Hyderabad’s Chitrika is reimagining handlooms for the younger, with up to date jamdani, kuppadam and ballakammi


Chitrika is growing up to date designs utilizing kuppadam, jamdani and ballakammi strategies

Chitrika is growing up to date designs utilizing kuppadam, jamdani and ballakammi strategies

The Hyderabad workplace of Chitrika, an artisan producer firm that works with 300 handloom weaver households throughout Ponduru in Srikakulam district and Mandapeta in East Godavari districts, Andhra Pradesh, and Narayanpet district in Telangana, is adorned with racks stocking saris and materials. On a couple of clothes stands are samples of Chitrika’s current experiments — clothes in up to date silhouettes focusing on youthful patrons. 

Vijaya Switha Grandhi, who based Chitrika in 2005, says experimentation has been an ongoing course of, alongside conventional weaves. The design vocabulary developed progressively: “We nudged weavers to develop no less than three new designs a yr and supplied incentives. We don’t tamper with conventional strategies (jamdani, kuppadam and ballakammi) however search for new designs. 

Design intervention

Chitrika courted on-line patrons throughout the pandemic by means of chitrika.in. The label rolled out its ready-to-wear assortment for its on-line purchasers after tasting success in exhibitions organised by the Crafts Council of Telangana, amongst others.

The gathering consists of crop tops, high-low anti-fit tunics, straight match trousers, dhoti pants, flared pants, and extra: “There are takers for conventional kurtas, however we need to break the monotony of salwar-kurtas with newer cuts,” provides Switha.

The weavers of Chitrika handlooms, Hyderabad 

The weavers of Chitrika handlooms, Hyderabad 
| Picture Credit score: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The garment line is greater than merely stitching present handloom material in new silhouettes, however rethinking the design on the loom degree. If a trouser is to have a design panel working alongside its periphery, the sample emerges from the weave itself somewhat than a patch stitched on the trouser material. Equally, chequered patterns on the blouses are conceptualised on the weaving stage. The design intervention acquired a fillip when trend graduates Mahima Khare and Amogha G S joined the label in 2020.

Origin story

Switha learnt the necessities of working with the agricultural sector throughout her Publish Graduate Diploma in Danger Administration course on the Institute of Rural Administration, Anand (IRMA), Gujarat: “We had been taught to work with the agricultural neighborhood and assist companies develop. Due to my roots in Kanchipuram and curiosity in weaves and crafts, I made a decision to work within the handloom sector.”

The educational curve was fraught with highs and lows until 2011. It wasn’t simple to interrupt into the craft community the place established gamers, each government-aided models and personal operators, had already liaised with spinners and weavers. Chitrika started working with 10 weavers close to Ponduru in 2006 and scaled as much as 300 households because it expanded its footprint to East Godavari in 2013 and Narayanpet in 2017. “We even have a community of pre-loom employees; and dyeing is outsourced.”

Weaves and strategies

Chitrika weavers concentrate on jamdani, Srigadi checks, butas, kuppadam and ballakammi.

In Srikakulam, the ballakammi weaving is an additional weft method used to create textured patterns, totally on the pallu.

The Srikakulam kuppadam is an interlocking method used to create temple borders in contrasting colors. A loom is operated by two weavers.

The kuppadam of East Godavari is an interlocking method used to create distinction borders, however not within the temple design. A loom will be operated by a single weaver. 

The label employs pure dyes in pastel hues for khadi and azo free reactive and vat dyes for different cotton materials.

No-bleed colors

The label claims to supply zero-bleed handlooms. Switha attributes that to the standard of dyes in addition to the mechanised course of: “Individuals assume it’s blasphemous to mechanise something in handlooms. Sure repetitive and non-creative processes will be mechanised.” The ‘asu’ machine used for yarn winding by Pochampally weavers is an instance.

Elaborating on the bleed of dyes in handlooms, Switha says: “Dyeing is a labour-intensive course of and there are possibilities that the overworked or insufficiently educated workers would possibly wash a dyed material fewer variety of occasions than required; therefore the surplus color bleeds.” 

Wanting again, she is glad that Chitrika has carried out a cumulative enterprise of ₹18 crore since inception, and scraped by means of the pandemic. “We need to begin a dyeing unit and that requires an funding of ₹three crore; mobilising funds stays a problem.”

Chitrika sells on to prospects and provides materials and completed merchandise to established handloom retail labels. Switha takes the discourse surrounding handloom revival with a pinch of salt: “There are fewer weavers immediately than a decade in the past, whereas the demand has remained the identical.”

The Chitrika team

The Chitrika staff
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

Street forward

By 2030, the organisation hopes to allow an ecosystem that can profit 10,000 artisan households. Design experimentations will proceed. Exhibiting off a design panel the place the normal ballakammi has been tweaked to lead to new patterns, she explains how minimalistic designs on saris with out elaborate borders could make an excellent workwear.

For clothes, the staff can also be gauging the autumn of the material and tensile energy, aside from washing and shrinking experiments: “Our aim is to supply clothes in three ranges — under ₹1000, ₹2000 and ₹3000.” 

Chitrika may have its personal retailer on the Crafts Council of Telangana constructing CCT Areas in Banjara Hills, later this yr.

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