India is a land of weavers. Did you know that after agriculture, weaving is the largest occupation of Indians? No wonder then, every state in India has its own special weave which often even differs from town to town, village to village. Be it Kalamkari, Maheshwari silks, ikats or kanjiwarams… every weave is unique and priceless in its own way.
And yet, in spite of being one of the oldest and largest industries in our country, the condition of our weavers is pitiful. It’s getting better today, thanks to a lot of new age businesses and designers who’ve taken up the mandate to uplift and bring back relevance to the craft of these weavers, yet even now there is a long way to go. It’s about a shift in mindset… from people treating traditional weaves as simply ‘traditional’, to thinking of them as desirable and ‘glamourous’.
Purvi is one such business based out of Mumbai, which was founded to provide livelihood to the millions of struggling weavers and artisans, practicing their craft in the various handloom textile clusters across the country. It was started way back in 1993 by first generation entrepreneur, Mr. Chandrasekhar who visited hundreds of villages and had an opportunity to witness the making of these traditional textiles. Ever since, he’s been passionate about the weaving process and instantly fell in love with the idea of making this art accessible to the tasteful people of Bombay.
When I visited Purvi Handlooms, in Andheri a few weeks ago, I was stunned by the sheer expanse of their collection. They have fabrics, dupattas and sarees in Kalamkari and Block print, cotton fabrics, Ikat silk Dupattas, Ajrakh Dupattas with Gold tissue borders, linen sarees and dupattas, Mangalgiri fabrics, block print cotton and silk fabrics and so many more. The most amazing thing for me, though, was the innovation. The styles, patterns and colours aren’t the kinds that you find anywhere and everywhere. Purvi has a collection that is carefully curated to fit today’s contemporary aesthetics while still maintaining the purity and sanctity of the art form. They believe in sustainability because of which the weavers are treated well, paid fair wages and the dyes used are made from natural ingredients.
And the best part is, that I now no longer have to travel to Kolkata or Hyderabad to find the most stunning Ikats or Kalamkaris. I can just walk into Purvi handlooms in Andheri or visit their website (coming soon) and pick up the best. Even as a designer, Purvi handlooms gives me access to unique and authentic fabrics from all over India, under one roof, which is so inspiring.
Here I’ve draped two of my favorite pieces from their collection in a fusion twist.
I’ve draped an Ajrakh silk dupatta to look like a dress. I really loved the dupatta but I wanted to show off the entire print on the it, hence instead of using it like a dupatta where most of it would have been bunched up, I’ve draped it like a backless dress which going my the response to this look on my Instagram, I think looks quite stunning 😉
As you guys probably know, I love pitting my own twists on sarees. Here’s a gorgeous Maheshwari silk saree from Purvi handlooms, which I’ve draped on my denim shorts with a large, embroidered corset belt from designer Gunnu Sahni.
Visit Purvi Handlooms at Shop No.03, Tirupati Apartments, J.P Road, Seven Bunglows, Andheri West, Mumbai – 400061.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post and liked the looks that I’ve put together. Do follow me on Instagram @pinkpeppercorn_sonal.