INDIAN FABRICS

In addition to being beautiful, Indian fabrics are the most suited to the Indian climate. Read on to find out more about traditional fabrics from different regions in India.

The weaves are often colourful, and are worked over with incredibly intricate embroidery. The threads of each state speak volumes about their cultural heritage. Unfortunately, despite the versatility of the fabrics and their eco-friendly production process, many Indian threads and works of embroidery are fading into oblivion. By donning our colorful and original threads, which are more like pieces of art, you can also give a ray of hope to thousands of women and men who depend on these crafts for their survival.

Here are some traditional fabrics, particular to different regions in India.

Kantha

You can recognize a kantha pattern by the running stitch all through the fabric. Kantha is very often found on saris in light colours. The embroidery often takes the form of motifs, which vary from flowers to elephants and birds. A Kantha is a Bengali sari.

Patola

You can make out a Gujarati patola by its geometrical pattern and use of colour. The fabric can be reversible, as the pattern is identical on both sides.

Need splendid block-printed fabrics? Try Gujarati Ajrakh and Dhamadka. The overall pattern is often divided into geometrical shapes, the insides of which have shapes like dots, flowers and leaves. A total of painstaking 13 steps make Ajrakh come alive and stand out, unlike other surface printing methods.

Phulkari

As the name suggests, Phulkari is all about making your fabric bloom. The Phulkari like many other Indian crafts started as domestic art, and in Punjab, Phulkari is often worn at ceremonies. When a garment is heavily embroidered with Phulkari work all over, and when the cloth itself is barely visible, the fabric is called 'Bagh'. On the other hand, Phulkari work shows the base cloth.

Madhubani

Madhubani is a work of art because it started as a painting tradition. The theme is usually mythological, and is interspersed with geometrical patterns and flowers. This rich style, born in Bihar, is now found not just on paintings but also on saris. Imagine a skirt with a Madubani painting all over it. Can you get more "designer" than that?

Kasuti

Karnataka is home to the single thread Kasuti art. Running stitch, cross stitch and back stitch are used to depict elephants, geometrical patterns, flowers, trees and temples. If you think color is life, Kasuti with its bright colors can be your style mantra.

Kashida

Kashida speaks of snow-capped mountains, gurgling rivers, chinar leaves and the beauty of Kashmir. This work, initially done only on shawls, can now be found on everything from jackets, coats to salwar-kurtas. Kashida is the name given to works like Zalakdozi (hook embroidery), vata chikan (button-hole stitch) and do-rukha (double side work). Although Kashida work is traditionally done on wool, it is now often found on cotton and synthetic fabrics too, so you don't have the wait for the winter to wear a Kashida garment.

So the next time you go shopping, give the glitzy malls a miss. Scout for craft stores, buy an Indian fabric, get it stitched in your choice of garment (which could be a sari, salwar kameez, shirt, kurti or skirt!) and make your own style statement!

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In addition to being beautiful, Indian fabrics are the most suited to the Indian climate. Read on to find out more about traditional fabrics from different regions in India.


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