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| Going Back In Time |

From when a girl child is born, some people have a practice, where the child is made to sleep on a “thottil” (cradle) that is tied using a silk saree. While the others, place a piece of silk cloth beneath the baby on an actual cradle.

When was the first time you wanted to drape a saree? 
3 year old or maybe, 5? 

Every girl child’s first saree is the mother’s dupatta that she wrapped around her and she thought she looked ravishing, but most importantly, she thought she looked like her mother. Let me tell you, we know how strong is the bond between a mother and daughter but the bond between a daughter and her mother’s saree is even stronger. I might even happily and without a doubt say, the bond between a girl and her saree has stories and memories attached to it, that makes the bond what it is.

From the first saree for school farewell to every saree we eyed on from our mother’s closet and impatiently waited to grow up to be clad in those six yards. I’m sure, we all have our share of nostalgia and emotions attached to every saree.

Living in the 21st century, we are in an era where fashion has grown tenfold and a person’s social status is valued by the number of brands they wear, but according to our culture and roots, back in the day, it was valued by the richness of the fabric they wore as only the people with a higher social status alone could afford a silk saree. There are various fabrics and a range of sarees being made, what makes that one saree special? Why do we need to preserve it, when we can buy new ones when this saree looks old or worn out? Here’s a secret, a saree can never look worn out if it’s of good quality. A saree is the only garment that never goes out of style and any pattern or design are always in vogue. While the new designs and patterns are being fancied by everyone, the old ones are treasured.


How to preserve a saree?

There are a few simple steps to preserve a silk saree, 

  • Change the folding of your saree every month or two months once so the creases do not weaken the fabric. 
  • Use an insect repellent powder to protect your saree from insects and bugs.
  • Sarees with a heavy zari work should be wrapped in a cloth and kept in the cupboard to prevent the colour of the zari from fading.
  • Storing a saree that has too much starch can also do a little damage to the saree, washing it once with cold water removes the excess starch.
  • Do not iron the saree as it will stretch the fabric and weaken it. Use only a steam iron to iron silk sarees. 
Finally, these sarees that were being passed on to the daughters and granddaughters are not just about the nuances of the threads and the colours or not even the family tradition, these sarees carry a lot of love and emotions attached to it, that has been passed on. Sometimes, only you know how you felt when you wore the saree for the first time, share that feeling with your heirs.

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|Your favorite 'T' word this fall : Trend and Tradition|

It's a breezy summer morning, where the wind smoothly touches the face, the birds are chirping and the sun is slowly out, we sit there and sip our coffee while listening to our morning music. While the reality is we wake up to an alarm and sometimes to the honks on the road, everything happens in the background, the music, the cooking, the packing and we are running to get ready.

Amidst all the chaos, we do not hesitate to spend more than ten minutes on what we wear, in other words, and millennial terms, outfit of the day. We live in a metropolitan city, where there are traffic and pollution, most importantly unpredictable weather. So, we are here to help you with our fall look book.

#1 Tussar Saree
The Tussar sarees are very easy to handle, has a touch of class and more importantly it stays in place for a long time as the fabric is soft and it stays in place till evening. It is a definite pick for anyone, be it a 9-5 job or a dancer or a singer, the classy Tussars are here to save your day.

#2 The Banrasi saree
The Banarasi sarees have its own kind of royalty and charm, the dark tone Banarasi sarees are here to steal the show. The fabric is adorned with designs that are inspired from the Mughals, It majorly has silver and golden zari brocades or paisley motifs. The saree is suitable for any wedding and is sure to give you that panache when you walk inside the room.

#3 Kani Sarees
The Kani Sarees are weaved and not embroidered, it is originally from Kashmir. The Kani sarees are made out of wool and hence they keep one warm. The Kani sarees have various colours that are running in the same weave. The Kani saree is a must-have in your wardrobe.

#4 The classy cotton Sarees
We have seen the weave of cotton improve over time, in terms of the colour combination, the motifs and the patterns. The cotton sarees are very affordable and being in a generation that does not want to repeat sarees, the cotton sarees sure help our wallets. The cotton sarees are everyday wear and one can lean towards it for daily use, as it is classy as well as comfortable. It is made to stand tight and also serves your purpose right.

#5 The Kanjivarams
The kanjivarams for fall, yes. As we know, the wedding season starts during the end of fall and we are all set to slay in vibrant sarees. The traditional kanjivarams are classic but the trend today is more towards and is more of the pastel shades.

Are you all set for fall with a unique set of sarees, let us know if this look book for fall is what you were looking for.

To a wardrobe, that talks about your personality.

Photo Credit: Southindiafashion.com

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|BLOOM|

THE EVERGREEN APPEAL OF FLORAL TEXTILES

One of the timeless, forever in trend motifs of the textile industry would be the floral category. The origin of floral motifs on textiles materialized centuries ago, which will be discussed further here.

Initially, women of the early ages used real flowers to decorate their clothing, as floral wreaths, brooches and bouquets, as they added a fragrant touch which personalized their look with a sublime scent.

 During the 12th century, in China, florals were implemented onto fabrics with embroidery technique. The very famous Peonies were a common inspiration and a symbol of juxtaposing wealth and honour. This was soon adapted to the Middle Eastern and other Asian countries, like Japan, transposed intricate floral embroidery on their authentic attire, the Kimonos.

Around the Middle Ages, European merchants saw a potential opportunity in importing textiles. Floral fabrics with motifs like Tulips were traded via Italy, who frequently used to trade with the Ottoman.

Then came the most celebrated Chintz fabric, a floral block printed cotton calico fabric produced in India, which was introduced to Europe in the 17th century. The manufacturing process was kept a secret for a long time, but soon it was decided by the British, and mass-produced at economic prices during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Textile production of floral fabrics grew exponentially in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, making floral prints accessible and affordable to all classes.

During the Mughal period, florals were seen not only on textile but on architecture as well. Inspired by the beautiful Mughal gardens, they started adapting the motifs onto the carved stone decorations at palaces, private homes and temples. It was also considered as a religious symbol. The centrality of flowers is considered as India’s authentic historical design feature.


Floral designs have been adapted and rendered in a million possible ways, and still, are being experimented in different connotations. Realistic adaptation is where the anatomy of the flower is sustained, giving it a more natural look. Stylized adaptation is when the flower experiments with varied take on its appearance. Designers have experimented the floral motifs in all shapes and form, and continue to have an affinity towards working with florals as they have a timeless appeal and a treasured classic. 

Tell us your thoughts on this beautiful category of motifs!

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|DEFINING WEAVES OF SOUTH INDIA|

| KASAVU | KERALA |

Popularly featured in Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings, women clad in a cotton and gold drape, also known as the famous Kasavu Sarees from the god’s own country, Kerala. When spices were being exchanged for gold, royals saw this as an opportunity to make use of the gold by weaving it into hand-woven saris. Historically, during the reign of Balaramavarma empire, in the 19th century, the Kasavu sarees flourished. “Shaaliyar” weavers community from Nagercoil were imported to Balaramapuram in Kovalam by Maharaja Balaramavarma and his minister Ummini Thampi as they saw an increase in demand for Kasavu saris. The composition of an original Kasavu sari has plain off-white un-dyed cotton with a pure gold zari border. The gold zari is kept soaked in water to soften the thread and to keep it tidy during the weaving process. 

TO CHECK THE AUTHENTICITY:

The real zari silk thread generally has a red core yarn, so if you remove a yarn at the end of the tassel and find it to be white, then it is not genuine Kasavu. Alternately, take a coin and rub the Kasavu part of the sari or mundu three or four times. If you find that the rubbed portion is a silver-grey colour, this means that the zari is real. Fakes will reveal black, greenish, blue or other colours.

| MYSORE SILK | KARNATAKA |

The growth of Mysore Silk Saris prospered during the reign of Tipu Sultan in 1785 AD. Maharaja Krishna Raj Wadiyar IV of Mysore opened the first silk factory in 1912 as he saw the humongous potential for machine-made Silk. This factory is now a government enterprise under the name of Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (KSIC) which exclusively produces Mysore Silk. Karnataka produces 70% of the country’s mulberry silk production, in regions like Channapatna, Ramanagaram, Kanakapura, Magadi in Bangalore and Kollegal in Mysore district. The beauty of a Mysore silk sari lies in the genuineness of the silk (100% fine silk) with pure gold zari (65% silver + 0.65% gold) giving the fabric a natural sheen and rich texture. It is usually produced in a single tone with a gold zari border in vibrant shades like orange, red, green, coffee brown, lilac, and elephant grey. The motifs generally used are paisley motifs, and floral borders in silk, Crepe silk, and Georgette.

TO CHECK THE AUTHENTICITY:

With every Mysore Silk sari, the following details will be embroidered in a corner: History of the sari; Details about its manufacturing; Hours spent on it; Wages received by the weaver.

| PAGAADU BANDHU | ANDHRA PRADESH |

The resist-dyed textiles from the region of Chirala, Andhra Pradesh were called the “Paagadu Bandhu”. Popularly known as Ikat, resist dyeing is a process of weaving where the yarns are dyed in patterns prior to weaving and the pattern emerges when the fabric is woven. Initially, it used to be a full-time activity for the entire family.  Koyalagudem and Chautupal regions specializes in Cotton and Silk yardages for furnishings and shirtings, whereas Pochampalli region specializes in silk saris of both single and double Ikat. The very famous Telia Rumal is done in Chirala, used as loincloth by fishermen in earlier times, was dyed in Madder and Alizarin Dye which was treated with oil to give a deeper shade. The patterns used were generally simple geometrics, multicoloured, stripes and chevrons. The weavers were also influenced by Gujarat’s Patola, Orissa Ikat, Japan and Guatemala by exporters and traders. The significant impetus to revival raised at the Festival of India Programmes (1982-1992).

TO CHECK THE AUTHENTICITY:

Ikat saris are easier to spot whether it is original or fake by checking the wrong side of the fabric, where the design is the same as the right side.

| KANJEEVARAM | TAMIL NADU |

The very famous Kanjeevaram saris are timeless marvels dating back to 400 years. Mythology states that Kanchi weavers are descendants of Sage Markanda, who was considered as the master weaver of the god's attire. During the reign of Krishna Devaraya from the Vijayanagar Empire, weaving communities of Andhra Pradesh, the Devangas and Saligars migrated to the town of Kanchipuram. Inspired from the nature and architecture of the Temple Town, the motifs consisted depiction of figurines, peacocks, yalli, rudraksh and annam, with a wide range of variations. The colour combinations include vibrant hues like Mango Yellow with Red, Peacock Blue, Red and Green, and so on. Kanchipuram silk sarees composition has pure mulberry silk which belongs to South India, and the pure gold and silver zari comes from Gujarat. The silk thread that is used to weave the saree is dipped in rice water and sun-dried before it is used in order to increase both, its thickness and stiffness.  Korvai, which translates to ‘coherent’ is an exclusive Kanjeevaram technique where the pallu, the border and the body of the saree are woven separately, and then interlocked together.

TO CHECK THE AUTHENTICITY:

Pure zari is made of red silk thread, that is then twisted with a silver thread and dipped in gold. If the zari thread white or any other colour, that isn't an original Kanjeevaram Saree. Another telltale would be the Silk Mark attached with every Kanjeevaram Silk Saree.

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| WOMEN OF VISION |

                                              ‘Don’t confuse having a career with having a life’
                                                                                                                              -Hillary Clinton    

This Women’s day, We happened to have a chat with four lively women who are mighty in their respective fields to talk about “Work-Life Balance”. We heard them talk as they told us about how passionate, dynamic and competent they have to be at work and how cheerful, empathetic and assertive at home to keep up with the expectations of the family. These women completely got out of their horizon to experience and learn while they still spread positivity and love.

We are pleased to have featured these four lovely women this women’s day!

Sports psychologist by profession, Keerthana is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, marathoner, cyclist and a passionate writer. The work-life balance came to her well in advance. However, priorities did not change even as she grew. Being a sports enthusiast, Keerthana went up to Loughborough to pursue sports psychology and started “Think.Train.Perform” that touches the lives of many athletes with little mental conditioning and more positive thoughts. She believes in prior time blocking for all her activities throughout the week, be it professional or personal. On a casual day at work, Keerthana sports a crisp cotton saree and says nothing can compete for the elegance and confidence that a saree can give and she absolutely loves wearing them. She measures success on how much effort she puts in and not the output she gets from it. She believes the right proportion of commitment to both personal and professional life is the key to a simpler life.

An entrepreneur, ardent foodie, an enthusiastic home chef and a passionate teacher. ‘Blessed’ as she calls herself, Kamalika, a techie by profession found her interest in food and baking and went ahead to pursue her career by picking a franchise of one of the largest bakery chains in Chennai. As she grew in her business, she spread her wings to add more value to her passion. According to Kamalika “work-life balance” can be achieved if the priorities are set both in your personal and professional life. She keeps it up to only two goals per day, she makes sure she gives her best in both. She goes by the belief that "time is in our sight and we are responsible”. Planning is the key to achieve any goal and she seems to be supreme in it. From cooking to clothing she plans it well in advance to have the week ahead fuss-free. She makes it a point to steal some quick spa sessions and weekend getaways amidst being a mother and an entrepreneur. She pulls off everything with zeal and a radiant smile.

Kaviya is a media professional, after years of work experience now heads her own film production company “Auraa Cinemas”. She is a movie buff, fitness enthusiast, full-time mommy and an avid traveller. What she thinks the best is, being able to manage all this despite her work. For her, dressing up is the stress buster and she is a hoarder of exquisite sarees. She feels saree is a fuss-free attire that she can just wear at any time be it ceremonial or casual. A typical day for Kaviya is juggling between movie discussions, budgeting and shooting spots, her little toddler accompanies her to work and having that own little personal space at work helps her achieve the work-life balance to some extent. She is learning and working towards a promising future both for her and her company.

Wan Shazia, photographer by profession found her love for makeup like every other girl and went to pursue her degree from London College of Make-up. She now does magic with her fingers under her brand “Make-up by Wan Shazia”. According to Wan, To really want to do something, one has to make time for it. Her profession is quite flexible and she can always find time to do what she wants and that pretty much balances her work and personal life. She believes that a woman has to stand strong on her grounds to achieve what she wants. Her life revolves around her work and creating what she loves is the right balance she gives herself.

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How to pull off a Kanjivaram Saree in your style!

Growing up, you must’ve come across your grandmom or mom effortlessly pulling off a Kanjivaram Pattu Saree and wondered how they go about selecting the colour, blouse, accessories, and to how they drape it for every occasion. Wearing a Kanjivaram Saree can be quite tricky, but when you do get it right, there’s no other outfit which makes you look as elegant and ravishing as a Kanjivaram Saree.

To start off, there are a few basic things you should keep in mind, which are:

Design
The kind of an occasion is directly reflected based on the intricacy of designs or grandeur of your look. Especially for Kanjivarams, as they are known for checks, stripes and nature-inspired motifs like flowers, leaves and fauna, traditional designs include “Annapakshi”, “Rudraksham”, and “Gopuram” which stand out more than other contemporary designs. Broad, heavily designed borders and Checks usually compliment tall and lean body frames.

Colour 
Kanjivaram Sarees come in all colour combinations nowadays but the traditional ones usually are bright yellows & reds, oranges & blues, greens and reds, etc with broad borders. Now while choosing a colour combination, one thing to keep in mind is that bright colours attracts the eye but also tend to make your silhouette more prominent. On the other hand, what you wear reflects your personality. So if you think you’re a happy go lucky person, don’t think twice with your bright yellows!

Blouse type
A saree and its blouse have to go hand in hand because a bad blouse can wreck the beauty of the saree as well. You can get experimental with your blouse pattern and the fabric but make sure it coordinates well with your saree too. There needs to be a balance in your entire look so, if you're wearing a broad bordered Kanjivaram, go simple on your blouse unless you’re going for an over-the-top or extravagant look for a wedding. Sleeve length- Anything below your elbow makes you look older and sophisticated, and shorter the sleeve is, more playful you appear. The contrast colour is known to be big hits, but the same colour adds a lot of class and elegance to your look.

Styling
Draping a Kanjivaram saree is comparatively trickier than draping a cotton saree as silk exhibits a few stiff properties. Decide if you want to go for the traditional south Indian style of draping or if you’d like to experiment with your drapes. One of the most common things which people tend to overlook is the constant dilemma to pin up your pleats, or colloquially known as ‘mundanai’, while you can let it loose, if you're conscious of your curves but on the flip side it tends to make you appear bulky which might work out for a skinnier body frame. Accessorize it with a bindi, heavy kajal-ed eyes, some good old traditional temple/antique jewellery from your grandma’s vanity, and mallipoo to complete the entire look!

Most importantly, wear your best accessory, your smile! 

Do let us know how you pulled off your Kanjivaram Saree by tagging us!

