The 5th Walking Hand-in-Hand event, a yearly fashion showcase conducted by the CDS Art Foundation, Ahmedabad, aims to give a global platform to India's indigenous and heritage handloom crafts. For a craft to survive and thrive in the dynamic world, there needs to exist a harmonious union of its past and present, as is beautifully depicted in the creative collaborations between fashion designers and master artisans. It was a delightful experience for us as a brand to be a part of this event, where our team of artisans, designers and weavers, spearheaded by our founder Mr Rajaram and our managing partner for operations Mr Shankar, worked alongside fashion designer Shefali Khanna on showcasing the timeless Kanchipuram weave in a new avatar.
As a craft that has cruised through centuries and been the centre of cultural conversations, every Kanchipuram saree that we weave is a culmination of its prestigious past and present possibilities. Amidst its warp and wefts, we find an enchanting medium, beseeching us to explore boundaries, express creativity, embody versatility and embark on transformations that transcend time. The raison d'être behind this collaboration, was to weave together ideas and innovations that bring out the best of both worlds and create a collection that is in equal measure both vintage and in vogue. A canvas offers the artist a space to create, express and innovate limitlessly, as does the Kanchipuram weave does for its weavers and designers. With firm roots in our timeless traditions, the opportunity to create a collaborative collection stirred the wind beneath our wings. Vintage Vogue opened up a world of possibilities to us, as a brand, and sparked the desire to explore boundaries and beyond through the timeless Kanchipuram weave. By incorporating current day design language into its folds, we enable the weave to stay a step ahead of its game and celebrate its passionate and picturesque prints, palettes and pizzazz.
Personifying a symphony of old-world charm and present-day flair, the multifaceted Kanchipuram weaves urge one to indulge in its versatility. Carrying a legacy of 4 centuries in its every thread, weave, pleat and hue, its fashion transformation was enhanced by the passionate perspective and innovative process of designer Shefali Khanna. Join us in walking down the memory lane with her to get a glimpse of her experience on bringing this collection to life.
What is it about Sundari Silks that strikes a chord with you and that you truly love and appreciate?
Ahh! Where do I begin? The moment I entered Raja Ram Ji’s office, I felt a sense of peace and calm. It was an instant spiritual connection. His love for divinity, his service towards humanity and his love for the craft inspired me. I felt the same ethereal aura in their experiential showroom that was rooted in human values, old school charm and a sense of inclusive luxury. Every Kanchipuram textile I put my hands on was woven with pristine quality and I was transported to my creative playground right there, visualising our collaborative collection.
How was your experience working on this project, right from the collaboration with our team to your thought process behind it?
Working with Asif Shaikh, founder of CDS Art Foundation and CDS Lifetime Achievement award winner and artisan Rajaram Ji has been simply priceless. We knew we wanted to channel the “made in India, made for the world” direction and leverage this platform to showcase the best of the best Kanchipuram silk sarees ever seen. Being rooted in classic dense patterns and decadent colours but equally abundant in its contemporary flair. Intensive research on patterns, motifs and colour combinations was undertaken to revive forgotten treasures.
Along with the designers, I started experimenting with the pleating technique and pairing the fabric with raw silk handlooms. My challenge was to rethink Kanchipuram sarees and twist them into multiple silhouettes adorned by a global fashion-forward audience. I focused on emphasizing the versatility of the textile craft without diluting its legacy.
What is your opinion on this beautiful marriage between traditional and modern styles? Where do you see the design trends moving towards in the future?
It is how beautifully you engage the audience with an amalgamation of traditional roots and 21st-century language woven together. The future belongs to those who can upload the tradition of authentic textile craft with pride and preserve and innovate at the same time for the global audience. I have immense respect for those who would create a platform to enable cross border collaborations between the art, design and tailoring communities without industrializing the business with sub-par products in the name of efficient mass production.
An eminent elegance transcends through generations in the form of a Kanchipuram weave, as traditional techniques converage with modern methods of fabricate a statement piece. Explore boundaries and beyond of this magnificent drape with us through our latest Vintage Vogue collection that is now available in our Chennai showroom and online store.