The Modern IKATARA

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.

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.

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


 ‘A’bad has the best food, roads and riders,’ says entrepreneurial entertainer Ash Chandler, who was here for a private concert

Priya Adhyaru-Majithia 

 Known as a stand-up performer and one of the country’s first English language comedians, Ash Chandler has recently added Ahmedabad on his radar. Joining hands with an exclusive bike showroom in the city, Chandler is planning a big show in Ahmedabad in August.

 “Currently, I’m creating music for a first-of-its-kind entertainment show to take place in city next month,” said the TV host and actor who has been seen in movies like Hrithik Roshan-starrer Guzaarish, Shikhar, Mixed Doubles and My Bollywood Bride. Chandler recently received rave reviews for his performance in Love Wrinkle Free, his first feature film as a leading man.

 He is also known for engaging his immense talent to regale audiences with his exclusive performances which manifest hotchpotch of popular song renditions with his vocal talents of Motown, Jazz, Blues and Rock. “I plan to customise entertainment for the young bikers here and the special music will lend a distinct quality and exclusiveness to the upcoming event,” he said.

 Talking about the biking culture in the city, a happy and excited Chandler said, “I love the newly emerging biking culture in Ahmedabad and its smooth roads. This city has a natural environment that fuels the craze for biking with good roads and lavish spaces.” And to boost this culture, he wants to add the tempo of his music.

 “In this phase of my life, I am at the peak of experimentations,” said Chandler. And creating new music for Ahmedabad and Gujarat and writing films are the two areas he’s experimentating with right now.

 “I am writing a story for a film and creating popular music to cater to specific target audience — riders. I will combine the best of the three different bands in India that I tour with and will soon bring some mindblowing new music culture to Ahmedabad,” he said.

 And any special reason to create new music for Ahmedabad? “Yes, I have a deep connection with Gujaratis,” revealed Chandler. “Majority of the 85 per cent of people I met as a child in the US were Gujaratis, including my father’s business clients and my family’s first set of friends,” he said. His father Chandler Sharma, 75, is an immigration lawyer and resides in Atlanta.

 “The childhood connections beckon me to create something new for the city. Besides, I love Ahmedabad for its new riding culture and Gujarati food.”


The story appeared on page 9 of Ahmedabad Mirror on July 4, 2013


Kids’ parties become flashier

Parents Spend Huge Amounts On Special Themes & Menus

Today, young kids are fully wrapped up in stardust feel on their birthdays as their parents willingly turn into Santas throwing lavish bashes to make their evenings memorable! And forget a few thousands, such parties’ budget nowa-days cross a few lakhs of rupees.

When Ryan Jagnani turned 3 this month, mom Nikita planned a theme party of talent hunt for a bollywood blockbuster. The kids walked in dressed up as new or old bollywood stars and danced on their favourite number on the glamorous neonlighted stage with look-a-likes stars who were especially invited for party. Their items were showed live on screens as if to hunt the best talent. “My son knows names of many actors and actresses and loves to dance on numbers. The idea to host a bollywood theme party clicked to me as I wanted one of the most memorable celebrations,” says Nikita.

However,this party-hosting ordeal did not impress his son as after the party small Ryan said, “All those who came in as Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan and Aaishwarya Rai had just dressed up like them. I know they were all fake. I asked you to actually call real stats not their look-a-likes.” With parents’ enthusiasm, demands of kids are skyrocketing and a number of organizers are spinning good money riding this bandwagon.

Ramesh Makwana from Party Vibe, one of the kiddies party organizers in the city, says, “Parents want to do something novel and are ready to spend. The latest themes in demand are bollywood, angry birds, toy story and pool splash.” Urvi Shah, another kiddies party organizer says, “We get maximum orders in May as many parents whose kids’ birthdays fall during March and April postpone the birthday celebrations and host it during summer holidays.”

These parties have glitzy cut outs made to create special ambience, with well-lighted backdrops, balloons and also have interactive games like toy train, bungee jumpers, junior jumpers, balloon shooting, tin-throwing and more. Special kid-menu tailored for these parties often have mini-pizzas, smileys, shaped pastas, mini-idli-dosa, mini-burgers, shaped sandwiches, theme-cup-cakes, golas, jellos, cookie and chocolate counters.

Weak rupee boosts NRG spending


Expats Fulfil Pending Shopping Agenda This Season

Weak If a shopper is splurging this season, there’s a good chances he or she is an NRG. The weakening rupee, now valued at Rs 52.71 against dollar has left the NRGs visiting the state on their annual trip happy as they find themselves with even greater spending power.