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Navaratri: Nine Shades, Nine Emotions, Nine Glorious Sarees

In the hustle and hurry of everyday life, a reason to celebrate feels like a breath of fresh air. It reminds us to slow down, spend time with our loved ones and celebrate our culture’s enriching heritage with friends and family. One such glorious reason that is right around the corner is the festival of Navaratri. As you gear up to celebrate the victory of good over evil, we’ve gone to great lengths to help you discover the freshest festive ideas for the wardrobe choices that you’ll be making to bring in joy and happiness, the whole of nine days. 

In the nine days of Navaratri, you will be celebrating the nine forms of the graceful and fiery Goddess Durga. Each of these nine days has an auspicious colour that encapsulates the essence of the festivities with excitement. If we have to pick a piece of clothing that holds enough character, grace, and comfort to honour the legendary goddess, it has to be none other than the timeless saree.

These nine days, as you visit and welcome your loved ones to commemorate Golu, we present you with suggestions for drapes that is bound to be all the more exuberant if in line with the colour of the day.

Cheery Yellow, Glorious Green and Graceful Grey
To mark the beginning of a grand Golu, there can’t be a saree more lustrous, simple and elegant than a yellow Soft silk. The simplicity of the silk coupled with the vibrancy of the yellow color is bound to give you a luminous glow. The second day, calls for a little more sheen in the form of a smooth, gliding and simply classy Tussar silk in a glorious Green shade. For the third day, a weave originating all the way from Andhra, Pochampally Ikat in graceful Grey is utmost ideal. If you’re planning to shop for a grey Pochampally, buy one with a red border that brings out the mellow quality of the grey colour, proving to be a feast to the eyes.                                                                                                                                                            

Upbeat Orange, Serene White, and Fiery Red
By the time the fourth day arrives, you are bound to be in the groove of the festivities. When you’re in the groove, why hold back? Unleash the Patan Queen in you by going for a bright Orange coloured Patola silk Sarees that tell stories of the Patan empire with the use of delicate motifs embedded in the contrasting borders of the saree.

Who said only wine-tasting requires a palate-cleanse? If there are a few things finer than wine, sarees top the list. That’s why after half-way through the Navaratri festivities, you need to go for a simple White Chanderi saree with a bold gold border. This saree keeps it simple and yet elegant, proving to be the perfect wardrobe palate cleanser after a few days of glowing grandeur.

If you ask us, we’ll say the term back with a bang was coined for the Red Banarasi saree which is what you should be wearing on the sixth day of Navaratri. If you choose to drape a red Banarasi with a statement gold necklace, you are bound to look like the reincarnation of the Rani Padmavati herself.

Blissful Blue, Ethereal Pink, and Bewildering Purple

Is a festival ever complete without a Kanjivaram pattu Saree? We don’t think so! On the seventh day, we suggest that you go for a Kanjivaram in Karu Neelam (Dark Blue), by doing so you will feel like Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s Kannama from his poem, ‘Suttum Vizhi’.

On the eighth day, feel like a part of the Royal family by going for the intricately beautiful Pink Raw silk saree, the richest saree in the Indian culture that is known for the kaleidoscopic effect it imposes on the naked eye.

A matchless Gadhwal Silk Saree in mysterious purple is perfect for the final day of Navaratri. The Brahmostsavas of Tirupati is incomplete without draping the idols in fine Gadhwal sarees, so you could never go wrong with a drape as fine and auspicious as this one.

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Drapes of Glory, Success & Undeterred Confidence

If sarees could tell stories, it would talk about the joy that little girls felt when they pretended to be grown-ups by simply draping their mother’s saree. It would also talk about the nervousness women feel as they get ready to tie the knot with the love of their lives. But most of all, these sarees would gleefully tell tales about successful women whose drapes seeped in the success they met with at the workplace. It doesn’t matter if the glorious woman sporting a saree wielded a ladle or a stethoscope, eventually, they all had one thing in common, their undying love affair with sarees.

 Dr. Sandhya Chandramohan - MBBS, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology
 Doctor Sandhya’s tryst with sarees began when she was just seventeen years old. To her a saree is more than just a piece of clothing, she says “Sarees are most definitely the ideal attire for the Indian climatic conditions. They not only provide optimal comfort but they are most hygienic too.” 

 The multifaceted doctor also believes that Sarees bring oodles of confidence to her personality “I’m into public service which means I garner the respect of people every day and I believe Sarees bring with it a sense of leadership and confidence. Whichever part of the world I am in, I would always choose to drape a saree for the respect it instils in people when they think of me.”

Roshini Mohan - Young Entrepreneur
When she was just fifteen years old, Roshini fell in love with dance and thus began her love affair with sarees too. From the moment she learned to strike her very first dance move to founding, Neelayadakshi, a collection of unique, handcrafted jewellery, she finds deep adoration for sarees, she unravels details about her favourite type of drapes “A starched cotton saree is my favourite. Trust me it's the easiest thing to wear when you are running the whole day. Pleat it, pin it and you are done for the day!”

Jayalakshmi Ravi - Business Woman
To Jayalakshmi Ravi, Saree is the reminder of her first step into the big and busy work sphere “I was eighteen years old when I wore my first saree. I began my first day of work at BPL and since then, I have always been in awe of sarees and the comfort they bring.”

She believes her saree is her armour “To me, saree is one of the foremost pieces of clothing that moves people to respect you. When you drape a saree an aura of respect follows you wherever you go. It inspires people to view you as an ambitious woman of bold personality.”

Pragathi Guruprasad - Musician
Pragathi believes that a pattu saree goes hand in hand with the mellifluous kirtis that she loves to sing “Traditional attire adds to the culture of what we are singing and the meaning of a lot of the kritis we sing. Carnatic music is such a traditional art form that wearing sarees, especially pattu sarees, makes the experience more meaningful.”

After our treasurable tete a tete with each of these successful women, we find that in some way, the sarees they lovingly drape stand for their beliefs. To them, a drape not only means comfort but confidence too. We salute these women and take immense inspiration from their unbreakable spirit.

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Dyeing: The Art Of Breathing Life Into A Saree

Dyeing is the art of breathing life into a saree. What a beautiful oxymoron it is. We keep coming across sarees for every occasion but seldom do we actually realize the tremendous amount of thought and work that has gone into it. Before a saree becomes worthy of your occasion, no matter how big or small, it goes through a long, intricate and extensive process. In this process, dyeing easily becomes the most important stage. Only at this stage will it be decided if the saree we work on will be worn by you to work or to your wedding. As we add colour to the wonderful fabric that will be yours someday, we can’t help but think about how each colour is a reflection of your emotion.

Now, most of us know the technical details of the dyeing process, don’t we? The fabric of choice is pre-washed, soaked in fixatives, boiled in dyes and finally left to dry naturally. But are we aware of the enchanting colour combinations and the deep-seated meanings that lie behind it?

If you look closely, you will discover the fact that Sarees for each occasion comes with a preset of colours. A wedding saree in all its glory will shine in bright colours indicating a bright future. A saree you wear to work on the other hand will be in neutral hues to keep you calm and focused. Just like this, each colour and the tints they’re paired with have a different story to tell. The person who could tell these stories at best would be the immensely talented craftsman through whose hands colours mingle to come alive as a masterpiece.

The craftsman doesn’t just pour his heart into a saree. Before deciding the colour palette of a particular saree, he visualizes your big day. With each dip into the boiling dye, he tries to capture the essence of your emotion. To him, the saree isn’t just a piece of fabric. It is a reflection of your state-of-mind. It is a mark of your individuality. They say true love will always find you in the end. But maybe this applies to sarees of versatile hues too. Maybe there will always be that one saree that captures the perfect shade of your personality, waiting to be worn just by you.

Most of all, one of the most moving aspects of the dyeing process is the manner in which it embraces people from all walks of life. It doesn’t differentiate between the rich and poor. Maybe you’ve spilt a drink all over your saree, or maybe you have a special affair coming up and you just don't have the budget for a new saree. The answer to both these problems is a humble round of dyeing. Through this mesmerizing process of soaking and seeping soulful colours, even accidents tend to become beautiful.

The endless possibilities that dyeing gives birth to has made us realize one thing. Dyeing and the million hands behind it make it possible for Sarees to have a life-cycle of their own. From being repurposed for the next generation to being preserved in new tinges, this wondrous process gives us all the more reasons to be intrigued and celebrate this culturally enriching, native craft.

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An Endearing Drape Worth A Thousand Memories

An Endearing Drape Worth A Thousand Memories

It is not often that you celebrate your bond with your beloved brothers/sisters. Siblings are one of the first companions you have in life. They’re your sounding boards, your harshest reality check, and your most trusted friend. Though your love for them is unconditional, you choose to be tough on them. You knock each other down and laugh before you help each other up, don’t you? But every year, life gives you a day to uninhibitedly celebrate the bond you share with your brother and sister. On Raksha Bandhan, small tiffs and endless teasing is exchanged for oodles of love and treasurable gifts. But this day also brings you to the puzzling question, ‘What should I gift my sister, this year?’ This year, the answer is a timeless, elegant and simply priceless Saree.

To a woman, a saree is so much more than a piece of clothing. From when she was little, your sister would’ve perfected her saree draping skills with her mother’s saree. In fact, her high-school farewell too turned out to be quite special as she showed up draped in an elegant saree she inherited from her mother. To her, a Saree is an elegant and endearing reminder of all the unforgettable moments in her life.

If you think about it, what are the Sarees you’ve seen your sister hold on to? Her collection will include her precious engagement saree, the one that reminds her of how nervous she was when she officially gave her heart to the man she loves. Then come the extremely intricate and unbelievably beautiful heirloom Sarees that take her on a walk down the memory lane, bringing about a wave of happiness, every time she drapes them. So, what could be more special than adding to this priceless collection of hers?

A Saree from you, her adored brother would not only be a token of love. It would be a means to preserve the love you share for her for eternities to come. When you chase your dreams and work towards making them come true, she would drape that saree you gifted her to celebrate your success with you. Someday in the foreseeable future, she would wrap that priceless saree in a whole lot of love as she passes it on to her daughter to keep close in your memory.

This Raksha Bandhan, are you ready to give the gift of a meaningful drape? A Saree whose thread count is also a count of all those dear memories that you have with her.

Just so you know, we’re here to help you discover the most exquisite saree for your sister. Here’s a curated collection https://tulsisilks.co.in/saree.html  of our best weaves that are truly worth a thousand memories.


Happy Raksha Bandhan, from us to you.

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Surreal and sublime

Supreetha’s wedding was a memorable event, replete with warm smiles, tears of joy, plenty of laughter, celebration, and boundless love. In all, it was an elegant day with countless memories in the midst of friends and family.

Speaking of elegant, the outfits worn by the couple definitely had a touch of elegance and a mark of class. Gold, cream and beige were the colours of the day with the bride, the groom and the bride’s parents opting for these tasteful tones. Let us look at some of the pictures from the dreamy wedding that captured everyone’s hearts.

The stars of the show: The newly-weds in their wedding best! We are delighted that they chose to wear outfits from our wedding collection. Don’t they make a charismatic couple, twinning in gold and beige? Best wishes to the lovely couple!!

Mother and bride: With her calm and composed demeanour, Supreetha’s mother shows that the mother of the bride does not have to be a bundle of nerves during her daughter’s wedding. Both mom and daughter strike a cool and confident pose, dressed in gorgeous silk sarees, complemented by stunning antique gold jewellery.

Supreetha looks like a million bucks, dressed in a Kanjivaram silk saree with a broad gold border. Floral thread work in different colours, running through the body, give a delightful touch to the traditional. With her mother too dressed in a beige Kanjivaram silk with gold border, together they make the perfect mother-daughter duo.

Supreetha and her parents have been our customers for a long time. They have always chosen Tulsi for all special occasions. It was a moment of joy and fulfilment for us when they chose to shop at our store for Supreetha's wedding.

Here comes the bride! After months of careful thought and meticulous planning in putting together the entire wedding trousseau, Supreetha is a picture of perfection and grace on her wedding day. She totally rocks the refined minimal look.

This is what the resplendent bride has to say about her wedding shopping experience at our store. “Your collection is simply beautiful and I liked everything. I didn’t know what to buy and what to leave out. In fact, I asked my mom to buy so many sarees for herself because I knew I could easily borrow them from her and wear them myself.” Thank you, Supreetha!  

Charming, confident and graceful, Supreetha personifies the quintessential modern Indian bride with a firm belief in her roots.

We wish Supreetha all the best as she embarks upon a beautiful journey in life.

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My most favourite fabric is definitely pattu

Singer Pragathi Guruprasad has a huge fascination for pattu sarees. This immensely talented Indian American singer, who sings both Carnatic and film music, believes being draped in silk sarees makes the Carnatic concert experience more meaningful, for both the artist and the audience.

Traditional attire adds to the culture of what we are singing and the meaning of a lot of the kritis we sing. Carnatic music is such a traditional art form that wearing sarees, especially pattu sarees, makes the experience more meaningful,” says 20-year-old Pragathi, who has been learning Carnatic music from the age of five.  

“When you are performing to such a large audience during the season, what you wear, the colours, styles, prints and fabric make such a big difference, because people are not only expecting a great musical performance but they also want to be visually excited,” elaborates Pragathi.

 Being brought up in Fremont, California, Pragathi did not get too many chances to wear sarees. And when she started wearing them, she heard stories about how uncomfortable they were. But she didn’t let this get to her. Over time, she learnt to be more comfortable with the six-yard garment. “I think a woman feels 100 times more beautiful in a saree than anything else. I have gotten used to it, wearing it during performances and functions, when I am constantly out and about. It was a little strange at first, but it gets more comfortable the more you wear it,” says Pragathi.

When asked about her first saree, Pragathi says, with a chuckle, “My first saree was a pattu saree that I had had my eyes on for many years, which I stole from my mom. It was a saree with purple and orange checks.”

 Pragathi shot to fame in 2012 when she finished the runner-up in the third season of the reality music competition Airtel Super Singer Junior. She has since then worked on the soundtracks of film albums composed by popular music directors like Anirudh Ravichander, Santosh Narayanan, Ghibran, and G. V. Prakash Kumar. Some of the movies in which she has worked are Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum, Rum, Paradesi and Theeran Adhikaram Ondru. Her independent releases on YouTube have collectively garnered more than 15 million views.

We wish Pragathi many more Carnatic concerts, movie albums, and, of course, pattu Sarees!

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Three cheers to the unsung hero in your life!

Three cheers to the unsung hero in your life!

The first Father’s Day was celebrated way back in 1908 as a service in a church in Fairmont, West Virginia as per a request by Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to honour all dads on her father’s birthday. Another lady, Mrs Sonora Dodd, popularised it in the US and now it is a big phenomenon all over the world.

The paternal bond is a unique one. It is strong, firm, supportive, encouraging and many times unvoiced and unspoken about. Here are some tender and loving moments all of us have had with our fathers. Let us remember them and thank the strong silent man in our lives.

He gives the best view of life from his shoulders
As a child, wasn’t it wonderful to sit on dad’s strong shoulders and get a broad view of the world? Thanks to him, you got a vantage seat in the world.

Your best coach and mentor
The father is learned and wise. He teaches, coaches and tutors you. Remember the first time you kicked the ball high and your father was there to cheer you? Or the first time you appeared on stage and he was there in the front row, swelling with pride? Your father helped you battle your nervousness when you were trying to balance the bicycle or trying a secret recipe for the first time. Priceless moments, aren’t these?

A friend who’s available 24x7
Many times, he was and is still a great friend you can go to with all your problems because he has been through it all. He is not judgemental, does not patronise you, and definitely does not sermonise. He gives such great friendly tips that you can never forget.

He gives shape to your dreams, along with grit and determination
“Of course, you can get that A+, you have it in you!” he said and you went for it. He gives shape to your dreams and gifts you with grit and determination to achieve the impossible. With your father around, nothing can hold you back from aiming for the winning post.

Gives joy and deserves joy
“Go ahead, have a good time but be careful,” dad always says this, doesn’t he? Be it an adventurous trek, a high bungee jump or scuba diving in the deep sea. He wants you to do all the things that he has never done. He is the man who stands by you when you want to do all the cool and fun stuff.
So, be thankful for this rock-solid man who has given you the best time of your life and will continue to be your mentor, guru, trainer, teacher, advisor and your friend for life.

This Father’s Day makes him feel special. Get him special dosas from the restaurant he loves to frequent or watch his favourite movie with him. Or gift him a traditional look with a crisp and comfy dhoti.

Do check out special dhotis from our all-new dhoti collection, which we have just introduced.
Please check https://www.instagram.com/p/BkAVsmsFWLy/

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Don’t play safe, mix it up!

Gone are the days when a silk saree was paired up with a silk blouse of the same kind and a cotton saree was worn with a plain 2x2 blouse in a shade that came closest to the colour of the saree or its border. You also no longer have to depend on the extra cloth that came with the saree to stitch a blouse.

