Crafts from the past
Akshaya M Rajee, owner of online accessory and clothing outlet Desically Ethnic is reviving less-known art and crafts from around the country
Fashion is art. This is probably why there is a clear shift among buyers in India, especially Kerala, from mass-produced clothes, accessories and even decor, to unique, handmade ones. Akshaya M Rajee and her online store Desically Ethnic are catering to this new wave of conscious fashion.
With its new collection, the brand is reviving two dying art and craft forms — blue pottery and Patwa of Rajasthan — while also helping artisans of both communities find a livelihood. Akshaya is also earing up to release dresses and lightweight sarees made from vegan silk to uplift the handloom community in Chinnalapatti, Tamil Nadu. Akshaya is planning to launch the new collection through an offline event which will be held in Thiruvananthapuram.
Blue pottery is a traditional ceramic craft from Jaipur. It used to be an exquisite artistic technique used mostly for decorative purposes. During the Mughal reigns, it used to be part of architecture and utensils.
“But with time, the technique has become obsolete. Those who still do it, make handicraft products using blue pottery for a living. Rather than bringing out a product line, I want to explore such unknown and declining craftsmanship and try to support them. We worked with a few blue pottery artisans to create jewellery pieces using small, ceramic, hand-painted beads which are joined using patwa thread works. Only three traditional families are into this thread craft, which can be used to make eye-catching tassels and beads. The designs of neckpieces and earrings made combining the two crafts will be unique and pocket friendly too,” says Akshaya.
The sustainable accessories go well with western and ethnic wear. It is skin-friendly and suits women of all age groups. “The lineup will also have metal beads joined in patwa craft. I want people to touch the jewellery and experience the intricate designs. With the offline launch, I wish to create awareness about such obsolete crafts so that other fashion designers can also explore them,” she says.
For those who wish to embrace lightweight fabric, the Chinnalapattu vegan silk dresses and sarees are the best picks this summer. Vegan silk has threads made using banana pith fibre. The collection has readymades maxi dresses with different sleeve patterns and handloom sarees that suit every occasion.
“Old or young, everyone can drape these sarees smoothly as they are lightweight. The shades are a mix of bright and dark hues suitable for every skin type,” says Akshaya.