Draped Apparel: In our first blog in this series, we talked about the Indian tradition of wearing unstitched clothing from pre-Vedic times, possibly because applying a needle to cloth was believed to be polluting.

The Genesis of Draped Apparel in India

A kid in a langot, still worn in India by traditional wrestlers. Image Source: https://www.danielmalikyar.com/kushti-india/

Because of this belief, and probably because of the climate, India has always had a tradition of draped apparel, starting from the langot, a rectangular cloth worn as underwear.  Interestingly. I remember my grandfather still wore a langot until the 1960s, as I remember long strips of cloth drying on the washing line. 


Block Printed Ghaggra : Due to the increased flow of trade and immigrants to the Indian subcontinent, the first stitched garment in Indian women’s sartorial elegance started appearing as early as the eleventh century, and it was the Ghaggra(a gathered skirt) & Choli( a blouse). This practical and straightforward garment was appropriate for the standards of modesty prevalent at the time. Additionally, it allowed for easy movement during any day job. Before this, the unstitched saree was ubiquitous on the Indian subcontinent.  (more…)

Kalamkari: The ancient art of Hand Painting the Fabric with Thilak Reddy.

Thilak Reddy was introduced to us for the first time at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market, In spite of all of his talent and achievements, he is one of the most humble and hardworking people we have ever met. 

Thilak, 32, practices the art of hand printing the fabrics using a bamboo pen and natural dyes to achieve intricate designs. He lives with his sister and mother in Srikalahasti, that has an indelible history of India’s painted and printed cotton trade with the world. Read here.

He is a second generation Kalamkari artist after his father. Thilak started practicing this craft at a very young age and has now been working for over 20 years. After graduation, he lost his father. He had no option but to take over all his father’s projects to help put food on the table. (more…)

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