Education

Weaving a success story

Leftover yarn collected from just one weaver family.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

I am an IT professional turned design enthusiast. My story as a designer began when I joined Pearl Academy to pursue Fashion Design. I was into sketching since childhood, but realised my talent only when a colleague pointed it out. So I decided to pursue my creative potential. The more I studied the various aspects of Fashion Design such as fabric pattern making, garment construction, Computer Aided Design (CAD), and the design process, the more I started appreciating art, craft, textiles, colours, weaves, and so on, around me. During the pandemic, when I was in my home town Sambalpur (Odisha), which is known for the Ikat textiles, I observed the weavers from the lens of my design education. With no formal education in design, they were producing mesmerising work and their process was extraordinary. I decided to pay a tribute to their craft by making it a part of my final graduation project at Pearl Academy.

Sustainability

During my final year, my mentor introduced me to a competition conducted by ArtsThread, a UK-based platform that helps young designers from all over the world to showcase their talent by uploading their portfolios. The theme was “Responsible Fashion Design Initiative” and it required designers to make a positive impact on future fashion systems by investigating products, practices, technology, techniques, and material that are ethical, have unique characteristics, and respect the planet and its inhabitants.

The final woven fabric.

The final woven fabric.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

My project concept aligned well with this competition. While creating the Ikat textile, the weavers use new cotton yarn and dye them in different colours. After weaving, many of these yarns are left in small quantities and never get utilised. My concept was to use the leftover yarns to create new fabric. The variety of yarns in terms of quantity and colours would mean that the final product would have unusual designs and patterns and help address two issues — use the leftover or waste yarn, and create an interesting variation of Ikat fabric without having to dye more yarns, thereby reducing the cost of cotton production, dyeing, and water usage.

I collected a huge amount of cotton yarns from just one weaver: Chandra Meher of Remunda village in Bargarh District of Odisha. With the waste yarn, he wove more than 13 metres of fabric, which I used to design garments. This further strengthened my conviction that this could help make fashion more sustainable. I used the Home Studio Kit that we had all been given so that we did not miss out on our practical work. This allowed me to create garment designs and conduct test fits the way I would have done in a lab. My entry turned out to be the winning one at the competition and I was the only one from India to have won this competition.

The writer is a student of the Postgraduate Diploma In Fashion Designing, Pearl Academy, Delhi


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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 2:29:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/how-an-indian-student-weaves-a-successful-design-story/article36871541.ece

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