Today, it is all about playing around with fabrics and creating edgy combinations that bring out your creative best. The choice of fabrics depends on the occasion, the mood you are in, and the overall feel and flow of the saree.

Here are some of the fabric options you can choose from to give your blouse great verve and style.

Cotton
Who says cotton gives a staid, starchy look? Not if you let your creative juices flow freely and fashion your blouse stylishly.

When it comes to fabrics for summer, cotton is the ultimate choice for its super-absorbent quality. And it is not meant for cotton sarees alone. Cotton blouses with block prints, Chikankari, Ikat patterns and Kalamkari designs are the rage today and they are worn with silk and silk-cotton sarees too.

Deviate from the safe path and pair up a patterned blouse with a patterned saree. Try out a cotton Kalamkari blouse with a muted Kantha silk saree or a block printed blouse with a kota silk saree. The possibilities are endless.

Silk
Opt for handwoven raw silk, Tussar or Chanderi silk blouses for designer sarees and traditional weaves for weddings, festivals and special occasions. Jazz it up with elaborate patches, embroidery or zardozi work for a grand appearance. Pair up a Mysore crepe saree with printed silk or Bandhani silk blouse for a vibrant and ethnic touch.

Have you tried a resplendent brocade Banarasi blouse with a traditional Kanjivaram? Go for it, if you haven’t already! How about blouses in tissue fabrics with a vintage pattu saree? That would be totally stunning, don’t you think?

Blended fabrics
Silk-cotton blouses are great for any kind of saree worn for formal events and simple occasions. You could notch up the glamour quotient with an elaborate tie-back tassel (latkan). Jute-cotton and linen-cotton are ideal for daily wear for their lightness and breathability and can be worn with cotton and soft silk sarees.

Fancy fabrics
Georgette, chiffon and crepe are in vogue today for they are light, fashionable, luminous and easy to carry. They are often teamed up with designer sarees and fancy sarees for cocktail parties and gala events. An embroidered or stone-studded georgette blouse will give your ensemble sheen and sparkle.
While a chiffon blouse can set you apart with its modern silhouette.

Today, young women are trying out Western blouses and cropped tops for traditional sarees. These fabrics blend well to such contrasting, unconventional styles.

You can also bring together different fabrics in a single blouse for a killer, bling look. For instance, you could attach netted sleeves to a crepe blouse or go for a bold netted back. Or add lace to a monochrome blouse in georgette or chiffon for a glamorous feel.

Whatever fabric you choose to don, do it with confidence and panache. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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Women of Essence - 2

We present to you the stories of six accomplished women who are achievers in their own right. They are quintessential Indian women with a global outlook and a remarkable ability to shine in whatever they do. The common thread connecting them is their love for handloom sarees.

These dazzling divas graciously agreed to pose in our creations for summer. This is the second part of our Women of Essence series that began last month.

Seeking the power of stories
A corporate lawyer, an avid quizzer and a history buff, Atulaa is constantly seeking things and experiences that tell compelling stories—be it art, music or cultural relics. No wonder she sees ‘stories’ in sarees too! Atulaa says sarees are “human stories in a woven form”. The saree is her go-to choice for power dressing. To her, the saree is a versatile outfit for formal events, dinners, family engagements and even a night out with friends.

Super talented and all-embracing
An HR and sales professional, a fitness enthusiast, a hands-on mother, a fashionista, and a wannabe chef. That’s Latha for you—a multifaceted personality who dreams big and achieves them too! She is a runner, jogger and marathoner, who can sometimes be laid back and lazy. Latha is also a spiritual and religious person. And what do you think is her first choice of attire? No prizes for guessing! Yes, it’s definitely the all-in-one saree, which goes well with her striking persona.

Desi love
Indie is an Ayurveda physician, an entrepreneur, a DIY enthusiast, and a mother of an active toddler. Despite her busy schedule, Indie is always game for draping sarees of all weaves, textures and colours. She believes the saree is one garment that goes beyond age, body types, and skin tones and becomes one with the person draping it. She also feels it is the epitome of sustainable fashion. Her dream is to own at least one saree in every weave from across the country.

Aesthetically inclined
Padma Venka sees God and beauty all around her, in whatever she does—whether she is painting, playing the veena or travelling. Of course, she also sees the beauty in sarees. She connects with them with her body and spirit. Padma attributes her passion for handloom sarees to her mother’s genes, which were passed on to her. “The sari is not just a drape... it’s a matter of dignity, a style statement,” explains Padma, a happy and contented wife, mother and grandmother.

On the go
Revathi is the embodiment of the modern Indian woman: confident, successful, independent, traditional, well-travelled and well-dressed. As the global head of a division at a multinational technology and consulting company, Revathi is always bustling around. Sarees give her the extra edge and stride in her professional life. Revathi’s vote is for traditional handwoven weaves. Her love for handloom sarees goes hand in hand with her love for beaded accessories, which she makes herself. Revathi is also an avid musician and a passionate gardener. Above all, she is extremely positive, a trait that helps her stay on top always, whatever she chooses to do!

Tasting true success
From the pen to the pastry, Sruthi Nakul has tasted success all the way. Sruthi is a professional journalist and a passionate baker, whose love for baking started during her teen years, inspired by Nigella Lawson. It took her to Le Cordon Bleu in London where she learnt the fine art of baking pastries. After working for a few years, Sruthi found her true calling in her own venture—Sweetooth Fairy, which whips up yummy baked goods for children and adults alike, including vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free items. She has also anchored a food and travel TV show called Oorum Unavum. Sruthi’s choices in life are a reminder to everyone to explore their passion and experience it to the fullest. Apart from baking, Sruthi is also passionate about sarees, which give her the opportunity to express her personality and zeal.

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Four tips to maintain your silk sarees

Four tips to maintain your silk sarees
Silk sarees are usually bought for memorable occasions and are often associated with memories and sentiments. Given how precious they are, you must maintain them well for them to last long and give you everlasting happiness. Contrary to popular belief, silk sarees are not that hard or expensive to maintain. We will tell you how.

Wash gently
It is not always possible to dry clean silk sarees, due to time constraints or the effort required to make a trip to the dry cleaners. The good news is that you can wash silk sarees at home. Plain water will do! Avoid soap for at least a couple of washes when the saree is new. After a couple of washes, rinse your saree with a mild protein shampoo mixed in plain water. This will keep the sheen and shine of the saree intact.

You can also use soap nut for washing silk sarees because it is known to preserves the softness and lustre of silks. Another tip is to use one-fourth cup of white vinegar in one gallon of water and rinse off the vinegar well.

Avoid harsh chemicals. And do not soak the saree in water for long.

Also, never wring, brush, beat or twist your saree. Avoid drying it in sunlight. If possible, towel-dry the saree so that the water gets drained out quickly.

Store smartly
Never store a silk saree along with other fabric sarees. If possible, wrap it in muslin cloth and keep it separately to avoid friction with other fabrics, which will damage the silk, leading to tears. Never use a brush to remove dust particles from a silk saree.

Every few months, remove the saree and change the fold so that it does not get frayed along the folds. It is a good idea to fold the saree with the embroidery/zari inside and not expose it to external elements.

Use silica gel bags to absorb extra moisture so that there is no fungal growth on the sarees.

Act on stains immediately
Dry cleaning of sarees is good for removing stains but do it as soon as you stain the saree.The petrol used in dry cleaning removes hard and dark stains easily. Sometimes, protein shampoos also help in removing stains from sarees. Oil and ghee stains can be removed by sprinkling talcum powder and washing with a mild detergent and plain cold water. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and NH2 is also good for removing stains.

Iron with care
Use low heat while ironing silk sarees. If the wrinkles don’t get straightened out, then cover the saree with a fine muslin cloth and iron with high heat. Steam iron is best suited for silk sarees . Also keep changing the crease of the saree every now and then to keep your saree from getting a permanent fold mark.

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Know your prints

A mosaic of colours, patterns and designs that seem to flow seamlessly and co-exist peacefully. Yet nothing about it is predictable, passive or typical. Exclusive, vibrant and diverse. That’s Indian textiles for you—a rich tapestry of distinct prints in myriad hues and nature-inspired themes.

Our country is home to several textile printing styles, each representing the cultural nuances of the region it is from. Let us look at the origin of some of the major textile prints in India, what makes them so magical, and their relevance today.

Kalamkari
This is a very ancient Indian art form, said to be about 3,000 years old. There are two main styles of kalamkari art done in Andhra Pradesh: Srikalahasti style (hand painting using a pen) and Machilipatnam style (block printing). Tamilnadu too has a form of Kalamkari, done in Sickinaikenpet (in Thanjavur district). It is done using a stick wound with thread dipped in dye.

The artists use natural dyes (from cow dung, seeds, plants and crushed flowers), which give the fabric an earthy charm. The chief colours used in kalamkari are red, yellow, blue and black to represent motifs such as animals, birds, flowers and paisleys, deities and scenes from Hindu epics and mythological stories.

Bagru
This is a centuries-old indigenous all-natural technique of hand-block printing done using natural colours by the Chippas community in Bagru, once a sleepy village on the Jaipur-Ajmer road in Rajasthan. In this style, motifs are transferred onto a coloured background with wooden blocks using direct or resist (hiding the print from the dye) style. 

No printing technique is as eco-friendly as Bagru—the base cloth is treated with multani mitti and soaked in turmeric, natural agents such as alum, pomegranate rinds, dry flowers, turmeric, indigo and madder root are used to dye the fabric.

Bagru printing is usually done on a blue/indigo background. The Bagru prints are large with bold lines. The motifs used are simple and elegant, geometric patterns and nature-inspired designs like flowers, birds, tendril and trellises.

Sanganer
This printing technique flourished between the 16th and 17th century. It is said that constant clashes with the Mughals and Marathas led several craftsmen to migrate from Gujarat to Rajasthan. The craft form finally found firm footing in Sanganer, a small town in the Dhundhar region of Rajasthan. Known for its original designs, it was one of the primary items of export for the East India Company.

Sanganer block printing is done over off-white or white background using wooden blocks or screen printers. It is known for its intricate floral patterns with fine detailing. Roses, rosettes, sunflowers, lotuses, lilies and marigolds are the commonly used motifs.

Bagh
This form of textile printing is done in Bagh, Madhya Pradesh. The printing form can be traced to the community of Muslim Khatris who ventured from Larkana in Sind to Marwadi Thar and Manawar in Madhya Pradesh, before settling down in Bagh.

In this elaborate technique, the cloth (silk or cotton) is treated with a blend of corroded iron filings, alum and alizarin. Once the printing is done, the fabric is washed repeatedly in the river and sun-dried to get the desired lustre. The traditional motifs of Bagh include the Nandana mango, the tendu plant, mung ki phali, leheria, and phool buta motifs.

Ajrak
The Ajrak tradition can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation (2500 BC-1500 BC). The word ‘ajrak’ comes from the Arabic kaword ‘azrak’, meaning blue, which is the main colour in this style of printing. The craft form is a Sindhi tradition practised by the Khatri community on the banks of the river Sindh. These families migrated to Kutch in the 16th century.

Ajrak printing is a time-consuming process in which the fabric is printed with a resist paste and dyed. It is repeated several times with different dyes to get the desired deep crimson red and indigo blue tones in symmetrical web-like jaal and other patterns. The whole process can take up to two weeks!

Modern uses 
Though they are several centuries old, these traditional printed fabrics have found relevance in the modern age. For instance, kalamkari is now done on silk and cotton fabrics for a range of products such as sarees, salwar kurtas, wall décor, home furnishing, bags and purses. While Sanganer, Bagh and Bagru prints have made their way into scarves, stoles, skirts and dresses. Bedsheets, lampshades, curtains and upholstery are the other applications of these printed fabrics.

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Mum’s the word

We all love our mothers. That’s a given. But how often do we express it? How often do we tell her how amazing she is? Well, in the race that our life has turned out to be, we tend to forget to appreciate and value the presence of our mother.

 Let’s not defend ourselves saying she doesn’t expect us to say or do anything and she knows it herself. While that’s true, she does deserve to hear it from us, now and then. 

No, We are not going to reinforce any stereotype here or wax eloquent over the ‘sacrifices’ mothers make. Each mother is different and we are not going to put her in a little box with airtight definitions and outdated labels.

But we will definitely say she deserves all the love and understanding she can get from her family and loved ones—whether she is a working mother, a hands-on mom, a mompreneur or a stay-at-home mother, whether she is a multi-tasking soccer mom, a mother who is struggling to hold it together, a chilled-out mother or a strict one!

For those of us who have let years run by without pausing, remember it’s never too late to show our love to our mother. Maybe we could wash her car, make her breakfast in bed or take her out for dinner. How about gifting her a nice silk saree, the one she has been eyeing at the store window for a long time? Or a surprise party with all the things she loves?

Lest you think this is one of those blogs that suggests ‘five ideas to show your mother how much she means to you’ or ‘six fancy destinations you can take your mother to’, we will stop right here and tell you just this—let’s do whatever it takes to make her smile, now and forever!

To make your mother feel special, this Mother'sDay, check our soft silk collection https://www.tulsisilks.co.in/category/soft-silk

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the supermoms out there! You rock our world!

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Wearing sarees is a way of life for me

Dr. Uma Ram, a leading obstetrician and gynaecologist in Chennai, is no stranger to the saree. With an enviable collection of sarees, some as old 23 years, one can call her a true saree patron, who grew up appreciating the intricacies of the six-yard weave. So, it comes as no surprise when she says wearing sarees is a way of life for her.

“My grandparents and aunts had such lovely silks, this was something I grew up appreciating… Culturally, it’s what we have always worn. I am very comfortable in it,” says Dr. Uma, in a free-wheeling interview to Tulsi Silks.

Excerpts from the interview…

How would you describe your love for sarees?
I enjoy wearing sarees, I appreciate the work, effort and artistry that go into making a saree. When we were in school, things were a little different from how they are now. I don’t know if young girls today have the same excitement about wearing a saree for the first time. When we were in school, it was a big deal to wear a saree. I remember choosing the saree for the school photograph; it was a given that we would all wear a saree when we completed school. My grandparents and aunts had such lovely silks, this was something that I kind of grew up appreciating. I don’t know if there was a specific point in time when the fascination for the saree started. It was a way of life, really.

Do you remember the first couple of sarees you wore?
I think the first saree I ever got was a gift from a distant relative who had come from Canada. I was only 14 years old. It was a pale blue and black synthetic saree. I remember wearing it much later. Then I remember buying a saree for my brother’s poonal. I still have it because I love the colours and it goes with the sentiment.

What about your first few sarees from Tulsi?
The first saree I bought from Tulsi was for my thalai Deepavali. I think that was the year the store started. Subsequently, for the valaikappu, I got the traditional black saree. A Baluchera silk in black with orange, I still wear it, though it is nearly 23 years old. As with other things, the early sarees are usually bought for an occasion. So there are memories and stories with them. For these reasons, you keep them even if the silk has worn a little thin.  

What does saree wearing mean to you? Why do you wear a saree to work?
Why not? Why should one not wear a saree to work? It is our dress. Culturally, it’s what we have always worn. I am very comfortable with it. I am far more comfortable in it than I am in a pair of trousers, even if it that is convenient. The saree is professional, it’s smart. You can’t go wrong with it. I wear sarees to work on a regular basis, about 95 per cent of the time.

To answer your question in a different way, when you are much younger and you are starting off, especially as a doctor, especially as an obstetrician, you have to deal with families who are coming to you many times to have a baby. They know you are young and in the early years of practice. So, a saree tends to give you that little bit of seriousness and makes you a little bit more professional, if I may say so.

The saree is something I can get in and out of in a few minutes, to be honest. Many of my juniors ask me how I do that so quickly. If you have done if so often, you can do it quickly. I don’t see it as being an effort. Most of us at workwear sarees. Quite a few of my juniors wear sarees, a lot of the time. In fact, a couple of people have commented that it’s nice to see all of us in sarees at the clinic. 

What is the trend you see today?
Back then, wearing sarees wasn’t so uncommon. Today, I see a change. Some of the younger doctors are not that comfortable wearing a saree. They need an occasion to wear it. The saree is looked at as a dress you will wear for an occasion rather than an everyday dress. That’s a shift, which is just changing as it happens.

Would you tell the younger generation to start appreciating the art and realise the value of the saree?
If someone is not comfortable working in a particular dress, then you can’t force them to change the way they are. A lot of this change has come from the corporate world because it is considered the done thing to wear Western clothing when you make presentations. There is a certain culture that has come in. It is considered more chic to be in Western clothing.

I don’t know if it is good or bad but I think it is important to reflect on what that change would do to the weaving industry. If we were to buy sarees only for occasions, then most people will not be buying a certain line of sarees (day to day wear). And that will have its impact on the people who are making them. I would be more concerned about this impact than whether the change is good or bad.

