Hyderabad's Ilamra weaves lost kalamkari motifs and modern designs in their new collection, Culture
When sisters Yashila (22) and Trishala Nara (25) were looking for a name for their label, they chose Ilamra derived from three Sanskrit words — ila (Earth), amra (mango) and ra (Sun). The name brings together their memories from childhood — lying under the mango trees and talking about everything there is. “Our relationship with nature has been strong since our childhood and we thrive on all things South Indian like masala dosas, pickles, pattu saris, jasmine flowers in the hair and filter coffee. Our designs reflect that too,” says Yashila, as we chatted about their new collection, Culture. They were also intrigued by their mom and her sister’s efforts of recycling old saris into dresses for them and grew up imbibing the idea of upcycling. Hence, their design aesthetics are also rooted in Earth-friendly textiles, dyes and are sustainable at heart.
Their new capsule collection, Culture, offers occasion wear crafted with mul and organic cotton. We are told that these fabrics have been created by second-generation artisans in Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh. The top picks of their collection include shararas, crop tops and dresses. Most of the collection is made-to-measure, apart from the saris.
“With this, we wanted to revive lost kalamkari motifs like the turtles which one can’t spot much nowadays. If you see our kalamkari prints, it is hardly run-of-the-mill, as we scout for the ones that are no longer seen these days,” says Yashila. When they started a year ago with handblock printing and chemical dyes, they realised they were not happy with the results, hence decided to switch to organic cotton, natural dyes and kalamkari. Now their entire collection is centred on this weave.
Their travels to Kerala to their aunt’s ancestral house also inspired the motifs of the saris, such as fish, nutmeg and chambakaya and peppercorn.“We draw inspiration from nature, a mundane everyday life, people, history, space, museums, empty streets, books, music, but mostly from our travels,” says the handloom enthusiast and designer, signing off.
Rs.1,300 to Rs.18,0000.