Handloom bloom for desi youngsters

The handmade look is back with a bang and Indian designers show you how to flaunt these fabrics with elan.

When it comes to millennials, it’s hard to make them follow trends. Just when you thought handlooms were reserved for old people, millennials discovered the ‘woke’ factor about all-things-handmade and now it’s the biggest trend on and off the runway. We give you a lowdown from style gurus on how young India is fusing and flaunting handloom fabrics with their own twist.

By now most brands have understood that unlike their predecessors, the new generation doesn’t believe in following trends blindly and are super selective about what they choose to wear. Mohita Gujral, creative director of a brand, says, “Today’s globe-trotter needs something that is true to her traditional sensibilities while also fitting in with an international lifestyle and modern worldview. Brands are now focusing on creating silhouettes that are designed for the woman who is proud of her heritage, and undaunted in the face of challenges. Intelligently styling traditional silhouettes with western staples is the latest way to do it. For example, one can pair a traditional short handmade Angrakha style Anarkali with a pair of embroidered pants to nail the look.”

The original Indian wear as global wear is the latest trend that celebrates our crafts, fabrics, and prints in all kinds of apparels. The best thing about handlooms is that can easily be mixed and matched to get modern edgy global silhouettes. Designer duo Saaksha and Kinni explain, “For millennials, cool ethnic prints like the ikat, Patola and leheriya are statement worth when used on T-shirt’s, jackets and dresses. The bold Indian print on a modern western silhouette is the perfect blend of East and West. Even for officewear, one can pair an ikat printed shirt under a suit, while for a wedding occasion throw a cool hand embroidered, perfectly tailored blazer over a sari. For a festive occasion, pair a leheriya printed cape over jeans and a crop tee or go for a sari that can be paired with a collared shirt. One can also pair lehengas with blazers and kurtas with 3/4 cropped trousers to create a statement look.”

A rectangular piece of cloth, fresh off the loom was used, both by males or females in various ways and myriad drapes to tell the story of their land or tribe. The millennials just have to take cues from our roots and mix it up with what suits their personality the best, explains designer Nupur Saxena, creative head of a design brand. She says, “Indians love to dress up creatively, from celebrating indigenous crafts to utilizing the products from the looms – the next generation is quite aware of the cultural heritage. We are now seeing young girls paring a humble sari can with stylish crop tops, trousers, blazers, and even biker jackets. They are experimenting with different yet easy drapes to achieve a new look each time. They are also styling a lehenga with a vest or tunic to transition from one avatar to another.”

Instead of following the traditional style, the young fashionsists are teaming up two distinctly divided sections of a wardrobe to create really cool looks. Designer Mandeep Nagi feels that a little bit of fun or a cool element can be easily created by combinations of colours or use of accessories. She says, “In my collections, I try to add a touch of humor by adding details like small bug embroideries or contrast-hued buttons which I feel appeals to the young crowd. One can create playful looks by styling together Princess line kurtas with flared skirts or simply go for the print on print trend to make a statement. A deep neck textured kurta with a contrast-hued and printed skirt further adorned with chunky jewellery is ideal occasion wear according to me. Whereas a Phiran paired with classic boots and a contrast muffler and accessory can be a cool winter look. Replace dupattas with beautifully embroidered and dyed scarves this season to give a modern twist to the generic traditional look.”

The amalgamation of the old world charm with the contemporary twist is an interesting combination for millennials who love to embrace their ethnicity. Designer Samarjeet Kaur feels it’s always fascinating to pull out vintage ensembles and accessories from our mother’s or grandmother’s trunk to create new looks. The designer says, “Invest in a velvet embroidered blazers which can be teamed up with pants for unique power dressing. Try pairing a peplum top with lehenga or style velvet dupattas with trousers/jeans as an added accessory. Short jackets with ghagras also look very cool for festive occasions during winters.”

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