Of the multiple styles of weaving that have emerged over the centuries, one of the popular and much loved ones has been Ikat. But did you know Ikat is not unique to India and that it traces its origin to Indonesia? This traditional art of weaving first emerged in Indonesia, though weaving as an art is as ancient as the origin of civilisation.
Vinita Passary, Co-founder of the Hyderabad label, Translate, says her collection is timeless, classy and easy to team with several garments.
“This year, we have the colours of the spring in our collection, such as mango, peach and apricot, interplaying with classic neutrals like grey and off-white. Ideal for the season, this collection is minimal, timeless and offers effortless ease for the woman who is on the go. ‘Ease’ is the key element of Translate. Keeping it further versatile, we have a collection of palazzos and culottes to add to the relaxed silhouettes," she says.
Their latest summer collection ranges from tops and tunics of varied lengths, including cropped tops to long dresses, easy separates and wide legged trousers -- in short, clothing that is going to be popular this summer.
The collection comprises outfits that are lightweight, created out of easy-to-breathe fabrics, pastel colours, cuts and styles that are breezy and classic.
Ikat refers to not just the yarn, but also the technique of dyeing and the fabric. It basically involves resist dyeing (a traditional method of dyeing textiles with patterns) on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. Contemporary designers are now using Ikat fabrics to make dresses, top, kurtas, bags and an entire range of clothing and accessories. In India, Ikat weaving is popular in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
With the emergence of new technology and e-commerce websites offering hefty discounts, the traditional art of weaving has taken some beating over the past few decades. Since it’s a labour intensive and time consuming process, many younger people from the weaving communities across India have not taken it up from the older generation. As it is hand-made, the price points aren't the same as other clothing and fabrics found on e-commerce websites.
However, there are people who are promoting and supporting this traditional art like Translate- the apparel and home textile design company.
Translate is keeping the art alive through weaving, designing, manufacturing and retailing Ikat. Co-founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs Vinita and Vikas Passary and textile artist, Chandrashekhar, the brand has stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad and is available in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad too. The duo has also started the Anonym store in Mumbai that showcases unconventional artisanal clothing, accessories and home decor from designers “who have a distinct story to tell”.
Based in Hyderabad, Vinita has been working exclusively with the weaving clusters in Telangana. Trained weavers hand weave exclusively designed collections for Translate.
Given that it’s a long drawn process, from the time the team decides upon the pattern and colours and designs and by the time the woven fabric comes from the weavers there is a wait time of three to four months.
Since the weaving, the dyeing of the yarn and other processes are all done by hand, the colours aren’t what is expected. “Sometimes the fabric just leaves us in awe and at other times we have to work around the challenges which come with working with hand-dyed yarn and hand woven fabric. Once we receive the fabric we work around the designs and the collection. All textiles are treated with special dyes to make the garments wearable and skin-friendly. They are also pre-washed and softened to ensure they are very comfortable for everyday wear,” says Vinita.
Vinita says that though the younger generation doesn’t want to take up weaving as it is a labour intensive art, but with their continued association with the community, she has managed to make an impact. “It is all about awareness. When our young designers and customers see new variations and designs they figure out new ways of using the Ikat fabric and that increases the enquiries about the procurement and the weavers, and the demand for woven material,” she says.