featuring Deepika Padukone—in which the Bollywood actress is talking about the prerogative of choice—is now a viral hit.

The video is part of Vogue Empower, an initiative that the fashion magazine launched in October last year to mark its seventh anniversary in India. Padukone’s video ‘My Choice’ aims to bring awareness to the cause of women’s right nationwide.

Directed by Homi Adjania, who worked with Padukone in films like Finding Fanny and Cocktail, the video features 98 other women, including Adjania’s wife, film critic Anupama Chopra, actress Nimrat Kaur and director Zoya Akhtar.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Special Feature: 'A Secret Couture Of Modern Trends'

By Shefalee Vasudev / Mumbai

A peek into the stunning private wardrobes of an India that doesn’t equate couture with crystal. Far from the razzmatazz of couture weeks is the closet of Malvika Singh, publisher of Seminar magazine. Collected with passion over more than 40 years, her 700-odd saris include cotton Jamdanis, many of them in patterns no longer woven on the looms of Varanasi, Upadas and Venkatagiris from Andhra Pradesh, the rare Bomkais of Orissa, Kanjeevarams from Chennai’s Kalakshetra and Maheshwaris that she says are “very special”.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

'Indian Fabrics Need To Make On World's Textile Map'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to choose Varanasi as his constituency in the 2014 general elections has rekindled the hope that it will lead to the revival of the city’s fabled craft, the Benaras Brocades. 

These patterned gold and silver silks have been woven in the city since ancient times, but unfortunately there has been a sharp decline in the demand for this fabric in recent years.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Feature: The Return Of The 'Half-Sari Fashion' Trends

By Aeman Nishat / Hyderabad

Chennai unfurls its updated answer to north India’s ‘ghagra-choli’. Deepika Padukone gives it the thumbs up. With a broad zari border on a green dupatta, an orange silk blouse and a flowing yellow skirt, Deepika Padukone in a pavadai thavani, or half-sari, is almost a cliché in the role of village belle in Chennai Express, which releases on 8 August.

The humble half-sari, once the bridge outfit for girls too old to wear the traditional silk skirt without a dupatta but too young to graduate to a sari, has now been adopted by the Hindi film industry.