Chennai's WeaveinIndia launches their sub-brand Akalico, taking inspiration from Pichwai artwork
Scroll down WeaveinIndia’s Instagram page and you’ll notice a difference in the change of colours from bright and bold pink bandhej and banarasi saris to a series of pastel pink and blues - a clear indication of how Mandira Bansal’s newest collection stands apart from the rest of her ensembles. Akalico launched a few weeks ago, with a brand new idea, formula and thought process - all under the mother brand WeaveinIndia which was earlier called Mandira Bansal Studio. Comprising over 30 different styles from placket saris to satin georgette dupattas, Akalico is Indian heritage in a contemporary package.
“I have always had a penchant for prints,” says 35-year-old designer, and the sole proprietor of luxury handloom brand WeaveinIndia. “In fact, when I passed out of NIFT in 2004, the collection that helped me win The Best Designer Award, was my collection on prints. Initially, I started with a design studio that had no focus on weavers. We never experimented enough with prints. But then I rebranded and WeaveinIndia happened in 2016, and things changed.” Mandira then dove into curating and creating clothes, by working with weavers from around India.
Akalico translates to untouched by time in the Pali, and that’s exactly what she intends to do with her designs and fabrics. “We want to create designs that are chic, clean, seamless and something you choose to wear every day,” says the London College of Fashion graduate. First hand painted and then digitally printed, the motifs primarily take inspiration from Pichwai artwork, that find their roots in Rajasthan. Find everything from their Padma (lotus) motifs, pearl-studded borders, garden motifs, Mughal jharokas and roses on these saris, that have interesting silhouettes like an ecru suit with placket detailing and scallop edges, hand-embroidered sari borders, “We have an active design team of four artists who are all graduates from NIFT, and the fabrics are also sourced from Bengaluru and Surat - two hubs that I feel have excellent access to good fabric,” explains Mandira adding that she chose these two cities for sourcing and printing due to the lack of a digital printing base in Chennai. They also use eco-printing techniques where the dyes and inks are all eco-friendly.
Mandira timed the launch in time for summer, and decided to go for a pastel palette with a few pop elements in it. Tuscan yellows, teal, vintage pink, and muted blues are some colours that dominate the palette. “We threw in one or two dark colours like the teal, which has been our best-selling colour, with a bird print called Jharoke-e-Pankh. My favourite, however, is the bifurcated maxi jumpsuit which is elegant and fun!” says Mandira. All the pieces are available at the store in Alwarpet, and will be up for sale for Pan India audience as well.
From Rs 5,500 to 23,000 approx
Available at their store in Chennai