Hyderabad: There are about 30 other hamlets near Pochampally where complex designs of Ikat are made. At the helm of the trade are young artisans infusing a new life to the ancient art by working with boutiques, fashion retail chains, and big companies in major cities in the country and through resellers to the US, […]
Hyderabad: There are about 30 other hamlets near Pochampally where complex designs of Ikat are made. At the helm of the trade are young artisans infusing a new life to the ancient art by working with boutiques, fashion retail chains, and big companies in major cities in the country and through resellers to the US, Europe, Australia, Africa, Australia, and Singapore.
Ikat is an ancient way of creating designs in fabric by resist-dyeing the threads before the fabric is woven. Weavers take the weft and tie strips of rubber tube onto the threads. The tightly tied areas of thread, when put into the dye pot, resist the color and create a pattern, once the ties are removed.
Edem Chandana of Koyyaladudem village in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri, in her first year BBA, is now a key link between weavers and businesses. Her father, Edem Srinath, won several awards, including one from Industries Minister KT Rama Rao, for his work. However, his death resulted in several weavers getting affected and Chandana took over the mantle between studies, she takes orders, indents for dyes, assigns work to weavers while keeping a tab on packing and dispatching the stocks.
“About 50 weavers are directly dependent on our family and I did not want the weaving tradition to die with him,” said Chandana, who wanted to pursue a related course in NIFT but the over Rs 25 lakh fee is beyond her means. She uses social media tools like Instagram, Facebook, and others to keep the buzz going and also to garner new orders via her brands Sri Veda Fab House and Srinath Fabrics.
Another youngster Kongari Venu Kumar, 26, has done his BTech (EEE) but preferred to stay at Ellambavi village to set up Sri Venu Tie and Dye Fabrics. A fourth-generation weaver, he is well-versed from the concept to delivery of the final product and employs about 20 people.
“We have realised that what we do is valuable art. But we need some direct and big orders. Some exposure to fashion and design will help us,” he said. Five members of the family are involved in various processes.
Venu makes sarees, dress material, sarees, double Ikat, and makes the fabric in 45 inches, 60 inches, and 90 inches width. “We have now added a 106-inch width which gives flexibility while tailoring,” said Venu, who also wishes to be part of a fashion school for further value creation.
Chalamala Mallikarjun, another young weaver from Valigonda, focuses on Telia Rumal.
“Ikat sells like hotcakes but weavers are not getting the right price. Many have switched to other jobs as they do not find keeping the tradition alive economically viable,” said Ujwala Pasla, co-founder of Heritage Weaves which fetched orders worth Rs 50 lakh a year before Covid hit the markets. “The last two years have been tough for the weavers as they disposed of stocks at cost or below the cost price,” she said.
Youth adore Ikat fabric but do not like the fits and cuts available now. “We are working to bring out designer wear made with Ikat for the youth. A fashion show is also being planned shortly to showcase the new-age products for the college and office goers,” she said.
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