Often, the contribution of the weavers goes unnoticed. So, when we read out the letters from patrons, the weavers were elated. What are your thoughts on this?
I think it’s very important that their work is appreciated. When I wear a nice saree and I am complimented for the saree, most of the credit should go to the weaver, right? But I don’t know if we actually think about this at that point in time. So, giving feedback would be a good thing.

Many times, when we buy a saree, we are not aware of the intricacies of the weaving or the technique that has gone into it, which may be the reason why we don’t appreciate it. We know there is somebody sitting on the loom and weaving the saree, but we don’t know what effort it takes to merge the colours or get the pattern right. Even a regular saree wearer wonders why a saree is so pricey and may not buy it because of this. But if a portion of the price genuinely goes to the person who has created it, then it’s a meaningful exercise. This is a point to pause and think about.

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Women of Essence - 1

We brought together fifteen accomplished women for a fun-filled photo session to weave a striking story that captures their passion and zest for life. The common thread that connects these beautiful women, who are achievers in their own right, is their love for handloom sarees and ethnic weaves.

They are quintessentially Indian women with a global outlook. The choices they make in their career and lifestyle, the clothes they wear, and the opinions and beliefs they hold reflect the power of the modern Indian women and their ability to shine in whatever they do.

We now, present to you six of these dazzling divas, who graciously agreed to pose in our creations for this summer.

Bundle of energy
Kripa is a bundle of energy with equal accomplishments in arts and academics. A budding lawyer, she has represented India at various law competitions at the international level. Kripa is currently in Vienna, representing the country at the prestigious MOOT court. She is also a prolific Bharatanatyam dancer, who started learning dance at the age of 14. When she drapes the six-yard wonder, she represents the very epitome of the current generation of Indian women: progressive with strong roots.

Donning many hats
Boundless is the word that best describes Samathmika, who excels in several fields, as a teacher, educator, instructional designer, author, and a career coach. She is passionate about music, dance, interior design and painting. She loves all things simple and natural. She’s an animal lover, an advocate of a vegan lifestyle, and an ardent fan of handwoven and handmade fabrics. She currently lives in Salt Lake City in the US.

An avial of all things Indian
‘Love’ and ‘care’ are the words that come to mind when you meet Sara Premkumar. She is a culinary expert who runs Avial, a meal delivery business, in Chennai. Avial serves sumptuous homemade meals made from the finest ingredients from her garden-cum-mango orchard, which she has nurtured for many years. From chanting slokas to collecting traditional Indian art and handlooms, Sara loves all things Indian.

Music, Kanjivarams, terrace gardening and books!
Unique and striking... that’s Sujatha for you. These are the very qualities that she loves in her kanjivaram sarees. And she is quite a collector, with an enviable collection of exclusive Kanjivarams and handlooms in stunning hues. Sujatha, who lives in Chennai, is also a huge bibliophile, a music connoisseur, and a culinary whiz. She is working on a project called ‘Temple to Terrace’ wherein she grows vegetables on the terrace and cooks them.

Looking good and feeling good
Chennai-based Meera Mehta is an educator, a yoga expert and a motivational speaker. She’s also a mentor who loves working with underprivileged children and young adults. Yoga is not only her passion but is also raison d'etre!

Versatile and vivacious
Meghana Krishnan, a Bharatanatyam dancer and a saree lover, loves experimenting with new weaves and textures, amply aided by her mother’s passion for the garment and her vast collection. She believes the right outfit can make all the difference. And that’s why she’s picky about her sarees, be it the traditional six-yards version or the dance saree for her Bharatanatyam recitals. “Once you have mastered the art of draping the saree, the sky is your limit,” says this confident young woman from Chennai.

Check out this space for our next blog where we present the other Women of Essence.

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Threads of Toda art

If we captured all of India’s traditional tribal embroidery styles on quilted fabric, the result would be a spectacular tapestry of colours, patterns, designs and materials. Each tribal embroidery type is highly nuanced and distinctive, representing the quintessential characteristics of the tribe it belongs to. Despite the growth of modern textiles and westernisation, these art forms have been carefully preserved by the tribal communities of our country.

Let us look at one such unique tribal embroidery style—Toda embroidery, which continues to enchant fabric designers, textile lovers, connoisseurs and collectors alike. This exclusive centuries-old thread-work is practised by the women of the Toda tribe, who inhabit the Nilgiris region in Tamil Nadu.

Tracing the tradition
The Todas are said to belong to the pastoral community. Apart from being herdsmen and farmers involved in small-time cultivation in grasslands, the tribal folks are also deeply engaged in the tradition of making handicrafts, which include embroidered shawls and cloaks and silver jewellery.

In Toda language, the embroidery tradition is called ‘pukhoor’, which means ‘flower’. The tribal people use local terms like ‘kuty’ and ‘awtty’ (which mean ‘stitching’) and ‘kutyvoy’ (the embroidered piece) to describe the embroidery style. Traditionally, Toda embroidery was done on shawls (called poothukuli), which were worn by both men and women.

A nuanced art form
This embroidery is created using woollen threads in black, red, and sometimes blue on unbleached white cotton. The base material is handwoven in single width and the embroidery is done over it by counting threads.

On one end of the shawl, three stripes are woven—one black and two red; the embroidery is then done on these stripes. Then the two lengths of the fabric are sewn together. Wide red and black band are woven at the end of the poothukuli. Embroidery is done in between the bands to form a stunning ‘pallu’. The same pattern can be recreated on a saree too.

The embroidery is cleverly and deftly done in such a manner that both sides of the embroidered fabric are neat and usable. The cloth has a rich, embossed surface after the embroidery is done.

The Toda women create beautiful designs by practice, without tracing the pattern or referring to any book. They count with their fingers and do not use any embroidery frame.

Today, apart from shawls, the tribal women do embroidery on other products like bags, cushion covers, bed covers, purses, table cloth, runners, kurtas and stoles for the discerning customers.

Common designs
The tribal women consider their work as a tribute to nature. This explains why their designs usually symbolise concepts from nature and the daily cycle of life, celestial bodies like the sun and the moon, and motifs from the animal kingdom like reptiles, horns of buffaloes and rabbit ears. Geometric designs are also commonly seen in Toda embroidery. Another familiar design in Toda embroidery is black triangles in a boxed type of design.

There are different designs for different occasions. The embroidery done for happy and grave occasions (like weddings, festivals and funerals) is very elaborate. Earlier, vegetable fibre was used as thread. Nowadays, embroidery threads are used.

Keeping the art form alive
In an effort to bolster the ancient tribal community, the inimitable Toda embroidery style was given the GI tag in the year 2013. It is estimated that, out of a total population of 1,600, only 300-400 Toda women practise the embroidery style. In the past few years, the apex body, Tribal Cooperative Marketing

Development Federation of India has been facilitating training programmes to preserve the art form for generations to come.

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From design to drape

How is the silk saree you cherish made? From designing to weaving, it’s a captivating creative journey that combines the best of two worlds: technology and tradition.


Ideation:
The process starts with knowledge sharing and brainstorming to come up with the best design. Every minute detail of the design is discussed thoroughly, inch by inch: what are the motifs on the saree, how much portion of the saree will be taken up by the motifs, what are the colours to be used etc.

The rough sketch then takes shape and goes through a series of steps, in which experts lend their touch to perfect the design. Utmost care is given to avoid errors.

Hand Draft:
The motif is graphed on a checkered sheet. Half the design is drawn on it. The various threads used in the pattern (zari, silk) are demarcated with different colours. Plotting the design on a graph paper gives the weaver a very clear idea of the threads involved in the weaving process. The graph paper usually has large boxes that facilitate easy understanding of the design.

Perforated Cards:
The motifs and patterns are then transferred onto cardboard cards. Using the graph as a reference, holes are punched along the outline of the design on the cards. These cards guide the weaver through the process of breathing life into the design. They help the weaver understand which colour thread has to pass through which card and when. Even for a small design, hundreds of punched cards are needed! 

Designs of the loom:
These perforated cards are then placed in the loom, which already has the warp and weft in place. Once the weaving starts, the designs appear accordingly. The right coloured threads go in and come out of the punched holes, according to the pattern. Once the saree is finished, one can see the entire design.

The weaving journey:
 It starts with the winding of yarn on a warp beam. The silk yarn is turned into warp sheets by rolling the yarn with an iron rod. The warp sheet is then transferred onto a beam. The yarn strands pass through reeds and healds. Each strand is joined with the old warp thread manually. The joining process is followed by weaving on a raised fly shuttle pit loom, wherein the silk threads of the weft and warp are interlocked. The woven cloth is wound around the wooden beam. After weaving six metres of the weft, the unwoven warp is knotted to form the fringes. The unwoven stands are cut out. Then the saree is folded in a traditional manner before being sent to the stores. It takes about 4-5 days to weave a saree; some sarees take longer.

Kanjivaram silk sarees are woven from pure mulberry silk thread. The body and border are woven separately and then interlaced together (korvai). Three shuttles are used to weave the timeless Korvai kanjivaram silk. The joint is so strongly woven that even if the saree tears, the border will not detach itself. The border colour is usually in contrast to the body colour. If the pallu is in a different shade, it is woven separately and then joined carefully to the saree. This special interlinking weave is known as ‘pitni.’ The place where the body meets the pallu has a zig-zag line.

Finally, after several days of intense ideation and painstaking labour, the stunning work of art is ready to be draped.

                                                                                                                                        


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Swathed in festive spirit

When you think of Indian festivals, many vibrant words come to the mind. Words like ‘happy celebrations’, ‘grand feasting’, ‘sparkling festivities’ and of course ‘decking up’.

Speaking of ‘decking up’, can you imagine Indian festivals without the sparkle of sarees? Sarees are a colourful showcase of Indian tradition and culture and have been an integral part of our festivals since time immemorial. They bring out the unique flavour and spirit of each festival, be it Diwali, Id, Navaratri or Christmas.

Let us look at how sarees lend a touch of grandeur and cheery vibes to different festivals in the country.

Dazzling Diwali
Of course, sweets and lights are a big part of Diwali! But the festival of lights is also about radiant kanjivarams in South India and heavily worked Benarasis in the North. People never miss buying new outfits during this festival. In India, Diwali shopping is often a frenzied family affair, especially so for the women in the family, as they strive to buy the perfect saree that they will always cherish. Apart from traditional silk, trendy silk-cotton, light tussar and dreamy linen sarees are also in vogue these days.

The power of colour
Navratri is a festival that celebrates stree shakti or the power of the woman. This festival is a tribute to Goddess Durga. Each day has a colour associated with it. Red, royal blue, pink, yellow, green, grey, orange, purple and white is worn on different days to celebrate the nine forms of the goddess. So, women bring out their best sarees in these colours to connect with the different forms of Durga and her various powers such as beauty, valour, serenity and grace. In Kolkata, the traditional white-and-red saree is symbolic of the vibrant festival.

Traditional drapes
Ganesh Chaturti and Gowri habba are traditional festivals associated with rituals and prayers. On these days, women generally like to wear their wedding sarees or the traditional sarees of the region. So, in Maharashtra you see women in the nav vari saree (nine yards), in Karnataka, women wear silk sarees in turmeric yellow or green, while in Andhra Pradesh it is white or cream saree.

Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala, celebrated with colourful floral decorations, cultural and sports events, and the famous sadya (feast). During this festival, women wear the traditional kasavu saree in resplendent white and gold, as it is considered auspicious for the occasion. Nowadays, the kasavu saree is being teamed up with designer blouses in contrasting colours to add a peppy effect to the traditional ensemble.

Pongal is yet another traditional festival, which connects people with nature. On this happy occasion, the women of Tamil Nadu wear colourful sarees and half sarees to offer their gratitude to the sun god. This is the best time to bring out Kanjivarams with traditional motifs and checked Chettinad cotton to be one with the flavour and fervour of the season and region, across four days of celebrations.

Xmas spirit
Christmas is a festival associated with white, red and green. In India, it is not uncommon to see women wearing chic party-wear sarees in these Christmassy colours. Sarees in chiffon, crepe and satin, embellished with lace and sequins, are just right for the Christmas party in office or celebrations with friends and family.

Graceful looks
Eid is the festival of everlasting happiness and feasting. Women in India bring out their best silks and satins for this festival. In the North, Benarasi saree with zari buttas or satin saree with zardosi work are the preferred choice, while in the South women vote for traditional silk sarees with embroidery or gold border.

Sarees and festivals make a potent combination, don’t they?

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Say hello to summer with these cool hues

Every summer, we see creams and pastels out in their full glory. Let’s add more hues to the colour spectrum this summer, shall we?

Stay cool and cheerful this season with these trending new colours.

Purple rain
It’s raining all shades and hues of purple and violet this year. Soft Mangalgiri and Chanderi cotton and silk cotton sarees and Tussar silks in light lilac and lush lavender are among the top picks of the season. So are chiffons and crepes in these charming colours.

Cosmopolitan pink
Pink is pretty and perky, no second thoughts about this. It is a versatile colour that comes in both bright shades and soothing hues. So, paint the town pink with dresses in sheer fabric like lace or sarees in light materials like linen for an effect that is absolutely suave and impeccable.       

Minty blue
Stay as fresh as mint during the sizzling summer days with minty shades of blue. Teal, sea blue and light turquoise in crepe, silk and chiffon are sure to lend a touch of elegance and an air of tranquillity to the wearer.

Creamy green
How about soft cotton, linens and crepes in fresh green (we are talking of the shade of lettuce and cucumber)? Opt for prints and checks in a combination of white and crispy green to exude an unruffled, breezy look.

Earthy mocha
Mocha and beige is a terrific combination for evening wear on sultry days. Long flowing outfits and sarees in mocha and beige will definitely give you a down-to-earth and classy look.

Pulsating colours
Shake off the lethargy of summer and come alive with fiery red, vivid yellow and vibrant orange. Yes, it is a bold palette, but it will give your wardrobe the much-needed bright spin. Choose canary yellow for non-stop compliments, cherry red for a cheery effect or dazzling orange to make a grand entry into a party.

Graceful grey
If you thought grey is drab, think again. Grey can present an alluring proposition when combined with pastel pink, sage green, cobalt blue or tangy yellow. Soft grey Kanjivaram sarees with a contrast border will add a touch of spark to your summer wardrobe. Brides with summer weddings can choose these smart and offbeat combinations for their trousseau.

Winsome white
Of course, white is the timeless choice for summers, wherever in the world you are, whatever occasion it is. Soft white cotton dresses, sarees, blouses and pants are a must-have in your summer wardrobe. Try a classic all-white look or combine white with any other colour to attain the perfect calming effect you so desire.

So, go ahead and bring out your summer spirit with these zesty colours! 

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Tracing Our Handloom Heritage

                                                              Baft Hawa, Shabnam, Ahrawan.

Poetic words, aren’t they? What do they mean? Woven air, morning dew and running water!

These were the words said to have been used by the poets of the Mughal durbar to describe the fineness of the Indian muslin. Well, not only the muslin, but other varieties of Indian handlooms too have won the hearts of many since time immemorial.

Ancient Indian handlooms were known for their rich techniques, fine thread count, exclusive motifs, vibrant colours, intricate detailing and elaborate workmanship. Explorer Marco Polo compared the finesse of Indian fabrics to the delicate weave of the spider’s web. It is said that the hand-printed textiles of Masulipatnam were so perfectly hued that they appeared like a fine embroidery. Roman emperors treasured Indian cotton, while muslin was greatly admired in Babylon. Even today, Indian handlooms, be it cotton or silk, are much sought after by people around the world.

From the Ikats of Orissa and the Kanjivarams of Tamil Nadu to Ilkal in Karnataka and Muga in Assam, our country is home to an enviable array of handloom fabrics and weaving techniques that are perhaps as ancient as our civilisation itself.

History of handlooms

Traditional handloom weaving is one of the oldest family-based industries in our country. The history of handlooms and handwoven fabrics in India dates as far back as the Indus Valley Civilisation. Excavations in Mohenjodaro led to the discovery of spindles and terracotta spindle whorls, which proved that early inhabitants of the civilisation knew to grow cotton, spin and weave. They also seemed to know the art of madder dyeing Manjistha) as is evident from the fragment of madder dyed cotton woven into a coarse plain weave.

Weaving skills and spinning materials also find mention in Rig Veda, Ramayana and  Mahabharata. In fact, spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques were said to be advanced during the Vedic period. The Vedas and Puranas talk about the exquisite fabrics worn by the gods, goddesses, royalty and common people too.

The cotton spinners and weavers of Kashi have been spoken about in Buddhist literature. It is believed that the fabric made by them was so fine that even oil couldn’t penetrate the cloth! Cotton cloth made in Kashi was used to wrap the body of the Buddha when he attained nirvana.

