Textile Tradition with a Twist! – A Fashion Trend Report

textile clothing with sewing tools

Today fashion is synonymous with bold prints, beautiful colors, and clothes tailored to suit the global citizen. Today, fashion is the first frontier one has to cross. As they say, ‘The first impression matters.’ And today, the first impression is based on clothes, individual style, etc.


Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.

-Rachel Zoe

 


 

And in the pursuit of style, people have lived for centuries. Everywhere in the world, culture is eternal style. This is doubly true for a country like India. India was, and always has been, a center of trade and commerce. This is because, to put it simply, nature itself has blessed the land.

In keeping with this truth, India has a diverse and rich textile tradition. Excavations at Harappa & Mohenjo Daro have unearthed weaving instruments and cloth; The Rig Veda too has mentions of weaving. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, both mention the attire of the people at the time. And literature about ancient India, in any language, describes apparel and its origins and significance- from both commercial and aesthetic viewpoints.

Silks, Brocades, Patola, etc, are facbrics that have wowed the world. The Indian textile industry has the potential to cross a turnover of USD 350 Billion by 2025, according to the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry.

Working with the apparel industry, we have seen the demand and interest that these fabrics, and Indian printing techniques generate. In fact, these textiles inspire modern designers from all over the world.

At IntelligenceNODE, we have observed how people may wear western silhouettes, but prefer Indian prints. And we know just how much you use them to connect with the modern consumer, who has a mind steeped in culture.

So here is a trend report on the age old prints of India- and how you can benefit from them still.

Ikat

Ikat fabrics actually gained worldwide acclaim when they were used as a form of currency on the fabled Silk Road. The word Ikat comes from a word in Malay that means “to bind or wind around”. Ikats were woven all over Central Asia in the 19th Century and exported.


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Today, everyone loves Ikat. Recently, Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars) wore ikat pants to the MTV Movie Awards. The bold prints are loved by the modern millennial. Everyone- from Forever 21 to Oscar de La Renta have done ikat.


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And the print is everywhere- from apparel to shoes and sandals to bags and accessories. Not to mention home decor and furnishings and other home accessories.


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Batik

The word ‘batik’ has been translated to mean ‘to dot’. The origins of these arts are difficult to unearth, because they were in existence before people started documenting lives even. Although, evidence suggests that batik existed 2000 years ago as well.


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Batik prints, too have been immortalized in apparel by designers today. Van Noten and Gucci used batik for their collection on the runway. Batik is used by eCommerce players today- and we buy it without even realizing it. Like this batik print dress available on Fashionara.


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Kalamkari

This art form- also called organic printing, literally means ‘pen work.’ The Kalamkari artist uses a bamboo or date palm stick pointed at one end with a bundle of fine hair attached to this pointed end to serve as the brush or pen.


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Historically, even the colors were prepared using parts of plants- roots, leaves, mineral salts with iron, tin, copper, alum, etc. The traders and merchants across the world used Kalamkari paintings as currency in the spice trade.


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In fact, designer Neishaa Gharat has been incorporating kalamkari art in modern jackets, thus creating a collusion of art and fashion.


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Bandhani

This technique exists since pre-historic times. Bandhani existed even when Alexander the Great traversed the world and reached India. The term `Bandhani` is derived from the word `Bandhan` that means tying up. Places in Rajasthan like Jaipur, Sikar, Bhilwara, and in Gurjarat are the well known centres producing odhnis, sarees and turbans in Bandhani.


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eCommerce sites such as www.theindiacrafthouse.com are known for selling these textiles. Anita Dongre used the textile for her Winter/Festive collection in 2014.


 

 


These are just broad names for the fabrics and textiles that are in use today- by the creators of fashion. Many methods exist to get such prints on apparel. Some were lost to us over time. But culture conscious designers have been instrumental in reviving these arts.

Now a days, there are special boutiques where curated Indian apparel is created and sold. Online and Offline. Like Anokhi, Soma, Utsav Fashions, etc. These textiles are coveted- because they give a twist to the conventional and unconventional alike.


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One of the greatest questions marks retailers face when marketing Traditional Textiles is reinvention.

Will pants with ikat prints sell as well as the plain wash ones? Will people see bandhani beyond the traditional and use it in daily wear? Will outsourcing these fabrics and prints work? And should I work with designers in the ‘revival’ of these fabrics? Many designers today are adopting villages and giving a push to trade. But is this commercially viable?

These products, individually, are expensive for many. Internationally also, they are coveted. Which means higher selling points. But there is an easy way to market these textiles- and make sure that people start seeing these at the same level as they see other apparel.

In management terms, it is called ‘Product Bundling.’ Simply put, it meas you can combine several products and offer them at a reduced price. This strategy works for many perishable products and other, especially household, items.


 

Let us extrapolate. Many websites talk about the ‘look.’ A particular style. A bridal look or a 90s look for example. And they have a button saying- ‘Shop the Look.’ But these require the consumer to pick out individual products. With some well placed analysis, as to what a a particular consumer likes; you can decide as to what look he or she would love to shop. And then with some more analysis considering logistics, demand and attributes in mind, you can create individual product bundles- that will compel shoppers to buy.


 

 

This is a very effective way to attain optimum pricing- from a consumer’s view point. And in the long run, it will provide traction toward certain product cycles; when people will start trusting a brand selling local textiles, they will not hesitate to buy at differential price points.

At IntelligenceNODE, we believe that true optimization involves understanding your consumer and giving them more than what they seek. We know this is your sincere effort every time. And ours too!