Indian fashion is rich in tradition, vibrant in colours and truly beautiful. It reflects the country's cultural and ethnic diversity. Indian Fashion is in Indian clothes or Indian costumes, Indian fashion is in accessories, Indian fashion is in jewelleries, Indian fashion is in Indian dresses, Indian fashion is in Indian designs, Indian fashion is in Indian makeup. Indian dresses always have a demand in the international fashion market because of its unique and outstanding styles and types of garments. Women dress up in ethnic styles to embellish their look. Ethnic is classic and maintain the essence of our culture. Among womens ethnic wear, Sari is the most elegant and sensuous attire.
Sari- A Sari is the traditional garment worn by women in the Indian subcontinent. It is a long strip of unstitched cloth, ranging from five to nine yards in length, which can be draped in various styles. The most common style for the sari is to be wrapped around the waist, with one end then draped over the shoulder. The most brilliant aspect of this dress is that it looks good on all kinds of women.
History of sari- The word 'sari' evolved from the prakrit word 'sattika' as mentioned in earliest Jain and Buddhist literature. Even in the ancient Vedas, there is description about the saris. The sari boasts of the oldest existence in the world. It is more than 5000 years old! Some people think that sari is influenced by Greek or Roman toga, which we see on ancient statues. This is not correct; it was rather a wonder to the Greek eyes.
In India, one and all states have their own traditional sort of saris. Indian saris are most popular and beautiful in the other countries of the world. There are so many types of saris depending on construction, design and region. It might be difficult to cover all types of saris. Here is my effort to give you a brief but comprehensive overview about Indian saris.
Bandhani Saree- These are saris created by dyeing the cloth in such a manner that many small resist dyed 'spots' produce elaborate patterns over the fabric. Bandhani saris are made with larger designs and fewer ties than in the past. There are varieties available in two contrasting colours, with borders, end-pieces and one or more large central medallion called a pomcha or padma (lotus flower). Red and Black is the most common colour combination but other pairs of colours are also found.
Patola- Patan the place in Gujarat famous for its Patola sari. These are hand made saris which are created in large quantities in Patan. Patola sarees are famous for its subtle, attractive and clear pattern which is done with great precision and skill. The most time consuming and elaborate saree created by western region is the Potole (plural patola) which has intricate five colour designs resist- dyed into both warp and weft threads before weaving. Double Ikat Patola saree is a rare and expensive investment. A cheaper alternative to double Ikat Patola is the silk Ikat Saree developed in Rajkot (Gujarat) that creates Patola and other geometric designs in the weft threads only.
Chanderi and Maheshwari- The Chanderi Saree from Madhya Pradesh is light and meant for Indian summers. It is made in silk or fine cotton with patterns taken from the Chanderi is primarily a weaver's town. It produces fine shimmering cottons with pale delicate Zari borders and motifs of the utmost delicacy. The characteristic feature of Chanderi Sari is the quality of the gold thread that is used. The Maheshwari sarees are also both in cotton and silk, usually green or purple with a Zari border. The traditional block-printed Tussar can also be found in contemporary designs now days.
Kantha- Kantha is a type of saree popular in west Bengal. Worn by Bengali Kayastha women, it is known for its delicate embroidery. Kantha is basically close running stitch filled inside a design. Though the work is simple, the final appearance is beautiful. Different shades of thread; double shade or single shades can be used aesthetically according to your taste.
Chikankari saree (Lucknow)- Chikan embroidery is a specialty of the Uttar Pradesh city Lucknow. Its unique style was developed during the Mughal period. It is also called Lakhnavi Chikankari.
Tie and Die/ Lehriya- Tie and Dye is a multicoloured craft of Rajasthan. The people of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh make up with the brilliancy of their clothes for what the terrain lacks in colour. Cotton or silk cloth is tied into sections to exclude the dye to achieve a two-colour effect. For more intricate Design, different sections are tied at every stage of dyeing and a variety of colours used. Thereafter, the fabric opens out into amazing designs: dots, circles, squares, waves and stripes. The motifs that are used are birds, leaves, animals, creepers, and human figures in dance poses.
Banaras Brocade-Banaras is one of the rich weaving craft centre of India, famous for Brocade saris and all over dress material. Brocade refer to those textiles where in patterns are created in weaving by transfixing or thrusting the pattern-thread between the warp. This saree from Banaras is virtually mandatory in the bride's trousseau. These sarees vary tremendously as weavers create different products to suit different regional markets and changing fashion. Depending upon the intricacy of designs and patterns, a sari can take anywhere from 15 days to a one month and sometimes up to six months to complete. Banarasi saris are mostly worn by Indian women on important occasions such as when attending a wedding are expected to be complemented by the woman's best jewellery.
Jamavar- A Jamavar is a special type of shawl made in Kashmir. Historically it was made by hand and some shawls took a couple of decades to complete. Jamavar Silk Sarees carry a special standard. This often identical with the lifestyle and high choice. That is why silk sarees never go out of demand. While wearing a saree itself speaks of the Indian culture and tradition. Original jamavar sell for high prices. Jamavars also come from Uttar Pradesh. These silk sarees are embellished with zari thread work. The popular theme is a jacquard weave in 'meena' colours like orange and green.
Baluchari- The Baluchari Bengali saree is about 200 yrs old. Made of silk and woven on looms, the borders of these sarees depict stories from Indian epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. Baluchari Sarees use only silk threads-no zari. This saree from Bengal is usually five yards in length and 42" wide in flame red, purple and occasionally in deep blue. The field of the saree is covered with small butis and a beautiful floral design runs across the edges.
Madisar- The Madisar is the style in which the saree is worn by the Brahmin community in Tamil Nadu, India. Madisars are available in a variety of materials such as silk, cotton, cotton-silk blends, etc. It is very important part of the Iyer and Iyengar culture. Madisar, as the nine yard saree called in the Tamil Brahmin community, is a very important part of their culture. It is a very important part of their culture. It is a very tricky to wear a madisar properly, but when done to perfection, it is a beautiful wear.
Kanchipuram- Kanchipuram saris are characterized by the gold-dipped silver thread that is woven into a premium quality silk. Kanchipuram is actually a town in Tamilnadu. The town's fabulas weaving history goes back centuries. Kanchipuram remains untouched by fashion fads, so it still maintains traditional weaving styles and techniques. The silk base is thicker than any other silk saree, which makes it most expensive kind of silk saree in India. It is believed that the most common motifs found in Kanchipuram saris are peacock and parrot.
Dhakai- A Dhakai is a type of sari (traditional cloth for women of South Asia) made with cotton. The name comes from the Dhakha city, capital of Bangladesh where this type of is sari is usually made. Traditional old dhakai saree from west Bengal, this saree is made in muslin fabric which is very soft.
The saree happens to be the most versatile drape with its amazing styles of draping and design. The sari is the traditional dress of India which also modifies as per material, drape and style with each region. This has also gone up to international drape style followed by ranking designers on the ramp shows. Indian fashion is extremely alive and whatever the decade or the century, it is here to stay. For not only it is comfortable, practical and aesthetically beautiful but has changed with time with the result that it has, in the past century and will in the coming one, remain contemporary which is why the start of the new century tempts us to dream and remember the past.
The author is Faculty at Satyam Fashion Institute, Noida