If you thought designer clothing was all about bling infused pieces that would dazzle on red carpet style sites, then you need to think again. The designer clothing niche in India is replete with pieces that are based on our hand crafted heritage. We have a number of weaves, art forms and even fabrics that can create a truly designer wardrobe. For such a wardrobe, one does not need to stray too far from the rich and the ethnic.
In India, the culture, the food, the language, the people and even the art forms change literally every 100 kilometers. The art forms have translated into the everyday and we end up flaunting arts like Kalamkari, Ikkat, Paithani, Jamawar, Baluchari, Leheriya and much more in our everyday clothing. Kurtas, salwars, jootis, and so much more are crafted out of these fabrics, techniques and even colors. Whether you are getting dressed for work, or for a Diwali party, you do not need to break the bank. A designer look can be created by simply picking up pieces crafted out of these weaves and art forms.
Choosing something that looks unique yet ethnic is the rage this season. And that is the secret for a truly designer look as well. Take a look at some pieces that we have curated, to get some tips on making the right wardrobe choices.
Block Printing: A mix of subtle plant based pigments and wood carved blocks is what delivers charm to this art form. This 2000 year old technique emanated from China to reach the scorching deserts of Rajasthan. The beauty of this art form is that the blocks can be of any design starting from traditional motifs to modern ones. Imagine blocks of an owl dipped in pigments like lime green and peach, transferred on to a crisp linen kurta. Now that’s the designer look we are after. This indigo chanderi dupatta from Desi Almaree has captured our hearts thanks to the trendy yet classic chevron pattern in Jodhpuri blue and white hues. Plus, nothing says elegant like chanderi! Pair this gold edged piece with a plain or embellished salwar kameez for that wow effect. You can also hang this piece around your neck and tie a trendy ethnic belt at the waist to hold the dupatta well. For best results, try this look with culottes and a crop top.
Handwoven Tribal Artisan Piece: When in doubt, look towards the tribal handicrafts that have come from the remote villages of India. A designer look will be guaranteed whether you look East, West, North or South. My favourite pick this season is a stole like this one from Desi Almaree, crafted in Uttarakhand. The colors and the fabric ensure that one can also remain warm in the nippy Diwali weather. The rich handloom look can be paired with western attire and ethnic attire as well. Remember to dress it up with jhumkas and pretty bracelets. I would ideally pair this grey and red piece with wooden hand painted bangles from similarly fashionable regions of the country.
Borrow from the Neighbours: India’s rich textile and artisan history also comes from neighbouring countries. We have borrowed many techniques and art forms from countries like China and Japan, to make them our own. The signature touches come from the colors that we typically use in India. Yet, a subtle look is also a great designer addition. This saree from Desi Almaree has been printed with the famed Japanese Shibori technique. The dagger like pattern is given an elegant touch with the contrast yet subtle colors at play. I would love to wear this one with a very modern wide striped, boat necked blouse and just a pair of solitaire earrings. And for a card party at home where I would like to be at my comfortable yet dressy best, I would drape it like a Grecian gown, cinched at the waist with a pretty gold belt. And danglers would work just fine with this look. Pile your hair high and leave a few tendrils for a tantalising finish!
Trendy Geometric Look with Artisan Weaves: Now if this is not designer, we are not sure what is! The traditional Sambalpuri prints come in signature colors like white, red and black with patterns that are subtle. The folks at Crazy Petals have taken these weaves and given them a truly modern, edgy and designer look. The stripes have been set on a classic black fabric. But the real fun is in the slightly flared sleeves which have a wide panel at the bottom with this artisan fabric. With the stripes aligned to a side, the designer has created a look that spells classic panache. I would pair this blouse with a crisp linen and gold edged saree or a vibrant red embellished saree. Versatile, much? Definitely a must have! For more, look at our blouse tutorial.
Hand Embroidered Goodness: While we are on the subject of festivities and designer fashion, how can we forget about hand embroidery? To get a truly artisan look, you need to arm yourself with some hand embroidered designer pieces that will create the right balance of bling, color and style. This flowing piece from Indian Colors by SHA sets the perfect example and will also set your Diwali wardrobe on fashionable fire! Whether it is Ari work, Zari work, Zardozi or the use of tassels and sequins, you should be careful to choose pieces where the embroidery defines the cuts and structure of the garment, rather than overwhelming the piece. The contrast festive hues and the floral pattern makes for a festive, feminine statement with the richness of artisan embroidery.
Cut Outs and Panels: Cut outs are the new designer trend this season. But who would have thought you can rock this look with handloom and artisan fabrics? I picked this piece from Crazy Petals for a number of reasons. The cold shoulder look makes for some in your face modern and designer flair. The color combination – white, blue and a hint of hot pink – made me swoon. The no nonsense approach for the middle panel ensures that there is just the right amount of drama, which does not take away from the shoulders. This should ideally be paired with a lime green or hot pink saree – and jhumkas!
So are you ready to get your designer – artisan game on this Diwali?