The Cottonfab expo is a one-stop-shop for all your shopping needs

Winter may not be the right time to stock on cotton. But with festivals around the corner, it’s probably the time to strike some best shopping deals. Cottonfab expo has brought in a wide range of silk and cotton materials, saris, salwars, shirts and skirts from all over the country. From exquisite traditional hand spun silk saris and the colourful bandhani cholis and ghaghras to contemporary casual shirts and chunky fashion jewellery, the expo has something for every shopper.

The expo that has more than three dozen stalls features chikankari from Lucknow, tie-and-dye from Rajasthan, Dharwad and Hubli saris from Karnataka, Chanderi and Maheshwari from Madhya Pradesh, Kantha and Tangail works from West Bengal, Ikat from Orissa, Kalamkari from Andhra Pradesh and various other textile crafts. The most expensive muga silk saris from Assam and Bhagalpur raw-silk sairs from Bihar are the highlights of the show.

Every shop is a riot of colours, prints and fabrics, but the story of these distant weavers living in villages is not as colourful. “Such expos help us to catch up on living. After the power looms invaded, the demand for handloom has gone down,” says Brijesh Kumar from Uttar Pradesh. “The Madurai experience has been so far so good. Dupattas and salwars are the fast moving items. Though, expensive items like matka silk and tussar get rarely picked up.”

“This silk is suitable for all climates,” says Aftab Alam, pointing to the Bhagalpur Ghicha raw silk. “A single Ghicha sari takes months to weave as the yarn is hand spun.” Tangail saris and Ikat are the other varieties that are time-consuming as the former is woven by hanging the sari and Ikat has different colours both in the warp and weft. “That’s why Ikats fabrics can be worn inside-out also. They have the same designs on both the sides,” explains Suman Biswas.

Hand block prints, dobber and ajrak prints also seem to be big buys of the season. If you are looking for something flashy and quirky, get a ghaghra made of Kutchi bandhani. “The Bandhani of Kutch is different as the people use lots of other art forms like block prints, embroidery, chamki work and bead and mirror works along with tie-and-dye,” says Sushma. Kutchi embroidery on Gajji, Gadwal and Jacquard silk saris are the other eye-catching varieties.

Khatla embroidery from Kutch which is done by stretching the fabric on a wooden frame is the main attraction. “Lots of mirror pieces and colourful beads are embroidered along with the threads. As kutch is a monotone landscape, people wore colourful clothes to compliment in the sepia dessert region,” explains Sushma.

If traditional crafts offer plenty of options, there is no dearth of modern clothes either. The expo offers a variety of men’s shirts and trousers, kurtis and short tops for women and an exciting range of silk and cotton stoles. If you are on the lookout for fashion accessories, terracotta jewellery, wooden, jute and acryclic jewellery come handy.

The cottonfab exhibition is on till December 25 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Gandhi Museum grounds.