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Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright?..
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
The indigenous fashion in India is famous across the globe. Every travel itinerary includes visiting the clusters of weavers in India and the crafts market to explore handmade fashion and craft. India is a vast country with multi-cultural influences. The fashion and culture in India are interrelated. To explore fashion in India, every tourist must categorize it into regions, namely North, South, East, and West. This fashion blog aims at presenting the western region fashion of the country.
India might be one of the few Asian countries where indigenous or native dressing can still be spotted in large numbers. Be it sarees or salwar suits, dhoti and kurta or pajamas, both men and women in India are rooted in their culture in fashion. Western dressing influences have altered the native fashion dresses giving shape to Indo Western Fashion in India.
Across the country, fashion can be seen influenced by culture and climatic conditions. Be it ‘pheran’ and ‘Kashmiri embroidery’ to the gold thread woven ‘Kanjivaramsarees’, India has a rich fashion history.
The western region of India is mostly referred to as states including Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Rajasthan and Gujarat share borders and hence fashion and culture influences of both the states have shaped the fashion of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Maharashtra shares the border with Gujarat. There has hence, been an influx of migration of many native Gujarat residents into the state of Maharashtra.
Fashion in the western region of India is colorful, embellished with mirrors, beads, thread work, laces, and techniques like tie and dye.
The state of the royalty Rajasthan is known for its colorful outfits across India. The lavish jewelry, lace (gotta) adorned outfits, unique footwear, headdress (pagri) together influence the fashion of the state. Although people of Rajasthan do wear western outfits, yet one can still explore fashion unique to the Rajasthani culture.
Weavers In Rajasthan
It is the weavers in India, who have kept the sustainable and indigenous fashion of India alive. Rajasthan has a woven fabric specific to its state called ‘Kota Doria’,It is a perfect fit for summer fashion. The airy and cool Kota Doria material is lightweight in beautiful colors and zari work (metallic thread). This handloom product attracts a lot of fashion tourism in the state.
Another famous weave here is ‘Pattu’, woven from the wool of the livestock the weavers use the extra weft technique to create designs like fish, birds, stripes, trees, and other geometric and natural patterns. The works in these shawls seem to be influenced or inspired by 'kashida embroidery’. In Rajasthan, Khaadi fabric is still handspun.
Natural Printing Techniques In Rajasthan
Tie & Dye
Tie and Dye is the color pattern making on fabric by hand by gathering portions and tying them, finally dipping them into natural dyes or colors to create patterns. The famous tie and dye are also called resist printing.
Introduced by the Chippa community to the state of Rajasthan, the Bagru village residents have been working on fabric prints for over 100 years now. Block printing is known to be a widespread art across the Indian sub-continent. The design to be printed is carved in wooden blocks and then stamped on the fabric repeatedly to make a pattern by the natural dyes. The designs of the blocks are inspired by the fashion and culture of the region and adjoining areas.
Fashion In Rajasthan
Rajasthan is one of the many states where traditional outfits are still worn by its people. From ‘ghaghra’ (long pleated skirt), ‘choli’ (blouse), and odni (Long dupatta or scarf) to lose fitted pajamas, kurta, and 'pagri' (headdress), people adorned in Rajasthani outfits can be spotted in urban and rural areas of the state.
The beautiful ‘gottapatti' work and borders sewed to these outfits and the Indo western dresses are famous across the globe.
Men and women wear jewelry alike in this state. They have special jewelry for women native to their culture which is a perfect example of fashion and cultural influences. The Borla, worn by women as head jewelry and 'pacheli’ as bangles. Men in the state are known for turban ornament and long necklaces.
The Rajasthani Juttis are famous across the world also known as ‘Mojari’, the footwear here is adorned with floral work, beads, thread work, and much more.
The state located just below Rajasthan makes another west-end region of India. The fashion in India has taken many aspects of Gujarat’s native outfits. From experimenting with mirror work to colorful thread embroidery with borders, the overall fashion in India has been influenced by Gujarat too.
Weavers In Gujarat
Gujarat is known for its Mashru fabric, a blend of cotton and silk it is woven in such a manner that the soft and cool cotton stays in contact with the skin whereas the shiny and lavish silk is shown in the upper region.
The famous ‘Kutch Weavers’, the famous weavers of Kutch share a common fashion and culture with Rajasthan. As both states are adjoining it is not a surprise that their fashion and crafts are influenced by each other. Kutch handloom weavers, weave shawls, blankets, cloth, sarees with motifs, stripes. As globalization has opened doors for many opportunities these weavers along with designers and brands also weave with Merino wool, Tusar silk, their local sheep wool, and Kala Cotton (The minimal invested, a rain-fed crop that produces stretchy cotton material).
