Not many would know most of the costumes of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Ravan, the creations of ace fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, used yarns and fabrics from Orissa. In fact, Mukherjee’s collections in the near future may be expected to flaunt many more motifs of the state.
In a bid to promote unique textiles of the state among the fashion circuits of the country and abroad, the state government’s department of textiles and handlooms has invited top national and international fashion designers such as Mukherjee, Anjali Kalia, Rajesh Pratap Singh, David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore of the Abraham and Thakore brand, as well as leading international designer Bibhu Mohapatra, to come to the state and have a feel of its richness in textile designing.
While Abraham, Thakore and Singh had visited weavers in their villages in January for this purpose, Mukherjee, Kalia and veteran textile expert Rita Kapur Chisti made rounds of the state’s handloom stores in the city and interacted with weavers to get a hands on of the yarns, fabric, motifs and colours of Oriya textiles. The fashion designers observed the various types of handlooms of the state such as Bomkai, Ikkat, Kotpat textiles and so on. They also discussed at length the weaving techniques with the master craftsmen. “I had begun my career with a project on Raghurajpur pattachitra at the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Even today, I love to use the superior quality tassar or cottons produced by Oriya weavers. In fact, 95 per cent of the costumes used in the film Ravan was from Orissa handlooms,” said Mukherjee.
“But sadly, while the handlooms are aiming at increasing their profit by any means, the quality of the fabrics available at cloth stores is becoming spurious using day by day. At times, they are even using cheaper fabrics from China or Korea,” he said.
Mukherjee added that more steps should be taken to create awareness among the people of the country about the exclusive traditional Oriya handlooms.
“The world is coming to India today as our country has a vast market for fashion. Hence, we need brand ambassadors such as film celebrities to flaunt indigenous textiles of the country to make people return to handloom instead of polyester or imported fabrics,” he said.
“Visits of designers of national and international repute will be more frequent in the coming days. Designer Mohapatra will also interact with weavers in September,” said Arati Ahuja, secretary of state textiles and handloom department.The project will help us build a linkage between top designers and our weavers. After their visits, Abraham, Thakore and Singh used the patterns at their collections showcased in Paris.
“They have also kept in touch with our weavers since then,” said Ahuja.