The plumes of the endemic birds of Pollachi inform Ethicus’ collection, Crossroads
The label uses the famous Madras checks to pay homage to the birds
Pollachi-based Vijayalakshmi Nachiar may be known in fashion circles as the woman who championed organic cotton and traditional Tamil Nadu weaves, but her love for birding is hardly talked about. Located practically in the lap of the Anaimalais, the campus where her ethical clothing brand Ethicus is housed is frequented by droves of endemic birds, and that’s what got her interested in the hobby. Now, she brings her two passions together through Crossroads, a collection of saris inspired by the colours of these birds, which will be on sale at Raintree this weekend.
“The colour pairings, the colour proportions and the interesting shades of these birds were what inspired me. As a designer, you can’t help but notice these things,” begins Vijayalakshmi, who has just completed an ornithology course from the Bombay Natural History Society.
The handcrafted organic cotton saris feature the traditional Madras checks in options such as black, deep red and royal blue (inspired by the Malabar Trogon), powder pink, slate grey, mustard yellow and light brown (Common Rose Finch) and forest green, lime and cobalt (Blue Bearded Bee Eater). “The dyes we use are not natural but stick to the regulations of the Global Organic Textile Standard,” she tells us. The collection with a vibrant colour story is geared towards a younger audience, but despite the multi-hued nature of the saris, Vijayalakshmi has aimed to keep it simple. “Our looms are jacquard looms, but I chose to keep it simple and let the colours and checks be the focus. It was also my intention to appeal to the younger generation in an effort to popularise the sari,” she explains.
In addition to Crossroads, she will also bring her line of Ajrakh, Bandhani and Chikankari saris.
Rs.6,000 upwards. Today and tomorrow. At Sankey Road