IRW '17: Indian handlooms take the ramp to revival

New Delhi [India], Apr 29 (ANI): In the current melange of high-street labels and fast fashion, India Runway Week (IRW) Season 8 saw Indian handlooms weave its magic on the ramp on Day 1.

Sashaying down the runway in "unstitched" scarves-turned-outfits for Gestures by Kriti team, the models brought in a fresh sense of style.

Anchal Kapoor, Founder and CEO of Gesture by Kriti team, told ANI, "Our collection is a mixed handloom and cotton and silk collection, which is coming from Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. We are showcasing Banarasi Silk and have a collection from Odisha that is Ikat, which is done by weavers who had stopped weaving and they've been revived by our local partners."

"We've a beautiful collection of Rabha weaves from West Bengal's Buxa village. These are all the weaves that people had stopped doing and this is a revival by groups. We also have a collection from Uttar Pradesh's Baragaon, which is a pure cotton loom, which is again by weavers who were dying and losing livelihoods out of distress," she added.

Anchal noted that Gestures by Kriti team provides a platform for multiple community groups and weavers and artisans to showcase their stuff.

"Lot of the accessories you saw are made by community women groups and artisan groups whom we want to have dignified lives along with access to education and health. Lot of our community groups are violence survivors so we're very proud to provide Gestures by team Kriti as a platform to small groups," she said.

The collection showcased a mix of Ikat with cotton, a mix of Banarsi and jumpsuits out of a Rabha weaved stoles.

"Theme was consciously designed in the way that you could pick a hued mix of garments and accessories out of your wardrobe and you could still have a great look. Life is about celebrating handicraft. Our concept was that also, giving power to the people who create things. We want young people to rediscover the kind of stuff that our weavers and artisans are making," Anchal continued.

Featuring a colour palette of subtle hues mainly, RangSutra's collection showcased "Indian-handicraft-meets-modern-fashion" couture.

"Our collection is called 'Be The Change.' It's an effort, an aspiration to walk the talk, to basically bring the beauty of Indian Handicraft and combine it with modern style," Sumita, Rangsutra told ANI.

"Rangsutra is an umbrella for 3,000 artisans and this is the collection attempted to bridge the artisans, whom you don't see here from the desserts of Rajasthan up to Manipur, with the modern women, who are sensitive, ethical and believe in good-living, because somewhere that's the future. We're moving too fast, it says slow down a little bit, there's a nice breeze outside. 'Be The Change' is the change you want to see in this world. It's a Gandhian quotation and a small humble attempt by Rangsutra to do the same," Papiya, Designer, Rangsutra, told ANI.

She added, "Before us, everyone said everything, RangSutra speaks between the lines. It's a whisper that says, 'don't forget where you come from, we celebrate that'."

Bringing a summery tint to the ramp, the models for Soche sported outfits with an element of environment.

"Soche really drives innovation in the handicraft sector from a sustainability lens. The collection today was of ethnic hand embroidery called Kalavat from Rajasthan's Barmer district. This is made by women in the villages around the bordering areas of Barmer. It is languishing handicraft, an embroidery which is really seeing day of the light other than in the region of Barmer. It's for the first time people are really seeing Kalavat in this format and we really experimented with Kalavat," Kanika, Founder of Soch Foundation.

She added, "We not only did it in garments, but also in the headbands. Since we're all about handicrafts trying to give it a spin of innovation, we paired it up with sun-dried terracotta accessories. The idea of giving it an environmental sustainability spin, the collection was very different."

"Our theme, be it from Barmer, the design patterns, for example there was peacock with the embroidery, the pug marks with the embroidery, flowers with the embroidery, we wanted to bring in that element of environment in the design itself," Kanika noted.

Banka Silk, an organisation working for the upliftment of the weavers of Banka, associated with the celebrated designer Poonam Dubey to showcase an inspired Mughal monuments embellishment collection of fabrics called 'Loom to Wardrobe' at the event.

The collection in Tussar silk was inspired by the people who migrate to bigger cities in search of a better life but do not forget their roots and still want to be recognized from their village or town.

Taking a cue from this feeling, Poonam created 10 styles in natural earthy colors like beige, white, grey and slightly moving towards hues like blue and magenta that truly exhibit the beauty and rustiness of the villages.

Udyan Singh, Founder, Banka Silk said, "This season, we turn the spotlight on the biggest global fashion trends and are showcasing them on the Indian ramp. Wearable tech trends will surely bring about multi-fold changes in the industry and will give Indian designers a new perspective on the already existing wave. Our aim is to introduce Banka Silk to a multitude of audience and help them in their upliftment."

"Indian weaving industry has the world's largest number of handloom weavers and an extremely rich heritage of handloom products. Despite such obvious and impressive strengths, India has not been able to ensure sustainable and satisfactory livelihoods for handloom weavers. The reality today is that majority of handloom weavers are living in poverty and are leaving the occupations. They need a helping hand to meet their needs," noted Poonam Dubey, designer, Banka Silk.

"Udyan Singh joined the cause with the concept of Banka Silk and helped weavers to meet their livelihood by providing them with adequate training to meet the needs of dynamic world.Being from the same native place we share same interest of helping and uplifting the weavers effort," she added. (ANI)