The day 2 of the symposium, being held as a part of the ongoing Textile Exhibition – “New Traditions: Influences & Inspirations in Indian Textiles 1947-2017” at Jawahar Kala Kendra , saw several interesting and thought-provoking panel discussions. Renowned fashion and textile designers as well as other stalwarts of the industry participated in these discussions.
Towards Histories of Post Independence Indian Textiles
This session saw the participation of Anthropologist and Educator, Ms. Aarti Kawlra; Textile & Fashion Designer, Creative Director – Abraham & Thakore, Mr. David Abraham and Founder Director, Craft Revival Trust, Ms. Ritu Sethi. The session looked at Indian textiles through the prism of fashion and highlighted recent trends such as dupattas being replaced by stoles and churidars being ditched for long kurtas and gowns.
David Abraham pointed out that how these days, old traditions are being re-designed and re-made to be useful to the present generations. For instance, wearing a sari with a t-shirt is a trend that is much in vogue and is being donned by a lot of people. Talking about the textile tradition of India, Abraham said that designers in the Indian ecosystem are incredibly privileged as they have access to an extremely rich resource base.
Revival and Contemporarisation
The second session included Artist & Natural Dye Expert-Mr Ajit Das, Founder, Anokhi- Ms Faith Singh and Textile Designer – Vriksh Ms Gunjan Jain on the panel and was moderated by Member, Crafts Revival Trust Ms Sharika Sharma.
It saw discussions on the evolution of Indian textiles with the traditional prints and fabrics being experimented with a new outlook and set a new style of Indian textiles. Founder of Anokhi , Ms. Faith Singh talked about the journey of Anokhi from making it a big name in urban Indian clothing and also about the patterns of demand in the clothing market. She also added that Anokhi is primarily about block printing and not just clothing.
Textile designer Ms Gunjan Jain talked about Ikkat of Odisha and how there is strong market link between the weavers and temples in Odisha which goes a long way in keeping this art alive.
Das shared the inspiration behind some of his pieces on display in the exhibition. Some of his other artworks were also shown in the discussion which received much applaud and appreciation from the audience.
The last panel day was ‘In Conversation’ in which Textile & Fashion Designer, Mr. Rajesh Pratap Singh and Editor, the Voice of Fashion, Ms. Shefalee Vasudev participated. In the session, Rajesh Pratap Singh, who hails from Jaipur, spoke about the influence of Rajasthan in his work. The designer shared that since he did not see Rajasthan from the eyes of a tourist, it is the ‘white shirt’ worn by men in villages that he was most impressed with.
Rajesh also shared his love for making jackets. On being asked about why he has stayed away from the bridal couture industry, he said that the women in his family always wore ‘saris’ and ‘poshak’ and thus he never understood ‘lehengas’.
The designer also threw light on the influence of hospitals in his life since he belonged to a family of doctors. His stores and fashion shows are often themed using objects of the hospitals such as strechers, injections, IV drips etc. Hospitals are pure and powerful space, added Singh.
It is to be recalled that the exhibition has been curated by Mayank Mansingh Kaul and designed by Reha Sodhi. The exhibition showcases artwork from over 50 artists and designers who have been dynamically influenced by cultural, political, social, economic and scientific conditions. It has been commissioned by JKK and will remain open to the public till 31 July from 11 am to 7 pm on all days except public holidays.