This Handlooms Day, Invest In These 17 Homegrown Sari Labels
Explore beyond the basics and learn about the various weaves of India
The craft of handloom is etched into the very fabric of India. Traced back to early civilisations, the art is performed on wooden frames to weave fabrics out of natural fibres like cotton, jute and wool. In an attempt to save the prestigious art form, 7th August is celebrated as National Handloom Day.
Taneira weaver on the loom
Over the last couple of years, Indian designers have travelled back to their roots and revived this practice in a more contemporary form. Not only does it promote sustainability and slow fashion, but it also encourages artisans to go back to their ancestral jobs instead of making minimum wage as labourers. As conscious consumers, it’s about time we invest in the fashion heirlooms of our nation. Here are 17 homegrown labels that create handloom six-yards with which you can build your woven sari closet.
Label Taneira brings to you handpicked designs from more than 65 weaving clusters across India while curating complete sari ensembles at their headquarters for you. The variety of weaves they offer include ikat, bandhani, ajrakh, chikankari, Kanjivaram, Banarasi and more.
2. Vaishali S
Designer Vaishali Shadangule infuses the merino wool from Maheshwar, Khunn textiles from Karnataka, and indigenous weaves from West Bengal with her trademark cording technique to create one-of-a-kind silhouettes. Nature is the core inspiration behind the designs of the weave, and the structure of the saris is far from your regular drape.
Designer Anavila Misra is known for creating lightweight weaves with minimal embroidery. Her design aesthetic focuses on the fabric instead of the ornamentation. Her usage of linen in a woven sari soon became popular because of the ingenuity of the idea and the texture of the fabric.
4. Anita Dongre
Anita Dongre has always been at the forefront of popularising rural Indian crafts and resuscitating weaves. She works with 500+ artisans through Ahmedabad-based Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), one of the numerous NGOs she’s associated with. Her initiatives to empower women to become self-sufficient and skilled in small villages while nurturing their regional cluster’s craft reflects in her collection of versatile saris.
5. Kshitij Jalori
Kshitij Jalori’s expertise lies in amalgamating two contrasting weaves together. His juxtaposition of pashmina yarn with Banarasi brocade in one ensemble is a refreshing interpretation of age-old techniques in a modern way.
Jaypore offers a wide range of simple six-yards in handwoven cotton and substantials silks with intricate details. Their team of experienced artisans and craftsmen include block carvers, dye masters, weavers, printers and quilters, generating everything in-house and providing employments in all segments.
Ekaya is India’s first handloom luxury brand, presenting the finest work of art from the state’s skilled craftsmen. The brand houses a community of over 10,000+ weavers contributing to their heritage, and they plan on bridging the gap between the artisans and the luxury buyers of the country.
8. Go Native
Each handwoven saree by Go Native is a work of love and art and takes anywhere between one week to two months to weave. Any unevenness in texture or embroidery is a characteristic of the handwoven product and a part of the process that makes it unique.
From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Yespoho believes in presenting weaves from every region of India. Including precious textiles like jamdani, kalamkari, Kanchipuram, bandhani and Pochampalli, the label believes in serving a diverse variety of weaves that people can explore and buy from.
10. Ritu Kumar
As a pioneering name in Indian fashion, Ritu Kumar’s legacy has been all about incorporating authentic Indian art forms in fashion. From the very beginning of her career, Indian textiles have been at the core of her design ideology, which can be clearly seen in her collections of saris. From block to Jamawar, even her current collection of drapes circle back to weaves from clusters she has been supporting for over multiple decades.
11. Label Advaya
KH Radharaman of Label Advaya is responsible for changing the face of the authentic Kanjeevaram sari. Kanjeevaram is traditionally a silk sari with a silver or gold zari. In Radharaman’s version, it is being created in khadi, tussar and linen. His vision is to use a known technique and create something new out of it instead of replicating the weave as is.
12. Raw Mango
With roots in craft and community, Raw Mango’s relationship with handloom created new conversations in textile, culture and politics through a range of saris (and other objects). Crafted by karigars across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Varanasi, Raw Mango’s designs ideology is to reintroduce Indian weaves with a fresher perspective by introducing creative drapes, avant-garde styling and loud burst of an expansive colour palette.
13. Keyah Label
Keyah Label’s saris are made in fabrics like organza, handloom cotton and Muga, raw and pure silk. Every six-yard drape is meticulously put together with hand-painted flowers highlighted by shaded squares and gold block prints. Their woven saris come in a complete set, saving the buyer from the hustle of putting the ensemble together.
14. Tilfi Banaras
The label’s name is derived from a Banarasi weaving technique, where the yarn runs continuously without a break. They aim at preserving Banarasi handloom and representing the finest woven stories from the bustling lanes of the holy city—its nooks and crannies narrating its beautiful chaos. The idea is not to sell a sari but an heirloom that is passed down into generations.
16. Via East
Via East is an online label that provides traditional Indian textiles and the various craft forms associated with them. The brand’s DNA is rooted in simplicity, elegance, and rural craftsmanship. They offer the urban Indian woman an option to explore uncommon weaves like Maheshwari, Mangalgiri and Paithani that aren’t commonly available in metropolitan cities.
17. Swati And Sunaina
Swati And Sunaina was started with a vision to bring back the hidden gems of Indian woven textiles and find a clientele that appreciates the craft, artisans, and history. Their handwoven saris look current and in trend because of their choice of motifs, colours, placements and overall concepts. The intricacy of the patterns and details, like the complimentary use of fine silk threads and zari, are a signature element in their collections.