Traditional can be trendy too

Anjali Jhangiani
Friday, 12 January 2018

Fashion designer Binita Sen talks about making contemporary designs on traditional textiles to make it more appealing for all

Fashion designer Binita Sen forayed into the industry 13 years ago, but ever since she was a child, she has harboured a keen interest in fabrics. It was due to her inclination towards textiles that she started working with various weaving communities to bring out her colourful, contemporary collections. “I have worked with weavers on different textiles. And over a period of time they have understood my designs and innovations with the weaves. I send my designs to them and then discuss the yarn to be used and talk about how we can make the design better, and then it is weaved into the fabric. The fabric is then sent to block printing centres or to ladies who do embroidery work or katha stitching,” says Sen.

At her exhibition in Sanskriti Lifestyle, Koregaon Park, on January 13 and 14, sarees, stoles and dupattas, and fabrics in Uppada silk, Bishnupur soft silk, Linen silk, Ghicha Tussar, Kanchi cotton will be available. This apart, Sen has also designed pocket squares and ties for fashion-conscious men in such designer fabrics. 

“It is a conscious effort to modernise traditional textiles. I prefer to keep the weave style traditional but instead of just going with the age-old floral patterns, we work on geometric patterns. Even in terms of colours, we don’t just stick to the mundane red and turmeric yellow. We bring more colour to the traditional palette like beige, black and grey, and contrast it with the traditional red and peacock blue,” she says, adding that the important thing is to move ahead with the times. 

To make our heritage textiles popular, designers must contemporise so that it will appeal to the masses. She shares that there needs to be a spark of freshness in traditional designs to get traction in the market. 

Her efforts not only help her come out with modern collections in traditional textiles, but she has also helped various weaver communities by sharing her ideas with them and helping them make a contemporary product using their skill. “Their (the weavers) perspective towards their craft has changed. A lot of weavers were leaving their craft, but the younger generations realised that they can continue and make products which are more contemporary, and they are being educated in modernisation. My work is not only about creating products, but also educating the weavers and enabling and empowering them to look at continuing in their trade and artisan careers,”” says Sen. 

The collection available at the exhibition, describes Sen, includes fabrics that are suitable for the ongoing season which is ‘winter-moving-on-to-summer’. “You can wear these fabrics all year long. The silks are light and you could wear it day to night,” says she. 

Talking about the pocket squares and ties, she recalls how the men who came to her exhibitions always asked her why there isn’t something for them to shop for themselves. “I wanted to have something available for the men to pick up from my collection, so I started in a small way by introducing pocket squares and ties. It’s a little something you can give as gifts, it will add a splash of colour and style,” she says.  

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