Ghanshyam Thakkar, an engineer from US, recently bought an apartment in Ambawadi. “As the rupee weakened, I decided to transfer my money here and invest in realty. I always wanted to buy a house in my hometown and I am fortunate that I could benefit from the currency fluctuation. I have managed to save a few thousand dollars in the transaction,” said Thakkar.

Similarly, other NRGs are also aggressive on their shopping. If not buying something a big as apartment or gold, there are NRG shoppers busy finishing long lists of small items. “I could finally buy an Amdavadi sari,” said Renu Thakkar from Canada. Thakkar had wanted to buy this sari costing around Rs 25,000 for the last couple of years. “I could afford to buy now it as dollars could buy more this year,” added Thakkar gleefully.

While some bought traditional goodies for themselves, others found to have extra cash on hand to splurge for their family or associates. Says Kanan Shah from US, “This is my dream-come-true trip,” said Shah as this time she could get designer chaniacholi sets done for her two daughters.

“There is a trend to wear traditional clothes during Navratri and Diwali get-togathers in the US and I did not have any traditional sets for my kids. Last time I visited the city, after finding out the prices I had to put my plan of buying them on the back burner. However, this time, I could finish this item pending on my agenda and got two sets of traditional clothes designed for both my daughters,” said Shah.

However, shop owners do not confirm the trend. “A decade ago during NRG season, we offered special discounts to NRG buyers as they bought sarees in large numbers,” said Ajay Patel of Chimanlal Vrajlal. “However, this season the shopping spree has picked up but it is not that overpowering yet.”

Int’l astrologers’ meet to mull perfect conception

Planning the birth of a child by opting for a caesarean section to match a particular shubh muhurat is passé. Don’t be surprised if your spouse asks you to check the stars before planning to conceive. The latest astrological buzz is to program a child by planning conception in a particular muhurat.

 The idea may seem farfetched in the 21 st century, but there are more than 1,000 astrologers coming to the city from the US, UK, South Africa, Australia, Dubai, New Zealand, Canada and Nepal and different parts of the country to attend a first-of-its-kind International Symposium on Astrological Sciences 2011.

It will be conducted on the theme of ‘programming the birth of a child astrologically.’ All India Federation of Astrologers’ Society and Academy of Vedic Astrology has planned the meet on December 26 and 27. The astrologers now give ‘right’ date and time for possible conception by referring to birth charts of couples.

Many may hesitate before performing caesarean sections on dates like 11.11.11 or 13.12.11. But these astrologers go a step further and say the craze is building up to choose an auspicious time for conception. “Due to rising queries from young couples, we did a three-year research on the subject,” says S R Swamy, organizer of the symposium. The astrologers claim that by choosing to conceive under right stars, parents can plan a the healthy baby.

Rationalists, however, oppose the trend. Jayant Pandya of Jan Vigyan Jatha, said that astrology is not science and people, especially youngsters, should take it with a pinch of salt. “In the 21 st century, following trends of astrology is nothing but superstition. Who would guarantee that if one follows their advice to the hilt, nothing would go wrong?” he said.

Kids get comfy in jewelled chaniya cholis

If you are a garba enthusiast mother trying to make your kid comfortable in chaniya cholis for longer hours, designers in town have a solution for you. They are offering special ready-made outfits with in-built jewellery that is easy for children to wear. The new designs have specially stitched ornament ‘dammni’ (special jewellery to decorate crown and forehead), tika, necklace and earrings.

The novel designs use two fold patterns to add volume and bulk but the dress is still light weight. Avanti Thacker, who loves to dress up her six-year-old daughter Suhani in traditional chaniya cholis, said, “With this latest design, it has become as easy as making her wear ready-made saris. She can wear it is throughout the night comfortably.”

“I absolutely love my new chaniya choli set,” Suhani said with excitement. Rekha Patel, kids traditional wear designer, said, “I initially created this design to dress up my daughter Eva. Soon I started receiving orders.”

Tattoos add to the backless choli lustre

Etchings Mimic Jewellery’s Dazzle.

They make curves look swell. They complement the Navratri dress code, making it more stylish, funky and gorgeous. Tatoos have almost replaced heavy and antic jewellery this year, as new look tattoos made with newer techniques using diamonds and rhodium lends an ornamental sparkle to bare backs in cholis. Continue reading

‘Munni’ will hitch hemlines higher during this Navratri

Bollywood’s hot and classy number ‘Munni Badnaam Hui’ will set hemlines higher this Navratri. Inspired by Munni, the three-quarters classic flared skirts, teamed with skin-tight brocade cholis and semi-transparent shimmering chunnis is all set to make an appearance this Navratri.

Shivangi Shah, a contemporary and ethnic fusion fashion designer, said, “Munni is the inspiration this year as chaniyas have been reduced to kneelength making it easy mix of contemporary and classic garba attire. Continue reading