How to stay cool with these summer fabrics!
India is a country that has a myriad of fabrics and weaves to offer from every nook and corner. The art of weaving has been mentioned in the oldest veda, the Rig veda. The oldest Indian fabric can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilization. History shows us that Indian cotton and silk fabrics have been sought after by foreign countries. Indian summers are famous for their heat and humidity. What better to wear than the light weight cottons and linens of our nation? My favorite weaves are the Ikats, Madras Checks and the Chanderis. Of course linen is a fabric perfect for the sweltering heat of the season.
The ikats are from Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The Sambalpuris from Orissa, the Pochampally from Andhra and the Patolas of Gujarat are the most popular Ikat varieties. Ikat has truly gone global and how! From the runways of Missoni to Anita Dongre the Ikat pattern has been widely used across the world. A few high street brands like JCrew and Aldo have also had collections inspired by the Ikat weave. Ikat has a certain exoticism in the West and now you can find the pattern on Jonathan Adler designer crockery and Steven Elmer wallpapers too.
The “Madras Checks” is named after our very own Madras city, now known as Chennai. It is a lightweight cotton fabric that has a woven plaid pattern. It comes in a variety of colors and is another trend that has taken the world by storm. Every summer the runways go berserk with Madras Checks and its no different this time. Be seen in a bold Madras Check saree to stay fashionable during this season! Paul Smith and Gant, popular men’s clothing brands have incorporated the Madras Checks in their summer collections. So now even the men have reason to stay trendy!
Chanderi is a village in Madhya Pradesh well known for its lightweight cotton and silk fabrics. The Chanderi dates back to the Vedic period. It is born out of a special art of weaving with fine textured cotton and silk yarn and embellished with zari borders. It has always been patronized by royalty. The Chanderis hold a special place in my heart for their sheer texture. It is by far the most comfortable fabric to wear for our summer season. The luxury of the transparent Chanderi is like no other. It has come a long way from its traditional floral and peacock motifs. The more modern versions feature tie and dye, geometrical patterns and moustache prints. My favourite Chanderis are from Vishal Kapur.
Linens are always associated with crisp shirts. However the handwoven linen sarees are so soft and feel wonderful to wear during summer. Anavila makes the most luxurious linen sarees in a range colors. You’ll find pastels, all shades of beige, charcoal and black too. She has indeed given the otherwise plain linen saree a contemporary edge and made it fashionable to be seen in.
Promise yourself to experiment this summer and stay trendy with the traditional fabrics of India. Let us be proud Indians!