Silk was considered a symbol of royalty in ancient India and used in religious rituals and ceremonies. There are references to tied-and-dyed and multi-coloured silk fabrics (similar to Patolas of Gujarat) in Buddhist texts. The first Indian silk was spun around 1725 BC from the cocoons of Tussah, Eri and Muga moths.
A story goes that Alexander the Great was so captivated by our weaving skills that he took back with him some of the fine Indian silk.

Rise, fall and revival

Handlooms flourished during the rule of the Pathan rulers and the Mughal emperors. Towards the end of the 18th century, with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, there was a period of decline. Later, the famines of the 19th century, the British raj, and the world wars adversely affected the Indian handloom sector. But the period of British supremacy in India gave rise to the handspun khadi movement in the country. The post-independence period saw government thrust in the form of policy changes and cooperative societies to revive the age-old weaving clusters of the country.

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Refresh your summer wardrobe with these cool options

Summer is the time to stay super cool and comfortable! Sounds impossible? Not really, not when you have an array of wonderful natural fabrics to choose from.

Cotton is the indisputable leader
There is no better bet than cotton to beat the hot and sultry days. This is primarily because it is made from natural fibres, and therefore absorbs sweat well, breathes easily and cools well. No wonder that handloom Cotton sarees and cotton outfits are everybody’s summer staple!

From mul, Jamdhani muslin and Bengal cotton to Mangalgiri, Kota and Pochampally, our country have a wide variety of cotton fabrics in soothing colours and earthy tones. Today, there are also many organic cotton clothing options, which are chemical-free, environmentally friendly and good on the skin.

Unflappable in linen
Made from the fibre of the flax plant, this fabric is an increasingly popular choice among new-gen women. Although linen tends to wrinkle easily, it makes up with its casual elegance and convenience. It can also be easily ironed.                                                           
Apart from pastel shades, linen sarees today come in a whole range of bright and beautiful colours, embroidery and embellishments. And when linen is mixed with silk yarn, the result is even more stunning. So, bring alive the summer evenings with the best of linens and linen silks!

Sizzle in silk
This soft, natural fabric helps you stay cool and look elegant too. Light soft silk and tussar silk weaves in pastel shades and muted tones are perfect for evening wear. Also take your pick from light kanjivarams, Chanderi, kota silk, and printed silks with Kalamkari and Ajrakh motifs.

Make it light with silk-cotton
Cotton combined with silk is the most alluring combination for day-time wear during warm days, as it gives the double benefits of lightness and breathability. In fact, silk-cottons are very commonly seen during weddings in South India during the scorching summer months.

Stay calm with khadi
Up your cultural quotient with khadi this summer. This fabric is light,  easy to wear and keeps you cool. Although khadi fabric has a coarse appearance, Indian designers have worked around it to make it look trendy and fashionable. There is something about khaddar that helps you find your inner zen. So, cool off in handspun khadi or wear it to work, the choice is yours!

Chiffons and crepes
If you are willing to shell out a little more, look at sarees in chiffons and crepes. They are really soft and easy to drape and provide oodles of comfort and style.

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What’s trending this wedding season?

Bright red? Auspicious green? Or pretty peach-and-cream? Timeless silk or shimmering satin? If you are a bride-to-be, it’s hard to make a pick from the mind-boggling array of choices out there.

But don’t worry, we have made the task a tad easier for you. Here are our recommendations based on what’s trending this wedding season, which will help you put together the perfect ensemble that will make you look gorgeous on your D-day.

Colour palette
Depending on the region you are from, there are some must-have colours (maroon, green, turmeric yellow, crimson red and white) in a bride’s trousseau. Stick to these colours for traditional events rituals like the muhurtam, engagement, church wedding or nikaah. Red with a hint of pink and gold, deep violet, royal blue and indigo are great choices for nalangu and oonjal ceremonies. Play around with other colours for events like the sangeet, mehendi or reception. After all, Indian weddings spill over two to three days and there is always scope for more colours and more flaunting!

We believe 2018 is the year of subdued elegance. So, hues like pale pink, pastel green, cream, rose gold and light violet are all set to rule the wedding season. Royal gold is also a favourite for sarees, while lehengas in lavender, wine and orchid, embellished with silver embroidery or zari work in shades of copper or gold, are elegant choices that won’t let you down.

You may also try a pale pink Kanjivaram saree with an elaborate zari border to win over guests at the wedding with your refined taste. If you are in the mood for something more striking, opt for neon shades of pink, green and orange.

Fun with fabrics
Modern-day weddings are not restrictive in terms of fabricsThese days, brides are going beyond traditional silks and experimenting with fabrics and fabric blends. We suggest you take your pick from Kanjivaram, Uppada, Paithani, Patola, Banarasi or Dhaka silk for traditional dos and look at fabrics like organza, velvet and chiffon for occasions like mehendi and sangeet.

Fine lace sarees that were a big hit in the 1970s are making a comeback today. These make exquisite fabrics for pre-wedding events and cocktail parties.
 
Luxurious linens, alluring tussars and sizzling satin with intricate embroidery, cutwork, unique borders and other embellishments too are irresistible options for the bride seeking a dreamy result.

Designs and motifs
Traditional motifs like mangoes, lotus, peacock and swan are used in most Kanjivaram wedding sarees. These timeless classics are popular even today. Bright checks, stripes and temple borders are also in vogue, not only in heavy Kanjivarams but also in cotton-silks and soft silk sarees. Chequered border and pallu, partly pallu, huge borders horizontally dividing the saree into half, rising borders, and plain silks with a dazzling gold pallu are some of the other design trends to watch out for.

Accessorise right
For traditional sarees, trust in gold, diamonds and precious stones that match the colour of the saree. Kundan is the top draw of this season for designer wear and lehengas, while antique temple jewellery strikes the right ethnic note with Kanjivarams. Deck up in chokers and chunky anklets, paired with heavy kangan (wristwear) and stone-studded bangles. Or keep everything else subtle and opt for an elaborate head-dressing—with a chandbali maang tika (head ornament), plaited hair with embellishments and bun pins with semi-precious stones. Don’t forget the season’s favourite fashion statement—those delightful nose rings. The choices are aplenty—from over-sized hoops and traditional gold nath to pearl-encrusted rings with chain and charming vintage rings. For the evening reception, carry coordinated clutches or sequined potlis and you are good to go!

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Drawing inspiration from nature

Be it the stars that adorn the skies, the leaves that deck up the trees, or the swirls of the waves that lash the shore, there is a pattern in everything that surrounds us. This is not limited to nature, as several man-made creations of art and architecture are adorned with intricate motifs, patterns and designs, generously drawing inspiration from nature.                                               
In India, the motifs are seen on old paintings, textiles and architecture give a peek into the lives and times of the ancient era and the socio-cultural influences the country was exposed to. They reflect the traditions and customs of people and their reverence for nature (as seen in the wide use of birds, animals, fruits and flowers). Many of the ancient motifs survived the vagaries of time and became a prominent part of Indian art and textiles in the post-colonial period.                                                                                    
Let’s look at some of the prevalent motifs in our country, between 1950 and 1990, employed across various media. While some of the motifs (like mango, peacock and elephant) have not lost favour till date, some of them are making a strong comeback today, after a small hiatus.

Peacock pride: The peacock is a symbol of wealth, beauty and royalty. In India, the national bird has always found a place of prestige and pride. The peacock motif adorned the garments of kings and queen and the jewellery and paintings of the 15th century. Later, the decorative peacock motif began to be used widely in Kanjivaram and Banarasi sarees-on zari and brocade borders, embroidered pallus, and on the body too. The motif continues to win the hearts of Kanjivaram lovers even today.

Mango muse: The mango is one of the most common motifs in jewellery and fabrics, including the Kanjivaram sarees, Lucknowi chikankari and Kashmiri shawls. This droplet-shaped paisley pattern of Persian and Indian origin is considered a symbol of good fortune and prosperity. The charming maankai motif is used in many ways on the Kanjivaram silk sarees-as a series of tiny mangoes along the border or bold mango prints/embroidery on the body or the pallu.

Temple tradition: Kanjivaram sarees with rising temple border were hugely popular in the seventies and eighties, lending a touch of grace, tradition and divinity to the wearer. Tall temple borders are witnessing a revival today (on both silk and cotton sarees), thanks to their geometric beauty and aesthetic appeal.

Mythical Yali: Yali is a fierce-looking mythical creature found on many ancient south Indian sculptures and temple entrances and pillars. The legendary creature is usually portrayed with a lion’s body and head, an elephant’s trunk and tusks, and the tail of a serpent. The yali motif was used widely in Indian art and textiles, especially the Kanjivaram silk sarees.

Sacred cow: The sacred cow represents abundance, selfless giving and prosperity. In Indian mythology, Kamadhenu is considered the mother of all cows and the bovine goddess of plenty. Nandi, the male species, served as the mount and gana of Lord Shiva. Large monolithic statues of Nandi are found in many Shiva temples across the country. Though not as popular as the peacock or elephant, motifs of the cow and bull are used in Chanderi silk, Banarasi silk, and Kanjivaram.

Horsepower: The major depictions include the horse motif on the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka, the equestrian portraits of Mughal emperors, and the sculptures of the steed at the Horse Court in the Srirangam temple. During the Mughal and British period, the Baluchari sarees of Bengal carried patterns of nawabs driving horse carriages. In contemporary times, royal horse motifs are found in Kanjivaram silk sarees, Kalamkari fabrics and block-printed textiles from Rajasthan (Sanganeri and Barmer).

Elephant: The elephant is revered as a symbol of power and intelligence and worshipped in the form of Lord Ganesha. The animal with a congenial face is a prominent feature of temple pillars and sculptures. The Yaanai Yaali and Vanasinghram motifs have been used often in Kanjivarams for several decades, especially on sarees worn for wedding rituals.

Serene swan: The hamsa is yet another iconic motif from ancient times. It has occurred in sculptural reliefs and mural paintings of the Gupta period (seen in the Ajanta caves). The vahana (vehicle) of Goddess Saraswati, the hamsa is a symbol of spirituality and peace the motif was commonly used in textiles and sarees.

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Journeying towards a promising future!

25 years! It certainly feels good to say this.

As we stand at the threshold of the future, looking forward to the next 25 and beyond, we are filled with a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude.

Of course, we have a new story to write and we are not going to rest on our past laurels. But we do want to pause for a moment and look back at the memorable journey that helped us build a solid foundation and led us thus far.

It all started in 1993 when we stepped into the saree retail scene in the textile hub of Chennai. The market was competitive and the challenges were aplenty. But we were not daunted by the task ahead, as we set about carving a unique niche, with an accent on providing customer delight, quality and exclusivity. From being an exclusive store for Kanjivaram silk sarees, we grew over the years to become a destination store for a wide variety of sarees such as tussar, linen , cotton , raw silk, soft silk , banarasiikat and many more.
 
Our trip down memory lane takes us to our old store in Alwarpet, Chennai, opposite the Hanuman temple (incidentally, the temple is where our founder came up with the name ‘Tulsi’, as he saw the sacred leaves that stood for everything he believed his brand should stand for).

 This store was our home for 20 long years and this is where we honed our skills, shaped our values and vision, and fine-tuned our service. The hard work and efforts we put in at this  store steered our natural progression into our current store in Chennai

From a single-floor store to a larger, more spacious showroom across three floors (besides exclusive space for our admin and design teams), we have indeed come a long way. When we started out in 1993, we had around 40 staff members. Now our family has grown into nearly 100 people. We say ‘family’ because that’s what we are, in every sense of the term. 

Beyond numbers, we have grown intrinsically too. Our beliefs of quality and customer delight have grown stronger, our commitment towards handloom weavers has become deeper, and our vision to preserve our country’s heritage has evolved further.

On this momentous occasion, we wish to thank all our customers for their boundless affection, motivation and support, every step of the way. We also wish to express our gratitude to the weavers we work with-for sustaining the ancient art of weaving and giving life to our dreams and designs. A big thank-you to all our vendors, well-wishers, patrons and staff. We could not have come this far without you. 

The experiences and learnings of the last 25 years have been invaluable and we believe they will hold us in good stead in the days to come.

Thank you all once again!

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Through the Looms…

Handloom weaving is an intricate art that requires immense patience, passion, creativity and attention to detail.

Through this photoblog, we take you through the looms of the silk capital of Kanchipuram (in Tamilnadu) and capture the painstaking efforts that go behind this wonderful craft form. 

  • The all-important loom gets prepped for the journey ahead. It starts with the winding of yarn on to a warp beam. It takes about two days to complete the warping of 10,000 threads on the loom.
  • Zari yarns are drawn from the wooden beam to the loom for the process of warping. The weaver doesn’t take his eyes off the beam and loom, even for a second!
  • Warp beam: Warp yarns are rolled on to an iron beam and positioned at the back of the loom.
  • Warping of zari threads: This involves joining the gold zari thread with the silk thread by twisting them together.
  • Preparing the weft yarns: First, the weft silk hank is spread onto a wooden stand. Then the weaver winds the yarn on a stick.
  • This is the pit loom in which the saree you adore is woven. The four posters of the loom are sunk into the floor facing a pit, in which the pedals hang.
  • A lot of leg work: Loom treadles are located at the bottom of the loom. They are designed for the up-and-down movement of the heddles. The heddle, which is a looped cord or wire, is an integral part of the loom. It separates the warp yarns so that the weft thread can pass through. When the weaver presses the treadle, the weft thread moves through the width of the warp yarns. 
  •  Did you know that a weaver uses his legs 17,920 times to weave one saree?
  • The warp threads break frequently while weaving. So, the weaver has to join the yarn each time it breaks. This is no mean feat, as the weaver cannot afford to lose his patience.
  • Weaving a Kanjeevaram saree, from start to finish, sometimes takes three to four weeks. It sure is a labour-intensive process!
  • Kanchipuram has more than 20,000 looms and produces more than five lakh sarees a year. Three to four weavers work in each loom. Some handloom varieties require at least six workers for a single saree.
  • As the weaving progresses, the saree is rolled on the front wooden beam of the loom.
  • Weaving a complex tapestry: Intricate designs take shape on the body, border and pallu of the saree through the jacquard technique.
  • Nothing can beat the magic of handspun fabric! Here you see silk yarn being spun in pirns (spools) with the help of a hand spinning charkha. Truly charming, isn’t it?
  • The weaver works with total focus and commitment. During a weaving career spanning 30 years, a weaver uses his limbs 18,360,000 times to weave about 1,000 sarees.

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Give your Saree A Lot Of TLC

The saree is no doubt a special garment that deserves special treatment. It must be cherished with lots of tender loving care.So, how can you maintain and preserve silk and silk cotton sarees so that they last longer? We’ll tell you how. These simple secrets will keep your saree fresh and you happy!

  • Wash the saree after every use. Have you noticed how your grandmother’s saree always looks fresh even after several years? That’s because she washes it regularly with her hand.
  • A simple soak in cold water and a gentle rinse will do. Treat your saree like a treasured possession. Do not squeeze, beat or brush the saree hard. Use a mild detergent or a mild protein shampoo. Avoid harsh chemicals. And do not soak the saree in water for long.
  • Wash the border, pallu and body separately. Do not wash your silk sarees with other outfits. Dark cotton sarees (like indigo sarees) tend to bleed when washed. So, never wash two cotton sarees together, especially if they are dark coloured.
  • Wash off foreign particles like soap suds and dirt. These elements tend to make the zari impure and decrease the strength of the saree.
  • Dry the saree in a shady area. Do not expose the saree to direct sunlight and too much breeze.
  • Hang the saree upside down. This is to ensure external particles do not cling to the saree.
  • Take care of spills immediately. For oil spills, dab powder (talcum powder, vibhuti or chalk powder). The powder will absorb the spill and not leave a stain behind. In case of stubborn stains, dry-clean immediately.
  • Iron on a medium heat using a steam iron. Silk sarees can be pressed while they are still wet. You may even place silk sarees under a thin cloth to avoid direct heat.
  • Starch old cotton sarees. Nothing can beat the comfort of old cotton sarees. Make them look fresher and brighter with starch. Starch helps the saree retain shine and colour.
  • Fold the saree upside down and store it neatly on the shelf in a cool, dry place. Let the zari be inside and not exposed, to preserve the lustre. Change the folding of the saree now and then (at least once in three months), so that the saree does not get frayed along the folds or tear. It is preferable to keep silk sarees in a hanging position.
  • Place the saree inside 100 per cent cotton fabrics like a dhoti, a dupatta or a muslin cloth. Avoid placing the saree inside the plastic. Do not store sarees in fabrics that have even a minimal amount of polyester. Store each saree separately.
  • Use neem leaves to keep the bugs away.
  • Allow the saree to breathe well. Silk sarees, in particular, need to breathe for them to remain fresh and natural, and not have a musty smell. So, unfold them once in a while and air them out.
  • And most importantly, wear your sarees often! The more you wear your sarees, the longer they will last and the more sheen and life they will have.
Maintain your sarees well and enjoy wearing them!

