In the end sustainability is just a call to be kinder

worth its weight in gold

Legend has it that around 300 years ago at the behest of Balaramavarma, the then Maharaja of erstwhile Travancore, his Dalawa Ummini Thampi brought seven saliyar (weaver) families from Valliyoor in Thirunelveli district and Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district, both in Tamil Nadu, to Thiruvananthapuram. These weavers were commissioned to produce fine mundu neriyathu for the royal family. The tradition spread from these weavers in Saliyar street to the local weavers and slowly over the years the town established itself as one of the five main centres for weaving traditional Kerala handlooms after Kuthampully, Chendamangalam, Kasaragod and Kannur. The town was named Balaramapuram after the King who initiated these agro industrial plans in the city.

Little seems to have changed in the way the fabric has been woven over the years. Many of the weavers around Balaramapuram still use age old throw shuttle pit looms. Balaramapuram weavers produce some of the finest traditional Kerala kasavu fabrics and they have the unique distinction of having motifs and designs with an identical appearance on both sides of the fabric.

As a designer, I believe my design sensibility and outlook on fashion are strongly rooted in our clothing culture in Kerala. When contemporary fashion speaks of minimalism, organic clothing and sustainable fashion, little do we realise that these are design values that have been an intrinsic part of our fabrics and garments for centuries.

Tradition and fashion When the rest of India is known for colours and embroideries, traditional Kerala weaves in off white and gold stand apart. Unlike the rest of the country we have always shied away from unnecessary surface ornamentations and loud colours, opting instead for a stark minimalism long before minimalism was in vogue. The traditional Balaramapuram weave is no stranger to high fashion.

Internationally acclaimed designer Rahul Misra started his journey way back in 2006 with a collection that was solely made out of Balaramapuram weaves. Anka is another brand that has very successfully injected a much needed shot of energy into the replica louis vuitton handbags weaving communities of Balaramapuram over the past two years.

The Handloom Weavers Development Society (HWDS), established in 1989 in Balaramapuram, took the art of dyeing a step further and introduced Ayurveda medicinal dyes high quality designer replica handbags https://www.dolabuy.su/ , giving birth to Ayurvastra, a lesser known and under explored branch of handwoven wellness clothing. With the help of the Government of Japan and Government of India, the society established their Ayurvedic dye unit in 2004.

City based brands like Bodha experiment with these unique fabrics while international brands like Lecoanet Hemant have been promoting these weaves through their brand Ayurganic for over a decade now.

Considering fashion is inherently linked high quality replica handbags china to one’s sense of identity, what do all these mean to the modern Malayali? And when all has been said, and done, where does contemporary fashion and the modern Malayali meet? Is a Dior replica louis vuitton bags from china dress the only way to be chic? Do you have to spritz Chanel No 5 to be deemed desirable? Is it a monogrammed Louis Vuitton bag that completes your look? Or a trusty pair of Manolo Blahnik’s that might crown you the next Carrie Bradshaw?

Early 2013, when I was working for the Parisian couturier Jean Paul Gaultier, his 2013 Spring Haute Couture collection was themed after India. From fabrics to colours to embroideries, the show was a celebration of everything India. The show stoppers were three young Indian girls with their hair neatly tied up in pig tails, adorned with mogras and dressed in colourful South Indian pattu pavada. Imagine seeing that on the ramp for an haute couture show in Paris! More often than not, everything we need to go global is all around us and far too often we fail to appreciate our own rich traditions Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica before it’s too late.

The streets of Balaramapuram, for centuries the nerve centre of handloom sales in the capital city, are slowly falling silent, the welcoming noise of shuttles dashing across looms is a rarity these days and the nimble hands that once wove magic are getting old and weary.

The first show that I did at Lakm Fashion Week in 2015 featured experimental fabrics that were a contemporary take on our traditional weaves. They were woven by a weaver named Rathi in Balaramapuram. She no longer weaves. Poor wages, poor working conditions and health issues have forced Rathi and many other weavers like her to take a back seat and let go of their craft. As power loom rapidly takes over the local markets, the last bastion of the past might soon be laid waste to before our eyes and we might soon see an end to our hand weaving traditions if we do not find ways to sustain it.

The history of our weaves and clothing culture, alive due to weavers like Rathi high quality designer replica handbags , is one that needs retelling lest it be reduced to just stories for future generations. The Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags provenance of our fabrics and garments is invariably a story of our own selves and it can only be retold through revival and patronage, and for that to happen it is not just cheap replica handbags design that needs to be updated, consumption needs to be equally self aware and responsible to replica louis vuitton bags the society. If we replica designer handbags as consumers fail to support and nurture our local talents, we fail as a society in the upkeep of our crafts.

Balaramapuram weaves will always hold a very special place in the weaving lores of our community. From the ethereal paintings by Raja Ravi Varma to the costumes of Mohiniyattam dancers, rarely does a fabric integrate itself so deeply into a people’s identity. For the past few seasons, designers in and around Kerala have been working with different handloom societies and grassroots level artisan clusters across our state in an attempt to revive our weaves, to not only support the local artisans but also provide continued sustenance to our crafts.

The next time you shop, opt for a locally made sustainable product. Appreciation for local products ensures the 1:1 replica handbags longevity of these crafts. In the end sustainability is just a call to be kinder, slower, more ethical, less wasteful and socially responsible.

Dear reader,

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