As Rahul Mishra and Divya Bhatt experiment with bandhnis, bhujodi and patolas; Vinita Passary and Janki Patel are reviving ikat. These creative minds will display their works in the city from today finds Priya Adhyaru-Majithia
Old is gold they say. And when the beautiful old forms are revived and fused with new designs, the result is amazing. In an innovative attempt to transform traditions into latest fashion trends, young designers are focusing on fresh experimentations and revival techniques to bring the fashion and form of the by-gone era in vogue.
While young NID alumni couple Rahul Mishra and Divya Bhatt experiment with bandhnis, bhujodi and patolas, Vinita Passary, designer from Hyderabad and Amdavadi Janki Patel have dedicated themselves to the revival of ikat.
Ikat, which means ‘to bind’ in Indonesian, is the finished woven fabric handmade using ancient tie-and-dye handloom technique. It’s universal weaving style is common to many world cultures, including Central and South America, Mexico, parts of Europe, India, Japan and many South-East Asian nations. While ikat weaving styles vary widely, its motifs have regional ethnic, spiritual contexts.
Though ancient weaving techniques are lengthy and tedious, its produces are the finest forms of Andhra ikats, Orissa ikats and Gujarat’s ikats known as patolas. These are differentiated by intricate weaving techniques and are identified as single ikat, wrap ikat, weft ikat and double ikat. Today, when the market is flooded with power loom Ikat, these ancient weaving crafts are facing the brink of extinction.
Skilled and sensitive young designers have now turned focus to bringing the fading flavours of ikat back in vogue and create a new possibility of survival for the weavers depending on this craftsmanship.
REBIRTH OF CHANDERI AND BANDHNI
Rahul Mishra and his Gujarati better half Divya Bhatt are fond of bandhnis, chanderis, bhujodis and patolas. Their fondness for traditional designs, freshness and newness of current-day fashion trends has resulted into the rebirth of the ancient patterns. NID graduate Rahul says, “Respect for tradition and the urge to follow the newest trends — both tendencies are rooted in a fine balance in Amdavad. Hence, I chose to showcase my collection here first.”
Recently, Rahul’s designs won the best collection title at a fashion event in Mumbai. He says, “For me, craft is inspirational. I incorporate craft in a modernised fashion as we need to keep the functionality in mind while we come up with different designs. Wearing handlooms saris is difficult for the modern Indian working woman. Hence these fabrics are on the verge of extinction. My works are created keeping this in mind.”
Rahul and Divya’s motto is to empower rural weavers and involves crafts like bhujodi shawls and bandhni work, which has been the theme of their collections since 2007. Rahul says, “My aim is to empower the Indian craft community through sustainable design interventions. My philosophy is to integrate rich Indian craft with the constantly varying global fashion.” Rahul is the first non-European designer to have won the scholarship at the Istituto Marangoni, Milan. He recently collaborated with a hospitality industry group to uplift ikat weavers from Pochampally.
IKAT BACK IN VOGUE
In an attempt to reinvent the ikat by giving it a contemporary twist; Vinita has created a new, lighter version which is in sync with central Asian-ikat inspirations. Explaining why she titled her collection The Revivalist Soul, she says that retaining classic cuts of traditional ikat, she has enhanced its feel by fusing it with a fresh approach, new vision and global appeal. “I have used 120 minute dhaghas to make a single thread instead of 160 or more as per the old format; this change has made the fabric softer and lightest produce of a yarn. Working on old grouches, we have used fast dyes so as to these designs are easy on maintenance. We have included new colours like bright red, orange, and blue, green and purple, besides the traditional shades of black, white, grey, red and indigo. Playing with motif inspirations, we have offered globally popular central Asian ikat weaves in new patterns of tops, tunics, reversible jackets, hakamas, dresses, kurtas, palazzos, stoles, dupattas, scarves and saris. And these creations are made out of weaves produced and handmade with the same old techniques on handloom yarn.
Janki who has joined hands with Vinita for the revival of ikat, says, “These traditional arts of making handwoven cloth is fading. We are paving a path for resurgence of the ancient fabric making techniques enveloping warp ikat, weft ikat and double ikat and aim to create awareness of our rich heritage in handlooms, and helping renew great work of needy, talented weavers from Andhra Pradesh.” Vinita says that Amdavadis appreciate tradition and demand latest and trendiest of designs, hence they are eager to unveil their collection here.
The write up appeared in Ahmedabad Mirror on Sept, 6, 2013