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A Trendy Twist To The Traditional Tale

A trendy twist to the traditional tale

The saree has a striking new look today. While the length remains the good old six yard , the way it is draped is taking on various avatars, keeping with the times. Fashion icons, celebrities, designers and young women are giving the saree a dapper twist that is as stunning and graceful as the traditional drape.

Let’s look at some of the adaptations of the saree in Contemporary times.

Sareepant
The saree pant is a lot easier to drape than it looks. All you need to do is replace the petticoat with a pair of fancy pants. You can pick a shimmery pair, an embroidered one, cigarette pants or silk pants. Instead of inserting the saree into the petticoat, you have to tuck it into the pants and wrap it either over your shoulder (the usual way) or like a dhoti. This will give it a totally chic look to your traditional saree. Pair it with a funky crop top and you are ready to be the star of the evening!

Sareelehenga

This new style is popular among young girls. It requires a petticoat but does away with the pleats. Instead, the saree is draped around and tucked into the waist like a lehenga. The pallu is taken over the shoulder like a chunni or a dupatta, either seedha(straight) or Ulta(opposite) style. The ensemble is complete when worn with a traditional blouse. If you want a contemporary look, go for a halter neck or a backless choli. This style works with Georgette chiffon silk cotton or crepe.

Scarf style

This is suitable for working women who want to make a style statement in the corporate world and still be comfortable in traditional attire. The scarf style saree is worn in the traditional way but the pallu goes around the neck like a scarf. This is a highly recommended style during winters as it keeps one warm and is easy to manage. You can try wearing a short woollen or acrylic sweater instead of a traditional blouse to give it a contemporary look. Tussar and linen sarees lend themselves well to this style

Dhoti style

The dhoti style saree gives a modern twist to the traditional Maharashtriannavvari. It is flexible and can be worn over leggings or tight pants to give a savvy and smart look.

Gown/dress style

The dress-styled saree combines the best of both worlds, as it is traditional attire in a modern silhouette. A plain Kanjivaram silk saree without border or a soft silk saree can be stitched into the gown-style saree, with the pallu draped over one shoulder and stitched to the blouse. So, all you have to do is just slip into the attire like you would get into a dress. Great, isn’t it? Many Bollywood and Hollywood stars have popularised this style, which is perfect for dancing around at a party or wedding!

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The Number Story

The Number Story

The origin of the saree-like drape dates as far back 100 B.C. From then to now, the versatile garment has travelled a long way, evolving with the times. It continues to be one of the most coveted garments among Indian women. Whether it is in silk, cotton, Silk cotton tussar or raw silk , Indian women are buying and wearing the saree with great pride and delight.

Behind the lure of the saree lies a mind-boggling tale of numbers, numbers that make up the saree weaving industry of the country. Let us look at some of them. 

What is a saree?

A saree is an unstitched length of cloth measuring 42-49 inches in width and 5.5 to 9 yards in length.

The styles

  • There are about 20 different traditional saree wearing styles, depending on the region the saree is from and the culture of the people. The most famous styles are set-mundu of Kerala, Coorgi style, Gujarati drape, Maharashtrian dhoti style, Bengali style, and Kacchanivi of Andhra Pradesh. 

The cost factor

  • Sarees are priced anywhere between Rs 200 and Rs 20 lakh depending on the fabric, the weave, the design, the texture, the workmanship, and the brand as well. Normally, 50%  of the cost of a handloom saree is material cost.

The people behind the scene:

  • Any story on sarees is incomplete without the mention of the weavers, who form an integral part of the textile industry in the country. With over 43 lakh people involved in weaving and allied activities, the handloom sector is second only to agriculture in terms of employment.
  • The Banaras saree weaving industry provides employment to over  5 lakh people in Varanasi district alone and the trade is valued at over Rs 5,000 crore per year.
  • In Kanchipuram , over 5,000 families are engaged in saree weaving.

The process 

  • Generally, a saree takes about 8  hours of weaving from start to finish. The average weight of the saree is 850-900 grams.
  • During a weaving career spanning 30 years, a weaver uses his limbs 18,360,000 times to weave about 1,000 sarees!
  • A Banarasi saree takes about 4  days, with some sarees extending to 6  months, depending on the intricacy of the pattern! Three people work together to weave one Banarasi saree.

The magic of Kanjivaram

  • Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, which is famous for the Kanjivaram silk sarees, has more than 20,000 looms and produces more than 5  lakh sarees a year. Three to four weavers work in each loom. Some handloom varieties require at least 6  workers for a single saree.
  • The warping frame used to weave this fabric has about 60 holes. There are 240 threads in the warp and 250 to 3000 threads in the weft. This is how complex and mathematical the weaving process is!
  • In addition to this, there is a tremendous physical effort involved in weaving a Kanjivaram saree. There are 10,000 single-ply silk threads in the warp. The average number of wefts per inch is 70 and 17,920 in a saree. This means a weaver uses his legs 17,920 times to weave 1  saree!
  • As per Geographical Indication (GI) label, a Kanjivaram saree should have 57% silver and 0.6% gold in the Zari. Thus, an authentic Kanjivaram with pure silk and pure zari can cost anywhere between Rs. 7,000 and Rs.2,00,000.
  • The width of a regular saree is 45 inches but a Kanjivaram silk saree is around 48 inches. A typical Kanjivaram saree weighs between 500 grams and 1 kg. It was initially a nine-yard weave but over the years the more practical six-yard has become popular.

So, the next time you drape this beautiful garment, do remember and appreciate the intricate computation behind the weaving of the saree and the labour of the body, mind and soul.

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Yesteryear saree sensations

Yesteryear saree sensations

When you think of how the saree has been worn over the ages, many personal styles stand out. In the yesteryears, many women had donned the garment in a unique manner—be it the type of fabric, the kind of drape, or the choice of colours.

Let us look at some of the ways in which women celebrities had turned the saree into their distinctive personality statement and the looks that went viral, in the good old days! Many of these styles have even stood the test of time and are popular till date!

Elegance personified

There was a certain grace in the manner in which noted Carnatic singer MS Subbulakshmi wore the nine-yard saree, accompanied by her trademark diamond nose stud. When it came to the colours of her Kanjivaram Silks , she was particularly fond of the deep blue and was often seen in this shade. So much that the colour came to be known as ‘MS blue’.It is a much-sought-after shade in the Kanjivaram silk saree range, among the young and old alike.


Power dressing

 Sarees in khadi, tussar, cotton and raw silk, with a neat pinned-up look. Who does this remind you of? Yes, you are right-Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the former prime minister of India! Her saree-wearing style and choice of fabrics were as powerful as her personality. In fact, many women in influential positions imitate her sartorial sense even today.

Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga too had a characteristic manner of dressing that was impressive and reflective of her no-nonsense approach.

An impenetrable persona

The former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J.Jayalalitha, was famous for wearing high-collared capes with her sarees. This not only gave her a distinct look but also lent an enigmatic dimension to her commanding image. Not everyone can pull off the cape-saree combo, but Jayalalithaa managed to carry it off with grace. Gradually, the cape gave way to plain sarees in solid colours. In her later years, she was seen mainly in dark green sarees.

Retro, skinny fit

The wraparound saree became a big hit in the 1960s after Bollywood star Mumtaaz appeared in the style in the movie Brahmachari. The orange saree with a golden border became an iconic fashion statement, which many other stars began to mimic. In fact, Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra was recently seen in a movie in the wraparound saree, and so was Deepika Padukone.

Glitz and glamour

Remember the embroidered purple lehenga-type saree that Madhuri Dixit popularised in the famous movie Hum Aapke Hain Kaun? Undoubtedly, Madhuri’s charm and glamour took the saree to a whole new level. Thereafter, the mid-nineties had young women donning different versions of the saree for weddings.

Iconic Bengali saree

From Sharmila Tagore and Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai (in Devdas), many Bollywood actors have sported the traditional Bengali saree with aplomb. The red and white saree with heavily kohled eyes is a big hit among young women even today for weddings, pujas and other traditional dos.
Seductive in chiffons

Sridevi is the original oomph girl who won millions of hearts with her winsome smile and sensational sarees. Whether it’s her blue chiffon saree in Mr. India or the pastel yellow in Chandni with a sleeveless blouse, Sridevi’s magnetic style has been copied by millions of young girls till today.

As the saree continues to woo women of all ages, many new trends and looks are emerging constantly. Some of the styles will become ‘yesteryear’ sensations a few decades down the line and some of them will continue to stay relevant and popular. No matter what stays and what goes, the saree will remain a much-admired garment always!


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Fabrics that have youngsters’ vote!

Fabrics that have youngsters’ vote!

Do you remember the soft mull fabric that was used to make your childhood clothes? And the soft silk and satin for your birthday dress and pavadai? As you stepped into your teen years, denim and corduroys became your fabric choice, followed by linen and lycra, which seem to be in vogue among the youth of today. 
Isn’t it just amazing how, along with designs and patterns, even our choice of fabric changes with age? Let’s take a look at the fabrics young people prefer these days and what materials suit their lifestyle. 
A quick look at the wardrobe of youngsters revealed some very interesting couture choices. Choices that help millennials dabble with the three Fs of ‘fun’, freedom’ and ‘flexibility’, as they quickly switch from workwear to casual wear and festive wear, all in a day!

Lycra 
This is preferred by almost all young people today as it suits their on-the-go lifestyle. The fabric is light, strong and highly durable and used in comfort clothing like leggings, T-shirts and lightweight pants for work and evening outings.

Blended fabrics 

Shirts, dresses, blouses and salwar kameez are made from blended fabrics—a mix of polyester and cotton, polyester and silk, polyester and nylon. They are preferred by youngsters because they are wrinkle-free, dry quickly and require very little maintenance (they are washing machine-friendly and need no ironing). For young people leading busy and hectic lives, these fuss-free blended fabrics are among the top choices for daily-wear clothes.

Knit fabric 

This is a stretchy and comfortable fabric for daily wear and work-wear clothes, as it lets you run and walk with ease. Perfect to catch a bus or ride a bike to work! 

Velvet/satin/lace

These have come back in fashion as suitable fabrics for gowns,latest designer sarees , and Western dresses for their sheer fall and graceful looks.

Linen and soft cotton

Linen and soft cotton are cool and absorbent fabrics, though they wrinkle easily. But given their high comfort factor, these fabrics are preferred by young people who like to sport a casual look for Friday dressing.

Denim

Denim never goes out of style, do they? Denim jeans are still the most preferred attire by young people to make a style statement and stay comfortable at the same time. Apart from jeans, denim is also used to make shirts, dresses and jackets.

Corduroy

Made from cotton, corduroy is a durable pile fabric with lengthwise ridges. This, along with denim, is a preferred fabric fora rugged look for adventure outings and traveling.

Natural fabrics

Increasingly, youngsters are opting for green fabrics like flax, banana fibre, jute, and bamboo, as they seek to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Silk 

Fabrics may come and go, but silk is still the go-to fabric for dressy occasions and special events for its natural sheen and its ability to take on embellishments like embroidery, mirror work, kundan and zari work. Kanjivaram Sarees , designer sarees and heavy lehengas in Banaras silk and the lighter Silk cottonTussar and Soft silk sarees are the top favourites for weddings , parties and festivals too, for they are rooted in tradition and help preserve our handloom heritage.

Whatever be the fabric choice and the shopping mode (shopping online), youngsters seem to pull enrich their wardrobe and show it all off with style, simplicity and confidence! 

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Different drapes for different moods!



Different drapes for different moods!

Why wear the saree in the same old manner always when there are so many drapes to choose from?

The versatile garment can also be worn in myriad ways – apart from the basics pinned-up and neatly-pleated style and the open pallu drape.

We have picked out some of the popular and not-so-popular, trendy and traditional ways in which the saree can be fashioned. 


Contemporary techniques

  • Lehenga style: This is a big rage among youngsters today for its simple tuck-and-drape method. If you do not want to splurge on a lehenga, but still crave that lavish look for your best friend’s wedding, here’s an easy way to turn a saree into a lehenga. Start from the right and go back, tucking in several small pleats around the waist to give the saree an illusion of a lehenga. In an instant!

  •  Mermaid style: The lower part of the saree is draped like a skirt to give a slim and tall look along with a curvy appearance around the hip. In this style, there are no pleats in the front. As the name suggests, the drape gives you a mermaid-like look. This stylish drape is best suited for sarees with a heavy pallu or an embellished border. So, pep up the evening do with this mermaid variant.

  • Butterfly drape: Keep the pallu thin so that the midriff or navel is visible. Popular among Bollywood fashionistas, this style goes well with netted fabrics and Chiffon. Pair up the saree with a heavy brocade blouse for a stunning result. Rock the party with the butterfly effect!

  • Indo-western pant style: In this, you can wear the saree around ankle-length leggings or pants, instead of the conventional petticoat. 

Traditional drapes

  • Maharashtrian style: If you want to stand out in a crowd like Sonam Kapoor, who popularised the Maharashtrian dhoti saree, this one is for you. Worn like a dhoti, this style requires a longer saree—nine yards instead of the usual six (hence it is called the Nauvarisaree). You don’t need a petticoat with this; wear shorts instead. The drape goes well with silk, cotton, and silk cotton sarees . Opt for a Paithani saree for an opulent feel. 
 
  • Set-mundu style: This traditional attire of Kerala consists of a mundu or lower garment and an upper piece called neriyathum. The mundu is wrapped around the lower part of the body and tucked at the waist; the neriyathum is draped in the upper part over the blouse. Try the festive Kasavuset-mundu(a handwoven cream-coloured saree with gold border) the next time you are invited to an Onam sadya.

  • Bengali style: This is not as hard as it looks or sounds and involves two wide pleats with a key ring to hold a double-wrapped pallu. Perfect for summer with light handloom cotton sarees!

  • And many more: Kacchanivi of Andhra Pradesh (pleats are passed through the legs and tucked into the waist at the back), the Coorgi style (front pallu tucked over the shoulder and pleats pushed back), and the Rajasthani and Gujarati drapes (pallu draped across the right shoulder).
 
So, go ahead and experiment; mix styles if you wish to. Add your own chutzpah and you are good to go!

Note: This blog gives you the basic lowdown of the various saree styles. For detailed step-by-step instructions, do watch videos and tutorials online.

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The tale of hands that weave magic!

The Indian handloom weaving industry dates as far back as 5000 years ago, even before the world knew words like ‘thread’, ‘yarn’ and ‘texture’. The Vedas even mention fabric made from gold threads. This was the vasthra that the gods are supposed to have worn. 

 We are fortunate that the ancient weaving tradition has continued until today across all regions in the country, resulting in Fabrics with distinct patterns and styles. Although the textile industry has given room for power looms, a chunk of the weaving is still done on handlooms. Estimates say the handloom sector employs about 7 million people and it makes up for one-tenth of the total fabric production in India. 

                                                                                                                                                                               
What it takes to make a saree

Weaving the saree is quite a strenuous process because the Six-yard beauty requires weaving different designs, textures, and fabrics. It involves the tricky processes of producing the warp and weft, interlocking the body and the border, and joining the border and the pallu. Besides, the saree comes with unique and intricate patterns that cannot be replicated in the power loom. So, there is a lot of work that goes behind producing the beautiful work of art.

In fact, some handloom varieties require the effort of at least six workers for a single saree: from start to finish, including starching, spooling, weaving, ironing and tying up the loose ends. And weaving one such saree can take anywhere between three days and three months depending on the intricacy of the pattern. 

                                                                                                                                                                
Complex task

It is not just saree weaving that is strenuous. Weavers involved in weaving other products such as shawls, carpets and sweaters too work really hard to get the output that consumers cherish.

There is a lot more to handloom weaving than what meets the eye. It necessitates manual handling of yarns and fabric that puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder, back and arm. The process also involves manually sorting raw materials, carding and spinning with a cord machine, and dyeing the fibres with acids. Then there are other actions like clipping threads, embossing and carving art designs, mending, edge bending, dyeing and washing before the fabric is sent out into the market to the seller.

Obviously, there is a lot of dedication and relentless commitment behind the scenes, but the effort of the weaver often goes unnoticed or under-appreciated.

Sometimes, weavers work in challenging conditions with rooms that are badly lit, on machines that are not always ergonomically designed, because not everyone can afford newer and better looms. Continued stress on the weavers’ muscles and nerves sometimes result in a condition called MSD (musculoskeletal disorder), if the weaver does not get enough rest and sufficient nutrition. The weavers also have to live with exposure to continuous noise and chemical pollution. 


Need for support

Due to these challenges, many in the younger generation of the weaving families are opting out of the profession. But the existing workers are getting older and may not be able to take the strain anymore. Therefore, the beloved handloom industry is in dire need of patronage and support.

