And if you have one design book to read, make it this!
Also, if you are thinking of giving your wardrobe or home a festive refresh, turn to our country’s own bounty to do so. Each piece with its vibrant history, colorful stories and differences (you see, it’s all the magic of different hands) makes it all so unique and full of character- a quality standardized pieces can never bring in! And I absolutely adore pieces that pour individuality from their wafts and welft.
A little about life at home pre growing up & where did it all come from
So, you know, growing up, and especially during this time of the year- right before Durga Puja, the house would be abuzz with words like Phulia’r taant, dhakai jamdani, Bomkai, Tussar, Muga, Sambhalpuri and Tanchoi. My mom’s saree buying was a thing and she would spend hours buying sarees for herself and relatives from her chosen few boutiques in Kolkata (I think it was Anukool in Gol Park) who would bring in “special” handloom sarees from the lengths and breadths of the country. She would sit on the white “gadda” run her hands through the fabric of the sarees, see the pallu as the shopkeeper would drape it around him and talk passionately about it- discussing the pros and cons- a world changing discussion interrupted only by “cha” in “matir bhar”. And you couldn’t contest her by saying, it’s just a saree. She will put her sleeves up to tell you how a fabric is hand embroidered, where it came from, who brought it to the forefront- as if wearing a story; draping herself in 9 yards of history.
Yards of woven Ikkat would be bought and sent to the tailor to sew into bed sheets and pillow covers, and Lepcha handloom and lace would fulfill their fate of becoming pretty cushions! Tea tree trunks would become tables and old tant sarees would sway gently as sheers. As a child, the process filled me with just joy. And as an adult, it fills me with sheer nostalgia and gratefulness for the love of handloom that she inculcated in us.
Today, when I pick a saree from her cupboard or take out the old Benarasi cushion covers she sewed from an old blouse piece- one which smells of time and moth balls- I cannot help but habitually appreciate two things: her impeccable taste and how handloom seamlessly like water, molds to time.
Her sarees were relevant in 1970. It is relevant in 2021. Those cushion covers were relevant in a 90s exposed wood décor and its relevant in my farmhouse style décor where it brings in just the right intensity of shimmer without looking dated or ambitious.
Not many things in the world can evade time-and-trend but Handloom!
Truly, though Handloom has always been the new black.
There is something so authentic and classic about things from the loom. Almost like that little black dress. And yet, change the context in which it is to shine and the whole dialogue changes.
A Tanchoi cushion can toggle from Indian ethnic to Parisian to high glam if you treat it right. Then, of course, we have Kutchi weaving, where in the checkered patterns can fit like a glove in a farmhouse style neutral décor! And I am forever so intrigued to see how our handloom finds expression in a gamut of styles and genres, sitting there looking like a million bucks. It is this love for seeing quintessentially Indian craft in an ever changing setting that made me start #IndiaChic on Instagram where I document our craft forms in a very non-traditional, minimal setting, so imagine my joy when I chanced upon Trendloom.
Allow me to introduce you to Trendloom 2021- a joint initiative by Aadyam Handwoven & India Craft Week…
That captures this dialogue between handloom and the ever changing times.
Trendloom 2021 is a design guidebook- or a guide, if you may- which aspires to educate and inculcate the love for handloom through themes that we find relevant today. Unlike a trend-book that gives you a summary of what’s in trend, Trendloom 2021 brings out the best of classic crafts chiseled to work in current times, all the while keeping art, artisans and the overall sentiment of the time at its core. It’s a much more personal approach to lifestyle than just being trendy.
The organic change that has happened and is happening in our lifestyle every day is bound to influence the design decisions we take. Trendloom 2021 shows us how to coherently fit handloom in this transformation and the many ways we can express ourselves through the same.
An annual property, Trendloom 2021 encases trend directions, inspirations that one can draw from, colors and palettes, fibers to look for, inspired textures and products that serve as testimony to all the above.
It comes as no surprise that the Trendloom 2021 edition is all about Conscious, Sustainable, Nostalgia, Slow & Personal
These past two years have been years of countless firsts- especially when it comes to emotions and feelings. And above all, what was common was the need to connect. To nature, to our roots, our souls, our happiness and the earth around us in general. From feeling trapped at home to making our home a fabric for expression, from reminiscing old world textiles that made us feel cocooned and cozy to being plant parents- these two years have brought in us a metamorphic shift. And we are choosing as we are evolving and evolving as we are choosing.
Trendloom 2021 brings about 7 broad themes to explore- Sand, Metal, Clay, Cultivate, Symbiotic, Roots & Soul, all of which together encapsulates our collective feelings in the recent past and examines products, fibers, textures and colors that could embalm, delight, nurture and console.
From a neutral heavy but precision led Sand inspired guide to bright hues borrowed from our age old tapestries in Soul, from imbibing nuances, patterns and textures from nature in Symbiotic that allows us the luxury of fine fabricto bringing our rich textiles like Dobby jacquard and Zari as they were intended to be but in a modern form in Cultivate– this design guidebook makes one richer.
If you thought handloom is only Khadi and people in Bengal wear them, this is your eye opener. And if you are like who knows handloom like it is supposed to be known, this will be that rich repository of brilliant ideas that’ll make you take a moment and rethink handloom.
And I strongly think we should give ourselves that chance.