Kshitij Jalori’s innovative experiments with Banarasi

The ‘preservationist’ on working with heritage weaves but giving them a contemporary update

July 19, 2019 07:14 pm | Updated 07:14 pm IST

The NIFT Delhi graduate is drawn to the looms of Banaras because “they are the most technically-advanced” and the weavers, adaptive. “I do a pashmina brocade with them, fusing the dupatta and the shawl. It’s still brocade, but with pashmina yarn,” says the 29-year-old.

A self-proclaimed ‘preservationist’, his Delhi-based brand’s first two collections — Coromandel Colony with its kadhwa technique (where each motif is woven separately) and chintz roots, and Gul Bulbul that used tanchoi, and was inspired by 13th century Persian artwork depicting the story of the bulbul and the rose — got him into Ensemble and Ogaan. Despite the heritage weaves he works with, Jalori’s silhouettes are distinct. “When I was in college, Emporio opened in Delhi, bringing with it brands like Gucci and Prada. I wondered why designer that made such wonderful, structured garments never used Indian fabrics,” he shares. So his cuts are contemporary, with straight, clean, fitted silhouettes. “If a Charlotte Le Bon came to India and wanted to pick up something in her style, this would be it,” he chuckles.

Social media is a big part of his marketing strategy, and while he may not have the budgets for full-fledged photo shoots at the moment, he does keep his followers engaged with a series of travelogues. A recent trip to Sri Lanka saw him shooting an iPhone series with a local girl in Galle, while on another trip to New York, he asked a Chinese girl he met on the metro to do a quick shoot on the street of the Big Apple. “Well-shot photos are important because today a customer is buying an image. These also help show how you can approach Indian fabrics in a global way,” he says. A brocade swimsuit (which you can’t swim in) was picked up by several clients just based on the photographs! Expect to see Jalori next at the Lakmé Fashion Week in August, when he will launch his new Art Deco line.

From ₹15,000 to ₹1.25 lakh. Follow the label on Instagram @kshitijjalori.

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