Weavers must be provided financial incentives to buy better looms and spare parts increased access and connect to the market, sufficient market knowledge, skill up-gradation, and training. Consumers too must encourage and honor the unsung weaver by wearing handlooms with pride. The entire community needs to rally behind the hardworking weaver so that he or she is motivated to sustain the tradition for generations to come.


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Kutcheris, Kanjivarams and more!

It is that time of the year when the city of Chennai gets all decked up for the famed Carnatic music season, which attracts both locals and visitors from across the country and even abroad.

The ‘season’, as it is fondly called by classical music patrons, is not just about musical notes and ragas. Even as Kalyani and Kharaharapriya take center stage, there is a lot of interest around food and fashion too. We will leave the food connoisseurs to dissect the delicacies served in the sabha canteens and talk about what we know best: the sarees during the winter music season.

Kutcheris and Kanjivaram sarees

For ages, there has been an undeniable connection between Carnatic music and Silk sarees. Take a quick glance at what people are wearing at concert halls and you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Kanjivaram silk with diamond studs was an unwritten dress code popularised by musical legends like M.S. Subbulakshmi, M.L. Vasanthakumariand D.K. Pattammal. This trend continues till date with singers like Sudha Raghunathan and Aruna Sairam opting for rich korvai sarees with traditional jhumkis and temple jewellery. 

Off the stage too, the Kanjivarams have people’s vote. As women, young and old, go concert-hopping from one auditorium to the other, you can see the time-tested Kanjivarams swaying in style. With the nip in the air, silks are a good choice, as they keep the wearer warm, comfortable and cosy. 

In the last few years, retro patterns of checks , maanga, vairaoosi, and paalumpazhamum have been making their presence felt during the music season.Of course, peacock motifs, buttas and temple borders never seem to go out of favour.

Teamed with trendy blouses and terracotta jewellery, these traditional pattu sarees create quite an impression! This year, Kanjivaram weaves are also sporting contemporary designs, like bold stripes and geometric patterns. 

Other fabrics

Apart from Kanjivaram silk, other silk varieties like Tussar, Benaras, Ikat and Uppada are also doing the rounds during the Margazhi season. And it is not just a swirl of silk at the kutcheris, as fabrics like silk cotton , jute-cotton and Linen too are spotted among the concert-goers. 

Winter trends

Thanks to the slight dip in temperature, women are encouraged to experiment with thicker varieties of Cotton , paired with elbow-length or high-neck blouses. Not to mention the gorgeous shawl with subtle embroidery, draped stylishly over the saree, giving the overall ensemble an elegant touch!

 When it comes to the colour palette, peacock blue, earthy red, and deep purple stand out for sure. And what better time than now to flaunt the black sarees!

Breaking away from the winter thumb-rule of dark colours are bright orange, turmeric yellow, and light pink. Solid colours apart, kalamkari prints and mural painted sarees are also a big hit, especially among the younger crowd.

So, what are you waiting for? Pull out your lovely sarees from the closet and step out in them in style. Play around, mix and match, and have a lot of fun this winter!


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Nearly-forgotten fabrics of India

When we think of sarees, the names ‘Kanjivaram’ and ‘Banarasi’ immediately pop into our minds. These sarees have no doubt put the Indian textile tradition on the global map. But there are many other weaving styles and fabrics that the country boasts of—Ilkal, Khandua and Ajrakh to name a few. They may not be household names, but they are as intricate, gorgeous and soulful as the celebrated silks.

Over the years, due to the changing market dynamics and the rise of cheaper power loom fabrics, the demand for these age-old fabrics have declined. But thanks to revival efforts by saree patrons, designers and cooperatives, some of these weaving techniques have managed to survive from their languishing fortunes. Of course, much more needs to be done to revive the nearly-forgotten fabrics of the country. And that can happen only when more consumers come forward and make these fabrics a regular part of their wardrobes.

Let us look at the lesser-known weaving techniques and fabrics of the country and some of the efforts to revitalise them.

Ilkal sarees(Origin: Ilkal town in Bagolkot district, Karnataka). These sarees, which have been accorded a GI tag, have a cotton warp on the body and an art silk/pure silk warp on the border and pallu. In this saree, the body warp is made separately and joined with the pallu warp. This ‘tope teni’ technique is exclusive to the ilkal saree. Kasuti embroidery is used on this saree; the commonly used designs are palanquins, elephants and lotuses. 

The pallu carries temple tower designs. The traditionally used colours are pomegranate red, peacock green and parrot green.  After a period of decline, which saw demand for the saree slowing and weavers migrating from the village, the saree is slowly making its presence felt. A few weavers’ cooperative societies in the region are doing their best to keep the weavers motivated (through social media and online platforms) and preserve the indigenous craft, which originated in the 8th century. 
 The pallu carries temple tower designs. The traditionally used colours are pomegranate red, peacock green and parrot green. 

After a period of decline, which saw demand for the saree slowing and weavers migrating from the village, the saree is slowly making its presence felt. A few weavers’ cooperative societies in the region are doing their best to keep the weavers motivated (through social media and online platforms) and preserve the indigenous craft, which originated in the 8th century.

Khandua (Origin: Orissa): This is a traditional Ikat saree worn during weddings. Traditionally, the khandua is red or orange; the red is obtained from the sal tree. The weave has motifs of elephant, lion, deer and lotus. A special form of the weave is offered to Lord Jagannath to wear as a khandua(lower cloth) with stanzas and illustrations from Gita Govinda. During the making of this fabric, weavers observe a fast and do not eat non-vegetable food.

The Nuapatna village in the Cuttack district of Orissa is known for the khandua ikat. A few designers are working with weavers in Nuapatna on different ikat techniques and the revival of the practice of using natural dyes.

 The Nuapatna village in the Cuttack district of Orissa is known for the khandua ikat. A few designers are working with weavers in Nuapatna on different ikat techniques and the revival of the practice of using natural dyes.

Kala cotton (Origin: Kachch): It is the original genetically Pure cotton species from India. This organic cotton is tolerant to disease and pest and needs very little investment. The Old World cotton, as it is called, is strong, coarse and stretchable and is used in sarees and denims. It was an integral part of India’s cotton export to Britain during colonial times. 


 From the mid-nineties, the number of weavers engaged in kala cotton cultivation has declined rapidly, under the effects of industrialization and a changing market.  Hearteningly, after a fall comes the rise. With the Kala cotton reappearing in designer collections, there is significant interest and curiosity around this fabric. Bhuj-  based NGO Khamir is working hard to preserve kala cotton and supply its yardage across the country. 

Ajrakh (Origin: Sindh; Kutch, Gujarat): Ajrakh is the name of the block-printed cloth with symmetrical patterns in a deep crimson red and indigo blue background. The craft can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilisation. 

This fabric is perhaps one of the most unfortunate examples of weavers succumbing to market pressure and moving from natural dyes and embracing chemical dyes. But this is slowly changing with leading e-tailers, fashion houses, designers and labels like Vraj:bhoomi using naturally-dyed Ajrakhs in sarees and contemporary creations such as home linen, shawls and every-day fashion. A vancouver-based private trust, Maiwa Foundation, supports Ajrakh artisans in Kutch. 


Linen silk: Linen silk sarees are made from a mix of silk and linen. They combine the comfort of linen and the beauty and luster of silk. Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant; it is one of the oldest textiles in the world and is laborious to make. On the other hand, silk is smooth and soft. So, a linen silk saree has a great fall and is also comfortable on the skin. Linen-silk sarees with exquisite embroidery are slowly getting popular among women today. 


The above list is by no means exhaustive as there are many more weaving techniques like Molakalmuru, Baluchari, Jamdani and Uppada that need our patronage and love. A great way to support the unique weaves of our country is by buying genuine, handcrafted Fabrics and wearing them with pride. The importance of this cannot be over-emphasised! 

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Why should we wear Indian fabrics more often?

Why are we turning the spotlight on handwoven fabrics made in India? Apart from their elegant air, here are six other reasons why we must support desi weaves.



Wear India on our sleeves, literally: A fabric tour of India is a stimulating sensory ride across the length and breadth of the country. Be it Kanjivaram , Irkal, Muga, Bandhani or Paithani, each fabric and weaving technique is unique, reflecting the creativity and skill of the weaver and the cultural diversity of the region. Let’s feel proud of our diverse heritage and wear our awesome handlooms with pride.
Support the weavers: The story of a saree is incomplete without the mention of the weaver who weaves tirelessly on the shuttle, producing intricate weaves that are simply breathtaking. They are our unsung heroes and sheroes, who deserve all the appreciation and honour for the hard work they put in. The best way to show we care is by wearing what they make. As simple as that!
When we wear a handloom Silk Cotton saree or dhoti or a khadi kurta, we bring a smile across the faces of many weavers who are part of an ancient industry. We may not be able to see the smiles, but we can rest assured that the creators are rewarded and are indeed smiling.

Sustain handloom tradition: The handloom sector is second only to agriculture in terms of employment. It contributes about 23 per cent of the total cloth produced in the country. So, the more handloom products we buy, the more the industry is benefitted. We thus make sure more and more weavers are enthused to take to the profession and the tradition lives on.

Go green: Handloom weaves are ecofriendly and natural, as they avoid chemical dyes and require minimal power. When the whole world is facing the enormous impact of global warming and non-ecofriendly practices, the onus is on each of us to inculcate green habits in our daily life. Wearing handloom weaves is a simple and conscious way to leave a virtually-nil carbon footprint.

Perfect for the Indian weather: Indian weaves are comfortable, breathable and easy on the skin—perfect for the largely tropical climate in India.

Showcase our individuality: As each handcrafted piece is a distinct creation that cannot be replicated, this is a great way to showcase our individuality. India fabrics are versatile and open to innovations; they are Traditional yet trendy, stylish and graceful too! Moreover, desi weaves are not for Indian clothes alone. They can be creatively styled to make western outfits too.

Movements such as Friends of Handloom and 100 Saree Pact led by young people and initiatives by the government like National Handloom Day and Make in India are appreciable efforts that are focused on making handlooms a part of our everyday wardrobe, especially in urban India. All of us can do our bit in this endeavor that seeks to revive the handloom Fabrics of our country and preserve the timeless tradition for years to come.

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The Tale of Red Carpets and Sarees!

What do Vidya Balan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor have in common besides the fact that they are actors? Show stoppers, did you say? Yes, you are right! Show stoppers in desi outfits, to be precise! These celebrities are proud of their culture and aren’t afraid to wear it on their sleeves, literally.

Some keep it simple, some like it Traditional . Some opt for a vintage look, while a few get really creative with the saree. Whatever be the style, these super stars love to look and feel Indian on the global stage.

Setting the red carpet on fire

She may be an internationally recognised face, but Aishwarya Rai Bachchan loves to go back to her roots as often as she can. The panache and grace with which Aishwarya carries off traditional Banaras Sarees at gala red-carpet events is a lesson worth emulating. Her Bollywood peer, Nandita Das too wins our vote with her simplicity and elegance in the unstitched garment.

Remember Deepika in a beautiful gold and beige saree, again at the Cannes festival, in 2010? Who can forget Sonam Kapoor’s vintage-feel saree teamed up with a long-sleeved jacket and an oversized nose ring at the Cannes film festival in 2013! The ravishing Priyanka Chopra, who won several hearts in America with her appearances in shows like Quantico and Baywatch, has also walked the ramp and red carpet in stylish sarees and sequined blouses.

The younger crop too seems to be comfortable sporting the saree, in a range of fabrics like silk, Chiffon , Cotton and Crepe , at both Indian and international events. Young Bollywood actors like Katrina Kaif, Shraddha Kapoor and Anushka Sharma have given the Indian outfit their own signature statement and chic spin.

South Indian actors like Shruti Hassan, Shriya Saran, Nayantara and Asin too have taken to the saree with great gusto. Shruti put together a bold and edgy ensemble at Cannes this year: a black ruffled saree, a gold blouse with three-dimensional flowers, and winged eyeliner!

Handlooms rock!

While latest designer sarees may be the chosen wear at filmy events and cocktail parties, celebrities do not shy away from handlooms and traditional weaves too. Kangana Ranaut, Kiron Kher, Radhika Apte, Dia Mirza and Kiran Rao wear handcrafted desi weaves like Kanjivaram , Chanderi, Jamdani, Kalamkari and Zardosi.

And what can we say about Vidya Balan’s love affair with the Six-yard wonder! The ethnic look sits on Vidya like second skin. Be it international film festivals, film premieres or press meets, Vidya has always chosen the saree over the gown. She has often spoken fondly about her immense love and respect for handlooms, be it the shimmering Kanjivarams or the breezy Bengal cottons.

Politicians like Sushma Swaraj, Maneka Gandhi and Smriti Irani and artists like Shubha Mudgal, Sudha Raghunathan and Usha Uthup are also ambassadors of ethnic handwoven sarees in their own way. Sonia Gandhi is known to own an enviable collection of handloom sarees like khadi Cotton , Pochampallis , Sambhalpuri Ikat , taants and Maheshwaris, while her daughter Priyanka is often seen in crisp cotton sarees. Behind the glamour and power dressing lies the hard work and craftsmanship of thousands of weavers across the country. While fashionistas, celebrities and fashion designers are doing their bit to promote the saree on a global scale, we too must ensure it stays a much-loved and relevant piece of attire in a rapidly modernizing world.

The onus lies in each of us to embrace the saree and make it an integral part of our wardrobe. When we do so, we not just preserve our culture, but we also sustain the weaving industry and encourage the weavers who work tirelessly to produce textiles that wow everyone.

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Get your Diwali clothes before the mad rush!

All set for Diwali? What sweets are you getting this time? Mysore pak, badam barfi, laddoo? Terrific! What about crackers? Appa has already made a big list of it? Great! Did you say candles and diyas have already been bought? Super! Looks like your Diwali preparations are moving according the plan!

But hey, aren’t you forgetting the main ingredient? Clothes! Diwali tradition demands that you wear something new every year. Aah! Pull out the checklist again!

Let’s see what we have here. Appa’s silk shirt and veshti have been bought. Brother’s kurta? Done. Grandma’s saree? Check! What about the clothes for the little girl in the family? Her pavadai, ghagra and anarkali are done. Triple check, in fact! Of course, accessories remain, but we will get to that later.

What about Amma’s saree? She has bought a beautiful maroon ikat saree. But will that do? Nah. She definitely needs another saree. She has been wanting a Kalamkari silk for a long time now. Where can she get it with just a few weeks to go for Diwali?

This is a typical frenzied scenario in every household! While we understand that last-minute shopping trips are part of the Diwali deal (‘cos there is only so much you can do in so little time, with each one demanding this and that!), do shop as early as you can—to avoid the mad rush, to beat the traffic and the crowds, and to get the best of the festive fare.

Tulsi is keen to help you put together the perfect Diwali ensemble for everyone in the family. We will make sure Amma gets her Kalamkari saree and anything else any of you may wish to have, without compromising on quality or design. At Tulsi, we understand how special Diwali clothes are and we are keen to give you what your heart truly desires.

It’s family shopping time and we are eager to have you over at our store! Or you can also log into to tulsisilks.co.in and shop to your heart’s content.

The Diwali countdown has begun! So, hurry up and get your festive finery before your favourite items get sold out!

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Greet the festive season with graceful weaves

Festivals represent the spirit of Indian tradition and culture. With the onset of the festive season, the air is filled with a joyful mood and a celebratory spark that is hard to explain and is best experienced.

One cannot imagine Indian festivals without the sheen and splendour of silks. Over the ages, Silk Sarees have become an integral part of the season, adding a touch of grace, auspiciousness and elegance to the festivities all around. Women, who are the epicentre of the celebrations, like to adorn themselves in ethnic weaves for most festivals, be it Varamahalakshmi puja, Onam, Diwali, Navaratri or Pongal.

Yards of shimmering silk, with Traditional motifs, gold zari, and brocade borders, paint quite a grand picture, don’t they? When teamed up with antique ornaments, Kundan or temple jewellery, the result is absolutely alluring.

As you gear up for Navaratri and Diwali, refresh your wardrobe with our new collection of Silk Sarees Online , specially crafted for the upcoming festival season. Like always, this year too, our designers have worked in tandem with the weavers to put together an exclusive array of sarees with immense insight and intuition, keeping in mind every kind of taste and preference.

From Kanjivaram , Banaras Tussar and Ikat Silk to Raw Silk and Patola Silk , our festive range of over 1,000 sarees has something for every woman who visits our store or shops online.

The nine nights of Navaratri celebrate the valour and strength of women. Nine nights also mean nine reasons to wear a saree! If you plan to wear a different weave on each day, you are sure to find something interesting and distinct in our collection.

