handloom Fashion

The Tussar Festival, Chennai, will feature handloom house Kausheyam

Vinod Kabra has spent decades working with weavers across India.

In this time, he has seen children of weavers leave their skilled family business and move to bigger cities in search of greener pastures.

“This was the scene earlier. The children saw the older weavers being exploited. Despite working long hours, what were they earning? This prompted the younger generation to leave,” says Vinod who started Kausheyam, a label synonymous with weaves, artisanal printing on handwoven saris, and natural fabrics.

But with things improving in the handloom sector over the last seven years, Kabra has managed to convince a lot of youngsters, in the clusters he works with, to stay back and work with their families. “Now they are happy. The income is good and they get to work from home,” he says over a call from Hyderabad where Kausheyam is now located.

The Tussar Festival, Chennai, will feature handloom house Kausheyam

Over the coming weekend, the brand will showcase a collection of its tussar, and mercerised silk cotton saris at Silkworm Boutique in the city. Materials with ajrakh prints and kalamkari will be on display too.

The beginning

Vinod started working with looms in 1988 in Raigarh (now in Chattisgarh), when he launched MV Handlooms. Shortly, he had 100 looms in and around the State. By 2000, to gain exposure he relocated to Hyderabad. He works with clusters in Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Benaras, Chanderi, Srikakulam, and Maheshwari creating tussar blends, cotton blends, Benarasi cotton, khadi, and jamdani weaves. Kausheyam now has 450 looms across India.

There is a difference in fabric woven in different states, even if the yarn provided is the same, says Priyamvad Kabra who joined his father Vinod in 1998. “For example, a tussar from Bengal will feel different from a tussar woven in Chattisgarh, as the states have different warping process,” he says.

Experiments are always on with fibre and design and the weavers are ever ready to try something new, says Vinod. That explains the khadi shorts. “People can’t imagine shorts being made of handloom material,” says Priyamvad. “They need to understand that handloom fabrics are not something you wear just for weddings or festivals. That mindset needs to change.”

The Tussar Festival is on from November 19 to 21, at the Silkworm Boutique, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 6:19:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/weaves-of-change/article37537318.ece

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