Sihali Jageer to showcase Summer Edit 2023, Khayaal, in Chennai 

The designer, who is showcasing her collection for the first time in Chennai, is being hosted by none other than the first lady of fashion, Rehane at the Taj Club House. 
Ensemble from Sihali Jageer's Summer Edit 2023, Khayaal.
Ensemble from Sihali Jageer's Summer Edit 2023, Khayaal.

The relationship between poetry and fashion has proved itself to be a rich one. But how does one translate poetry into wearable clothes? For designer Aisha Ashraf, it meant weaving calligraphy on exquisite hand-woven fabrics using cutwork, patchwork and intricate embroidery.

“Sometimes, life with all its complex manifestations can’t be expressed as casually as we speak. This pulls us to shayari to express our deepest emotions. The new collection is inspired by the great poets Amir Khusro, Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal, and Asrarul Haq Majaz. This collection is like a flash of thought, which connects us to the beauty of life,” says Aisha, about the inspiration behind her label Sihali Jageer’s Summer Edit 2023, Khayaal.

The designer, who is showcasing her collection for the first time in Chennai, is being hosted by none other than the first lady of fashion, Rehane, in her boutique at the Taj Club House. 

“Our Summer 2023 collection is inspired by the process of turning thoughts into reality. The designs went on a journey from our imagination and inspiration of poetry to them being beautifully etched on paper, to then being translated on lovely chanderis, organzas, tissue linens, banarasi and cotton. Our designs reflect the heritage and the legacy passed onto us,” says Aisha, the main designer, who has lived in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Dubai among other places. She draws her inspiration both from her traditions, as well as from the tropics.  

The label, spearheaded by Aisha, along with Renu Rana and Ursala Jung, shines light on the rich artisanal heritage of the Sihali Jageer community in Uttar Pradesh. Aisha and Ursala, sisters belonging to the Sihali Jageer family, are both bankers by profession. Renu hails from the ruling Rajput family of Jawalagarh. They gave in to the temptation of bringing the rich heritage of this unique region to the world and finally decided to follow their heart. “We wanted to preserve this rich heritage by introducing to the world the traditions and fineries we have grown up with. And that’s how Sihali Jageer was born. The brand reflects the ethos of the place and its rich cultural heritage,” says Aisha.

The focus is on ethnic fabrics, weaves, embroidery, Indian attire of lesser known and undervalued rural traditions. “We combine these traditional garments with contemporary needs and more daring clothing styles to achieve a synthesis of style, comfort, and heritage,” she says.

Giving a glimpse of the rich history of the place, and the inception of the label, Aisha tells us that 400 years ago, Afridi Pathans settled in an estate in Northern India called Sihali Jageer, in what is today the Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh.

“The estate covered regions with predominant Rajput Chauhans, and extended from Hasanpur to Gajraula. In the neighbourhood was also Barah Basti, 12 villages inhabited by local Rajputs as well as settlements of Yusufzai and Lodi Pathans. It was here that a gradual fusion of marital cultures took place between the different Pathan tribes and the local Rajputs. We bring you these rich traditions, passed from one generation to the next, adapted to modern lifestyles and needs.” 

To create designs that carry Pathani and Rajputana aesthetics, the designers fuse luscious textiles with regional hand embroidery. The latest edit features mostly traditional designs like Khalidar kurtas, angrakhaas, and anarkalis with a few contemporary designs. They have used mixed fabrics in each and every garment, which is embellished with the age-old embroidery craft of kaamdani (mukaish) work.

“Our designs are a blend. Just like the fabric of our country, we blend heritage and legacy into contemporary and modern designs. We have used English colours, or Sufiyana colours, which are soft, muted and understated. We emphasise refined taste, understated elegance, and an appreciation of craftsmanship over ostentatious designs,” she signs off.

Rs 15,000 onwards.
August 18 & 19, 2023.
At Taj Club House, Mount Road.


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