Ahmedabad-based designer Aratrik Dev Varman, who presented his Tilla collection at Amethyst Room in Chennai recently, tells The Goodwill Project five things we should know about Gujarat’s rich textile and embroidery heritage.
An ancient craft: Gujarat has a rich and ancient tradition of hndcrafted textiles and maritime trade. Gujarati block printed “Fostat” textiles were traded in Egypt as far back as the 9th century AD.
On the Spice Route: In Siam and Indonesia, silk Patolas and printed Saudagiri fabrics were used as currency by the British for spices from the East. Surat was an important port on the Spice Route.
The rare art of Patola: A double-ikat Patola takes great skill to weave as the motifs are plotted and dyed on each thread even before the weaving has begun. A Patola saree can take from six months to a year before it is completed.
A rich & varied heritage: Gujarat has over 16 different communities with distinct embroidery styles, including both court and folk traditions. Some pastoral communities like the Rabaris, Ahirs and Jats live in Kutch and use materials like mirrors, coins and cowries besides thread-work to embellish their textiles.
Intricate tie & dye: Bandhani or tie-dye is a famous craft where patterns are created by tying many tiny dots over a surface. This intricate craft form is illustrated in the Panetar and Gharcholu, which are both wedding sarees worn by a bride.
(The Tilla line of clothing, designed by Aratrik Dev Varman, makes use of handwoven Indian fabrics and craft techniques. Every season, Tilla visits textile traditions from various parts of India and adapts them to reflect a design sensibility that is modern. This season, it brings you soft, vintage style in handwoven silk, khadi cotton, lace and bead work embroidery from Gujarat.)