THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the tribal hamlets, there is a hand-embroidery art which richly uses the motifs of animals. It has almost disappeared, with not many practising the art. Hyderabad-based fashion designer Lalita Choudhary who has taken a fancy to it is trying to learn it. She occasionally makes trips to Wayanad to learn this disappearing art.
Her name is synonymous with the ancient fabric of Haryana, the Reza. She is known for reviving the centuries-old Reza and bringing it to the fashion circuits. Her Indo-Western range has been featured in the New York Fashion Week, not to mention other famous fashion hubs. She had recently held a fashion show wherein she created couture for acid attack survivors who also walked the ramp. “The fabric Reza is soft, anti-bacterial and good for the skin. It doesn’t irritate the skin like other fabrics,” says Lalita.
She arrived at the capital as part of the skill training programme by the Scheduled Caste Department. The programme provides training in weaving and in making surface ornament through block printing.
“Training starts with equipping them with enough knowledge to repair their looms, so they needn’t depend on anyone. Here, we are teaching them the art of processing fabric without starch. We are also introducing a new technique for warping, which will save time, manpower and is not taxing. We have set up the new warping machine here,” says Lalita who has been in the fashion industry for the past 12 years.
With a background in Ayurveda, this fashion designer has vast knowledge on herbs, and thus incorporates medicinal herbs into the fabric.
The training programme will delve into weaving, creating designs and giving an uber-cool spin to the textile industry. “No one is attracted to plain colours. You need to make the handloom fabric rich with prints. The colour palette needs to change. Over the past several years, the focus has been on the same type of colour patterns, simple weaves and not much experimentations on the design sector. We intend to change this and the focus should be on creating export-worth couture,” says Lalita.