Weaves brings some of the best handlooms from across the country under a single roof

The much-awaited Weaves exhibition is back. With Onam and Eid just around the corner, shopping for exclusive pieces of saris and material couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. The exhibition boasts close to 80 stalls of handlooms comprising classy Chanderi, Pochampally, light Kota doria and silks – the mulberry silk specials of Benares brocades, jamdanis, jamawars, printed crepes and the wild silks range of tussar, eri, muga and kosa. Old favourites like Ikat prints in cotton and silk, Gadwals, Pochampallys and Mangalagiris also feature at the sale.

A.V. Laxminarayana, manager of Weaves, says there’s a change in the choice of saris Kerala’s women buy now. “They know to keep their traditional tastes intact and choose accordingly. So it won’t be extremely modernistic.” The exhibition allows customers the rare opportunity to interact directly with the weavers or designers themselves, eliminating the presence of a middleman.

G. Sampath, owner of Iris Desires, based in Hyderabad, has been associated with Weaves from its initial days, their common motive being the revival of India’s rich handloom industry. The stall has hand painted Radha-Krishna, Kerala-inspired brass bell and Kathakali motifs on handloom salwar suits, designed by Sampath’s wife and her team of womoen. “We trained 20-30 underprivileged girls to paint so as to provide a livelihood for them,” says Sampath. The painted material, priced from Rs. 1,200 onwards seemed to grab quite a few eyeballs.

For Shruti, a designer from Pune, Thiruvananthapuram is a new experience. She was overwhelmed by the way her creations flew off the shelves in Kochi and Bangalore. It was customer demand that led to her designing saris. Earlier, she worked mainly with textures and prints on duppattas. “They are unique, exclusive pieces. There are no repeats,” she says. The Chakraborty couple, Sharmistha and Shantanu, from West Bengal, has showcased their range of Aadi work, batik prints, acid paintings, Kantha works and Matka silks priced from Rs. 1,200-6,000. The Silk Mark tags added to the guarantee of the fabric.

Saris sourced from Assam displayed intricately woven designs, which came with price tags of Rs. 9,000-13,000, some saris taking as long as nine months to complete. Jute silk saris with cut work pallus at Rs. 6,000 and above, hand-painted silks and embroidered suits are sure to entice those with a discerning eye for fashion. Whether you want to loosen those purse strings or simply admire the various traditions of Indian design, Weaves is definitely worth a visit. It is being held at Sri Moolam Club till August 15.

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