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As temperatures soar, the quench for lightweight fabrics is unrelenting, making jamdani a summer favourite. Sheer, breathable and easy-to-wear, it is a fail-safe everyday staple, but that’s not to say it cannot be extended beyond your off-duty wardrobe as well. With its roots in Dhaka, Bangladesh, this hand weaving technique is popular owing to its detailed motifs woven into the fabric on the loom itself. Though conventionally a fine cotton fabric, Indian fashion designers are innovating with jamdani by mixing it with varied yarns for unique yet classic looks. The intricate technique was also added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list in 2013.

 

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Paromita Banerjee X Rithihi, Colombo @rithihi The sarees specially woven for RITHIHI, is from the brand’s Heritage Festive Collection where we have worked on our signature handweaves on silks like Tassar , mulberry silk , matka and cotton woven by weavers around the country, especially Bengal. The weave technique of Jamdani has been revived on motifs of yesteryears. The signature Jamdani weaves showcased on sarees and garments bear the stamp of contemporary global India. ❤️ Photography @devansh5 Face of @shubhangi_sangwan Styled by @paromitabanerjee #rithihi #lanka #lka #ceylon #шриланка #ilovesrilanka #スリランカ #colombo #斯里兰卡 #سریلنکا #srilanka #loveit #lankan #trendy #styleinsrilanka #colomboshopping #فیشن #exclusiveshopping #fashion #fashiondaily #sari #saree #style #kurta #mode #blockprint #srilankanstyle #handmade

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Gaurang Shah is a sworn champion of the craft, and his ‘Interlace’ collection was exclusively dedicated to ‘discovering the soul of jamdani’.

 

While his silhouettes are timeless, Shah experiments with is patterns and texturisation, using khadi, organza and silk as his base. Raw Mango‘s Summer 2019 collections ‘Bageecha’ and ‘Sooti’ feature delicate jamdani motifs on a canvas of neon green, dusty rose and canary yellow, while Advaya from The House of Angadi’s summer collection marries jamdani motifs with real gold zari work and silk. Jamdani, especially as saris and stoles, are a mainstay of Kolkata-based designer Paromita Banerjee’s eponymous ethno-contemporary label.

Working with weavers from across the country, especially Bengal, she applies the weaving technique to silks like tussar, mulberry and matka apart from cotton.

Jamdani saris are a favourite of designers to experiment with — Rimzim Dadu who is known to play with textures in her collections, gave traditional jamdani a unique twist by weaving it with translucent silicone yarn. Anavila combines jamdani with her go-to fabrics like khadi, mul and linen, while Galang Gabaan modernises its linen jamdani saris with oversized florals and geometric motifs in soft colours.

Sailesh Singhania’s collections are replete with jamdani khadi saris with elaborate nature-inspired motifs, contemporised with trendy blouses.But that’s not to say that jamdani is not being reinterpreted beyond traditional wear. Rahul Mishra, who is the flagbearer for slow, sustainable fashion, used jamdani to create an athleisure -heavy collection in 2014. The technique also makes an appearance in his SS’19 collection that was showcased at Paris Fashion Week.


Aneeth Arora’s cotton woven jamdani dress for Péro was a part of an exhibit on Indian fabrics at Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 2015-2016. While artisans prefer to work on cotton yarns to weave jamdani as it doesn’t slip, Rina Singh created a unique jamdani silk-wool blend for her Amrita Sher-Gil-inspired summer line of summer trenches, slip dresses and culottes. Abraham & Thakore who are known to revolutionise Indian fabrics with an international sensibility has treated jamdani with their minimalistic tailoring to create workwear staples.

Praachi Raniwala

Raniwala is a freelance fashion, luxury and travel journalist, and a brand consultant. She has a degree in fashion and lifestyle journalism from London College of Fashion, and previously worked as a features writer at L’Officiel India. You can now find her words in Vogue and Condé Nast Traveller among other publications. The writer is based in Mumbai, but her heart belongs to London.