Weave In India

Shubh-yatra.in

, Fashion

Ace designer Manish Malhotra feels this year is going to be all about Indian fabrics. He has always had a special place in his heart for Indian textiles, he says, and wants to make Benarasi and bandhni an international fashion phenomenon.

What inspired you to design a collection with only traditional Indian fabrics?

The idea was born during a showcase of my work at Mukesh Ambani’s residence. It was a collection created with bandhni fabrics from Gujarat, and my hosts suggested I experiment more with Gujarati music and crafts. I was also thinking about working with Benarasi weaves. It seemed like a perfect idea to merge the two. And the collection Regal Threads was born. A trip to Varanasi reinforced the idea.

What’s special about the fabrics used in the collection?

I have only used Benarasi and bandhni fabrics. Every inch of fabric used in the Regal Threads collection has been curated by me and specially sourced from weavers in Varanasi and Gujarat. Later this year, I am opening a store in London and hope to take these garments there. I want to make Benarasi and bandhni international. For example,
the lehenga skirts in my collection can be worn as both a lehenga and a skirt.

But this isn’t the first time you are working with traditional Indian fabrics, is it?

It has been four years I’ve been working with Kashmiri craftspeople. I started work with 50 Kashmiri women, and now we employ more than 200. I have been planning to design a collection with heritage Indian textiles. Now, with the spotlight on Make in India, my collection fits in perfectly. I just returned from Andhra Pradesh, where my summer
collection is based. There I discovered that cotton is more expensive than silk because there are such few cotton weavers left. Sometimes, the weavers take 45 to 50 days to weave a sari, and then they don’t always get good prices. Their children don’t want to join the trade and the art’s existence is under threat. I hope the Indian fashion industry is able to revive traditional weaves. That’s why I am celebrating it. I want people to start wearing traditional fabrics at weddings, mehendi and sangeet.
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