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A designer reinvents Indian textile heritage, craftsmanship

Sunday February 19, 2012 09:39:52 AM, IANS

New Delhi: At a time when many are mourning the demise of Indian craftsmanship, well-known designer Anupama Dayal is focussing on employment for master weavers and promoting intensely handcrafted garments that have international appeal.

"Our motto is to honour master skills, thereby producing a product that is unique and intensely handcrafted but in keeping with international quality standards," Dayal, who launched her brand Anupamaa in 2004, told IANS.

"Another important goal of our brand is 'employment generation' and our work is based on sustainable growth. We also work directly with craftspeople and several NGOs to meet these goals," she added.

Known for working closely with craftspeople from different areas of India, the 30 something designer feels with such a vast heritage, sometimes it becomes difficult to explore every single fabric.

"It will be wrong to say that designers today are not giving due recognition to handmade textiles and fabrics. There are many designers who work with Indian textiles. There is such a vast textile heritage, there is always a scope for upcoming designers to work on more," she said.

In fact, her recent collection titled Surat and Spice, which she showcased at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW), has been inspired by chintz textiles.

Her forte is handprinted textiles. She said: "Handprinted textiles have always been a wondrous source of inspiration to me like an obsessive collector. I have squirreled away in my mind bits and pieces of palampores, coromandels and machilapatnams, snapshots from museums, pictures from books, and work created in my own workshops by master craftsmen," she said.

"From the 16th to the 18th century, India was the biggest exporter of textiles the world has ever known. The magnetic appeal of Indian fabrics caused empires, colonies and wars. My new collection is built around this powerfully transformative moment in textile history. Surat, the legendary port town in western India, was the hub of textile action during this period," she added.

An interesting range, Surat and Spice boasted of tunics, long dresses and a lot of fluid draping in hues of red, cinnamon, indigo, mehndi, haldi, baingani and paprika.

"Fluid draping has been key this season. A key skill, this can be used to instantly transform a garment and reinvent a look. Also the trims, prints and decorative elements have been strategically placed.

"The drapes can be worked with to achieve required levels of chicness, functionality, modesty and temperature control," said Dayal.

Dayal said every woman is a celebrity in her own right.

"All the models who grace my show and all the women who attend my show are celebrities in my eyes. Every girl is blessed with unique beauty and clothes are creative tools to reinvent their personality. For me, every single woman present in the MSA (Main Show Area) is a showstopper," Dayal told IANS.







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