Seema Haydon’s designs breathe life into the disappearing textile traditions of our country


One sari, many missions

Each sari designed by Seema Haydon has been given life by tribal artisans. Her hand woven matka silk sari, with minimalist mukaish and badla embroidery, makes a subtle statement. Her linen sari with kashida work, is elegant. Her brand Varastraa was launched in January 2018, and her creations stem from her principle of applying traditional art as embroidery on handwoven fabrics.

Varastraa saris are dyed in natural colours and embellishments are done by tribal artisans. As the colour palette for natural dye is limited, she enlivens her saris with traditional embroidery, and her block printing is also made with natural colour. “Our country has many embroidery styles, unique to every region; some of these are on the verge of extinction. My mission is to revive these art forms by collaborating with the artisans and thereby provide them a livelihood,” says Seema. Apart from embroidery, Seema also incorporates applique work and uses tie and dye and batik techniques.

The Mumbai-based fashion designer is organising her first solo show in the city to showcase her latest collections. “I have identified clusters of rural artists, predominantly women, in Bikaner who are masters in kashida embroidery; in Lucknow for mukaish work and also various tribal groups in Gujarat for Kutchi embroidery. I create the design for them and they work on the handwoven saris handed over to them,” says Seema.

Seema’s latest line is kanjeevarams with kalamkari work. “I source colourless kanjeevarams and collaborate with kalamkari artists from Kalahasti. Borders and pallav boast kalamkari designs,” she explains. She will bring six of these special edition saris (priced at ₹25,000) to the show. Her collection comprises mostly linen and matka silk.

“This being my first solo show, I am keen to interact with customers here and get an idea about their understanding of my work and also explain the underlying philosophy of Varastraa directly to them,” she adds.

Varastraa’s popup is on from November 13 to 17, at Samasta, Alwarpet, 10 am to 8 pm. For details, call 9731268005.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 8:55:20 PM |

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