Mumbai: The revival and reinvention of 'Made in India' crafts was at the forefront on the Indian Handloom and Textiles Day at the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) winter-festive 2015, with designers like Swati and Sunaina, Rinku Sobti and Shruti Sancheti exhibiting traditional fashion and government officials pitching for a "happy weaver and happy consumer".
Alok Kumar, development commisioner of handloom in the textiles ministry, said: "I, along with the ministry, have taken a mission to revive and rejuvenate the handloom tradition of India. The dimension of our new mission is to capture the space of handwoven textiles and crafts that nobody else can compete with... which is the uniqueness and high value cloth. This will support a large number of weavers in India."
"Our mission is that it should be a major economic activity for Indian growth and Make in India. We are happy to associate with LFW as they bring a lot of stakeholders. We are happy to invite weavers so that they can share their experience with their community. Our ultimate mission is a happy consumer and a happy weaver," he added.
Kumar was part of a panel that also had designers, who opened the Wednesday line-up of the gala. Designer-duo Swati and Sunaina opened with their 'Banaras Revisted' collection under the label 'SNNA Banaras Revisited'.
Ardent followers of finely woven fabrics, the duo have worked with master weavers of Varanasi to create heirlooms in an attempt to keep the art alive. Their aim is to design traditional textiles that can cater to the desires of the younger generation of sari wearers.
"The younger girls are not getting the right saris to wear. They want nicer colours, finer fabrics and this is what we are targeting. Plus we provided certification of zari along with other things," designer Swati told IANS when asked about how they were trying to tap young generation through their clothes.
Next was Rinku Sobti, who also brought the glamour of Banaras on the ramp with her label 'Loom 1905'. The collection was called 'Tassels' and brought to centrestage the intricate work of the weavers in the Bajardiya cluster.
The fine silks were expertly handwoven by master craftsmen. There was a wide array of weaves and designs along with the novel silk net construction, a specialty of the Bajardiya weavers that was shown in a checked pattern. A fascinating line of skirts, jackets, jumpsuits, kurtas, blouses and lehengas dazzled the audience.
Bollywood star Gauhar Khan was the showtopper, wearing a long kurta, tasselled cropped top and black silk embellished lehenga.
"I think it's an honour when you combine tradition with fashion," said Gauhar.
As part of the 'Reinvent Banaras' initiative announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, designer Shruti Sancheti presented a collection called 'Kaashi to Kyoto' for her Pinnacle label. She took the audience on an Oriental odyssey that had colour, craft and innovative fabrics.
Combining the inspirations of the two cities, the designer redefined the ancient Banaras weaving with a contemporary touch.
Earlier also, designers came together to rally for the rights and for safguarding the art of weaving in Banaras.