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Are you and me part of the problem? Which problem, you ask? Well, the dying Indian handicraft. Our Indian culture is so rich in its culture and heritage but what’s extremely sad is that we take it for granted and instead prefer flaunting our ‘OOTD’ in varied fast fashion brands. The gruesome ill treatment of labourers in addition to the massive carbon footprint is destroying our planet, (no) thanks to these fast fashion brands that we frequently shop from.
India has a heritage of handloom weaving that is unique and the largest anywhere in the world but that is dying because of lack of support and policies that are killing the handloom industry which provides employment to the largest number of people after agriculture in the country. The government says there are 43 lakh weavers in the country. Imagine the insurmountable happiness it would spread in the world if each one of us decides to support just one of the local artisans. We could not only revive the dying art but also spread a sense of hope among approximately 43 lakhs families! I dare you to tell me that you prefer buying fast fashion which only makes YOU happy over than the happiness of 43 lakh people. You cannot, right? Proof that kindness isn’t dead just yet.
So today we are going to talk about one such Indian handloom called Kalamkari. Kalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile produced in Isfahan, Iran, and in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Only natural dyes are used in Kalamkari, which involves twenty-three steps. Under medieval Islamic rule, the term Kalamkari was derived from the words "kalam", which means "pen" in Telugu, and "kari", which means craftsmanship.
The first step in creating Kalamkari is steeping it in astringents and buffalo milk and then drying it under the sun. Afterwards, the red, black, brown, and violet portions of the designs are outlined with a mordant and cloth are then placed in a bath of alizarin. The next step is to cover the cloth, except for the parts to be dyed blue, in wax, and immerse the cloth in indigo dye. The wax is then scraped off and the remaining areas are painted by hand. To create design contours, artists use a bamboo or date palm stick pointed at one end with a bundle of fine hair attached to this pointed end to serve as the brush or pen. This pen is soaked in a mixture of jaggery and water; one by one these are applied, then the vegetable dyes are added. If an art form takes this much time and effort, it sure as hell should LOOK worth it, right?
Well, allow me to introduce you to some beautiful Kalamkari Dupattas that will take your breath away!
I hope I’ve settled all your doubts when it comes to looking fashionable while adoring our Indian handlooms. Not only will you look and feel beautiful, but your heart would be content as you know that a family’s day is made out there, thanks to your purchase.