The weavers in India are exploring fashion and its market by still being rooted in handlooms.
Natural Printing/ Dying/ Embroidery Techniques In Gujarat
Another reason to promote fashion tourism in India is the very famous and already exported IKAT dying/ woven technique. The most important element of the Ikat is the blurriness of the fabric, this occurs due to the tight weaving of the dyed yarn by the weavers in India to ensure that a perfect pattern is set out in the cloth. Here the yarns are tie-dyed before the weaving starts.
Woven in regions like Surat and Patan the ‘Patolaweaved' fabrics are a legend across the world. The double ikat silk fabric that gives out Patola prints is in architectural and geometric forms. The designs are also inspired by nature, lavish courts of the kinds and queen, and the everyday life of the people reflecting their culture in fashion. This technique although known to be native to Gujarat has references in the South Indian texts too.
The Abla Embroidery is another famous embroidery technique native to Gujarat. In this, round mirror pieces are decorated on fabrics with thread. Lively and poppy colors like red, pink, yellow, and green are used on fabrics like silk, chiffon, and cotton to make outfits, bed sheets, bags, etc.
Fashion In Gujarat
The traditional fashion in Gujarat is colorful with mirror work and embroidery, people wear 'kediyu’ or kurta on dhoti and women wear sarees or ‘chaniyacholi’. The fashion in India is varied and influenced by the culture of the people residing in the area. The frock type kediyu or upper is also worn by women with dhoti pants as Indo western wear in India.
Silver jewelry is commonly worn across Gujarat by women. Earrings like 'Bali', silver studs, armlet, and a waist belt called 'kandora’ can be seen paired with western and Indian outfits in Gujrat.
The special Dandiya folk dance nights, performed during the Navratri festival of India make the native and traditional fashion of Gujarat famous across the nation.
Gujarat is known for its leather art in footwear just like Rajasthan the traditional footwear of Gujrat can be termed as mojaris or juttis. They embellish the juttis with mirror work and thread.
The third-largest state of India has a rich heritage, from warriors to kings and revolutionaries; the land has been blessed with the presence of Mughals, Peshwas, Marathas, and others, each of which has contributed to the fashion in their way. The city of Mumbai in Maharashtra is one of the booming cities in fashion in India. Maharashtrians will be seen adorning street style western fashion and traditional Indian fashion.
Weavers in Maharashtra
Paithan the handloom treasure of Maharashtra is majorly concentrated in the Aurangabad region of the state. The pure silk woven saree with zari is made in traditional colors.
Another fabric woven in Maharashtra is Himroo, tracing its history since the reign of Mohammad Tuglaq, Himroo is rich and heavy attire woven in with copper, gold, and silver to give a royal feel.
Khana is another woven fabric that is lightweight with floral and geometric patterns. Made in cotton or silk, this is traditionally used by the people residing in Maharashtra and Karnataka (the state adjoining Maharashtra. This fabric was earlier also used as a fabric for making blouse pieces with sarees. This traditional fabric is made by mixing dyes to get the desired color of the yarn.
Other handloom woven fabrics also include Ikaal, SolapurChadar, and Ghongadi.
Fashion In Maharashtra
Maharashtra has a typical drape for sarees. Where the rest of the country would need a petticoat or a skirt below the saree the Maharashtransarees also known as the NauwariSadi is a nine-yard saree worn like a tugged dhoti for easy movement. The men's traditional attire includes dhoti, a single piece of cloth tucked around the waist with a kurta or a loose fitted shirt.
The famous Paithanisaree of Maharashtra, woven in designs like the peacock, geometrical figures, and other nature-inspired art is famous across the nation.
The one-piece that defines the jewelry culture of Maharashtra is the jewelry that they adorn on their nose. Also typically known as the Nath. The culture is also known for wearing gold jewelry around their neck and ear.
The famous KolhapuriChappals belong to this region. Fashion in India generally takes its name from the place where it originated from. These T-shaped sandals are dyed and embellished to give it a casual or fancy look perfect to pair with other summer fashion outfits.
The influence of fashion can be seen passed on to different states, interconnected with each other. The western region of India has a colorful and nature-inspired fashion, cool, airy fit for summer fashion. The weavers in India have contributed largely to keeping the indigenous art alive. The ones who are looking to explore fashion in India, the western region of the country has much to offer.