After Navaratri comes the festival of lights—Diwali! Our Diwali spread is quite diverse and unique, much like the variety of food you get to savour during Diwali—silk Dupatta's and Sarees with kattams , buttas, temple borders, floral and leaf motifs, in a mindboggling array of colours, both traditional and trendy.

Add glam and glitter to your Diwali celebrations with dazzling clothes and accessories. Happy shopping!

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What’s Diwali without new clothes?

What’s the first thing that strikes you when you hear the word 'Diwali'?

Early morning oil bath at granny’s place …
The smiles that light up every face!

Endless food with family and friends,
The laughter and mirth it lends!

The earthen lamps that spread their warm glow,
The dazzling new clothes picked for the show!

As the sights and sounds of Diwali fill the air,
Let’s gather plenty of love and peace to share!

The word may evoke a different memory in each of us. But the emotion associated with Diwali is the same! While there are many historical reasons as to why the festival is celebrated, the underlying spirit is the same.

Diwali is the festival of happiness, love, camaraderie and oneness—transcending all barriers and differences, binding us with joie de vivre. It is a grand occasion that calls for grander celebrations!

In many households, preparations for Diwali start a month or two before the festival, as the family goes about deciding the sweets to make and the clothes to buy.


What’s with Diwali and new clothes?

Why are clothes given so much importance during this festival? Well, the tradition of wearing new clothes is perhaps as old as the festival itself. It is a symbolic gesture to signify the triumph of good over evil and welcome Goddess Lakshmi into our houses on an auspicious occasion.

The search for the perfect outfit for Diwali is an exhilarating affair indeed, involving excited trips to the store, exchanging notes with friends, getting the accessories in place, and what not!

Have you begun your Diwali hunt as yet? Don’t panic if you haven’t. We are here to help you! Diwali celebrations have begun at Tulsi and we are eager to help you put together a pretty ensemble for the festival—for you and your family.


Diwali with Tulsi

Light up your Diwali with our stunning range of Silk Sarees , carefully crafted for the festival. Our fresh collection of festive sarees comes in a rich palette of colours, exquisite designs, and unique patterns. Bold Checks,  Ikat weaves, nature-inspired motifs and much more—in our store and online too! With over 1,000 sarees to choose from, there is something for every taste and preference. So, start shopping now!

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Reliving Kanjivaram’s heritage weaves

What a spectacular event Vintage Weaves of Kanjivaram Sarees turned out to be—filled with lovely memories, insightful interactions and useful takeaways

Luz House, a quaint bungalow, tucked away in the cultural hotspot of Mylapore, Chennai, was the perfect setting for an event that showcased the richness and beauty of the timeless Kanjivaram sarees.

Stars of the show

Vintage Weaves of Kanjivaram (VWofK) was an exclusive display of over 150 heritage silk sarees handpicked from our private collection of around 2,000 sarees, which we had painstakingly preserved over several decades.

 On display were sarees made using unique weaving techniques that are hard to reproduce today. According to our weavers, some of the sarees in our collection would have taken over 45 days to weave! Can you imagine the kind of work that would have gone into weaving these masterpieces?

Sarees in intricate patterns and Traditional motifs (elephant, peacock, mango, temple border, checks and stripes) and mesmerising colour combinations (see pictures) transported onlookers to an old-worldly era of charm, simplicity and grace.

Many of the visitors told us that they would love to own some of these classic weaves. We shall definitely try our best to recreate, if not replicate, some of them

Motivation for VWofK

Two months ago, when we sat down to plan the event, there was one overwhelming thought in our minds: sarees are timeless treasures that have to be preserved and protected carefully for generations to come. This simple thought was the strong driving force behind VWofK. As we worked towards giving shape to the event in the next few weeks, more related ideas and thoughts emerged.

Ensure weaving traditions and craftsmanship are not lost and our heritage remains with us

Draw inspiration from classic designs; use patterns and techniques as references

Esteemed guests

Spread across two days (August 6 and 7), the exhibition saw over 500 visitors of all age groups. They not only had a good look at the vintage sarees on display, but also interacted with us keenly, sharing their suggestions, and giving us a lot of productive feedback.

On day one, we had organised a special preview for celebrities, cultural ambassadors and industry doyens like Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti, Carnatic vocalists Sudha Ragunathan and Aruna Sairam, actor Jothika and her family, dancer Anita Ratnam, representatives from Kalakshetra Foundation and Crafts Council of India, and NIFT-Chennai’s director. On day two, the event was open to the public. It was a special day as it was held on the occasion of the 3rd National Handloom Day.

Apart from celebrities, several saree patrons and enthusiasts also embraced the event, dressed in vibrant Kanjivarams . Thank you for your thoughtful and apt gesture!

The event also saw students from city colleges like SIET, Stella Maris and NIFT who were eager to know about old weaving techniques,traditional designs and the importance of preserving old sarees.

Key takeaways

We couldn’t let our guests leave without sharing a few words with us.

Actor Jothika, who wears the saree on most occasions, said, “Let’s be proud of our national dress and preserve our tradition.” She also requested elders to value the saree and pass it on to future generations.

Seetha ma, a saree patron, offered a few pointers on preserving sarees. “Handwash sarees to enhances the softness of the silk, iron them on the reverse and safely store them in your cupboards.” Easy, isn’t it?

Dancer Anita Ratnam requested mothers to encourage their daughters to wear the saree as often as possible. “When you wear a Kanjivaram, you wear a part of India. Enjoy the Kanjivaram and make it your own.”

We sure will!

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Reviving our handloom heritage

There is a great revival story unfolding in the country’s handloom industry, thanks to today’s spirited youngsters who want to go back to their roots.

The Indian youth are supporting the cause of handlooms, both offline and online, like never before. They are not just enriching their wardrobe with the vibrant fabrics of the country, but they are also supporting sustainable fashion and promoting Indian culture and heritage in many ways. With movements and social media communities like Friends of Handloom, Handloom Saree Lovers , Handlooms and Handmade and I Wear Handloom Saree paying a glowing tribute to the magic of handwoven fabrics, the centuries-old industry is finally getting its due. Well, the craft deserves all the attention it is getting now and more!

The scenario today is a far cry from what it was in the not-so-distant past when the sector was in dire need of resuscitation. Of course, a lot more needs to be done to sustain the industry, which is an integral part of the rural fabric of the country.



A little bit of history

Handloom weaving is perhaps one of the oldest family-based Traditional industry in the country. The history of the handloom dates as far back as the Indus Valley civilisation and the Mughul era.  Excavations in Mohenjodaro led to the discovery of spindles and spindle whorls. Weaving styles and spinning materials find mention in Vedic literature, Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In fact, spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques were said to be advanced in the Vedic period. Poets in the Mughal court seem to have made references to the famous Indian muslin, calling it ahrawan (running water) and shabnam (dew).


The edge the industry holds

The Indian handloom industry is as vast and varied as the country’s culture itself. You will find a different weave in every nook and corner of India. Every state and region in the country has developed its own traditional design and craft, which have been passed on from generation to generation.

From the Ikat sarees of Orissa, the Pashminas of Kashmir and the Kanjivaram Sarees of Tamil Nadu to Ilkal in Karnataka and the Muga saris of Assam, each handloom sari has a unique warp and weft, reflecting the creativity and skill of the weaver and the cultural nuances of the region.

Although the craft is practised mainly for livelihood, there have been many innovations too, some of which have won the industry many accolades and awards.

The strength of the handloom industry lies in its intricate craftsmanship, which cannot be replicated in the power loom. The handloom industry is less capital intensive, uses minimal power, is eco-friendly, open to innovations, and adapts well to the needs of the market.



While fast-fashion brands offer attractive price points for consumers, the magic of handlooms is unparalleled on several counts: patterns, texture, design, sustainability and comfort.

Numbers at a glance

India is home to the world’s largest number of handloom weavers. With over 43 lakh people involved in weaving and allied activities, the sector is second only to agriculture in terms of employment.
  • About 95 per cent of the world’s handlooms are from India.
  • There are about 2.3 million handlooms in India, with major centers in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The handloom industry contributes about 23 per cent of the total cloth produced in the country.

Need for support

The industry is at a critical juncture now where it needs tremendous support from all stakeholders. The government is doing its bit for the resurgence of khadi and handloom and handwoven fabrics. The Make in India and Khadi-focused movements and the creation of the India Handloom brand to ensure authenticity and quality are abetting the cause to a large extent.

Going forward, the industry needs more sustained investments in the form of finance, incentives, training, marketing and technology upgradation (such as modernisation of pit looms and pneumatic looms, high-speed automatic looms, shuttle-less weaving and multiphase weaving technology). These measures will reduce the drudgery of weavers and improve their efficiency and the quality of fabric and also ensure the second-generation takes to handloom weaving.

It is heartening to see fashion icons and leading designers of the country becoming flagbearers of handlooms, at red-carpet events and on the ramp. This thought needs to percolate among consumers at large. The priorities and mindsets of all of us should change. After all, it is our responsibility to cherish and preserve this timeless tradition for generations to come.


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Sari Fads, Styles and More

The sari may be a traditional attire, but it has always been open to innovative experiments and bold fashion trends, lending itself well to the changing times. Let us look at some of the sari trends in vogue now.

Light, free-flowing fabrics

The Indian sari may weigh anywhere between 300 grams and 1.5 kg, but the scales are tilted towards the lighter fabrics, especially among younger customers who want saris that are easy to drape and carry off at the workplace. While Soft Silk Sarees , Tussar Silk Sarees and silk Chiffon are the sought-after delicate weaves, Kanjivaram Silk Sarees too are becoming lighter by the day.
Though the customary heavy silk is a must for weddings and festivals, women are seeking more free-flowing saris for parties and casual functions. There is a whole range of Fabric for these occasions, such as cotton silks, tissue with net, and cotton with silk border.

Colours to play with

Pastels, earthy and nature-inspired shades, and metallic tones are the trending colour palettes today.

Design fads

The patli pallu saris in contrast colours (body in one colour and pleat and pallu in another), the half-and-half sari (two colours divide the sari into two), and dual toned saris (pleats are in a different colour than the rest of the sari) have been in vogue for a few years now. These saris are designed to emphasise your positives and discreetly hide your problem areas. Then there are saris with rising ‘airline’ borders that make you appear tall, slim and confident. For those who want to add a bit of flair and flare for parties and evening dos, the lehenga-styled sari is a chic option.
When it comes to motifs, tall temple borders are making a strong comeback, adding a touch of grace and divinity to the sari. Floral prints, paisleys and leaf motifs are popular among the nature-inspired women. Digital prints featuring animals, human faces and abstract art on Georgette and Crepe saris are quite the rage for their quirkiness and style factor.

Mixing it up

Whether it is the Traditional Kanjivaram Silk sari with a heavy brocade blouse, a Mangalagiri sari with an exquisite hand-painted Kalamkari blouse, a chiffon silk sari over an intricate mirror work blouse, a Mysore silk sari with a cheery floral blouse, a Bengali Jamdani sari with an Ikat blouse or a Kerala Kasavu with a beautiful Bandhani blouse, it’s all about creative interplay of fabrics and designs from across the country.

                                                                   So, what’s your sari style this season?

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Weaving A Magical Tale

The sacred plant tulsi stands for positivity, spiritual goodness, happiness and Indian-ness. Tulsi Silks too represents the quintessential qualities of the plant, which is revered and worshipped by several Indians.

Driven by the firm commitment to spread goodness, freshness and positive vibes all around and make the sari a proud part of the Indian woman’s wardrobe, we have grown from strength to strength-with an accent on quality, design and innovation.

The journey began when Mr.Suresh Parekh and Mr.Santosh Parekh, our owners, began working at their family textile store in the beautiful hill-town of Ooty in Tamil Nadu. The experience of working here helped Suresh and Santosh learn the ropes of the textile trade very early in life. After a decade of running the family business, the duo moved to the garment retail hub of Chennai to set up a sari store in the early 1990s. And there has been no looking back since then.

Fashioning a unique identity
For a newcomer like us, Chennai was a tough ground with the presence of retail giants who were well entrenched in the business. Wooing customers who were patrons of old names in the sari business was not an easy task. But we managed to do so with great customer service; a pleasant shopping ambience; hand-picked, innovative products at competitive prices; and unswerving quality. From day one, these qualities have been woven naturally into our system, keeping us in good stead in the market and helping us weather competition from new players too.

Backward integration is one of our core strengths. This means investing in the entire sari-making process. From designing and innovating to customising and manufacturing, we own every part of the process, end to end. Today, we are one of the few stores in Chennai that designs, manufactures and retails its own saris.

Every sari that enters our store carries with it the mark of innovation and painstaking craftsmanship. We have the highest respect for the weaver community and their extraordinary skills in breathing life into our ideas. We strongly believe in giving back to the weavers and staying connected with them at every stage of the sari creation process. This not only helps us meet our business objectives, but it also helps the weavers achieve their goals.

Celebrating Indian-Ness
At Tulsi, we believe the sari represents India’s unique identity and heritage. It describes who we are and where we came from. It is this unique Indian-ness that we celebrate every day and this is reflected in our name as well.

Apart from the qualities that ‘tulsi’ stands for, there are other reasons behind choosing this name. Acharya Tulsi is the spiritual guru of the founders who inspired them to reach great heights of success. Tulsi is also a fairly common name across the country and it resonates with the ethos of Indian culture.

Marching Ahead
Four years ago, we moved to a new address in Chennai. Our upmarket new store, in the same neighbourhood where our old store stood, signified our intent to take bigger and bolder strides in sari retailing.

In 2016, we launched an online store to seize the opportunity in the burgeoning e-commerce space. Last year, we burst into the national scene with our participation at the prestigious Lakme Fashion Week, which won us a sea of admirers and customers.
Today, with our most beloved and loyal customers, including celebrity patrons, we have indeed come a long way from our early days. But we believe we have just scratched the surface and the best is yet to come.

For More: Sarees for Wedding

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Seven Reason To Wear A Sari To Work

While it is common to see shimmering saris at weddings and festivals, the six-yard wonder has a significant place in the corporate world too.

Women in the banking, hospitality and civil services have always flaunted the sari (also spelt ‘saree’) with style and élan. Today, with revival attempts like the Sari Project and 100 Saree Pact, the unstitched garment is fast finding favour among young women in other sectors too.

Here are seven top reasons (although there are more!) why we think you must make the sari your numero uno wardrobe choice for work.

1. The sari is a legitimate formal wear 
Whether it is a corporate meeting, a presentation or even a regular day at work, the sari is considered a legitimate formal attire, as much as the pencil skirts and trousers. Saris in solid shades and a simple border, teamed up with minimal accessories, are all you need to rock your day at work.

2. It is a symbol of authority and influence. 
Corporate honchos like Chanda Kochar and Naina Lal Kidwai have really turned the sari into an aspirational symbol of power dressing.

When you turn up for a board meeting in a smartly draped silk sari or crisply starched Cotton sari, you exude oodles of confidence and convey to onlookers that you know your job well and you are not to be taken lightly. You command the immediate respect of your clients and colleagues.

“In the initial years of work, the sari helped people take the professional in me seriously,” says Uma Ram, a leading gynaecologist in Chennai.

Dr. UMA RAM
Leading Gynecologist – Seethpathy Clinic

3. At the same time, the sari is warm, graceful and elegant. 
While the sari makes you look ultra-professional, it also radiates a certain warmth and grace that is unmatched by any other outfit. This automatically permeates all around you and you receive warmth in return, says G. Sree Vidhya, CMD, Ravindra Services. “In my experience, most often than not, when I am in a sari I have been received with a warm smile, dignity and folded hands.”

4. When you represent a brand, there is no better way than to say it with an elegant sari. 
You not only strengthen your organisation’s credibility in the eyes of others, but you also create your own distinct identity and brand persona. This works well especially if you have the client- or customer-facing roles.

Latha Krishnaswamy
Krishnaswamy associates (p) Ltd

5. No size issues. 
Unlike western wear, the sari does not have the size and fitting hassles. It looks great on anyone and everyone!

6. The sari is perfect for the oppressive Indian weather. 
With its airy silhouette and weather-friendly Fabric, the sari certainly scores high on the comfort factor. Those who crib that it is difficult to wear the sari and handle it through a tough working day, remember it’s all a matter of practice and getting used to it. Ask Uma Ram, who gets in and out a sari and OT scrubs “without a thought.”

7. There is a sari for every occasion within the work environment. 
Soft Silk for the board room, cotton for an outing in the sun, Silk-Cotton for a presentation, and a stunning Chiffon with a sexy, sequined blouse for the office party? The possibilities are limitless.

According to Latha Krishna, classical dancer, editor and director, the sari is “feminine, bold, comfortable, stylish, modern yet Traditional, formal yet casual. Indeed, the sari is for any occasion.” We couldn’t agree more.

So, get the sari out of the closet, dabble with it, and find your own distinct style!

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