Ekaya X Arohi brings contemporary stripes to traditional Banarasi weaves

The collection includes saris, separates and co-ord sets

Rashmi Rajagopal Published :  23rd July 2021 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  23rd July 2021 12:00 AM

Palak Shah of Ekaya Banaras is known to create stunning collections out of unusual collaborations. In the past, she has worked with designers like Masaba and most recently, jewellery label Misho Designs. It’s safe to say that instead of singling out labels that have a similar aesthetic, Palak is open to experimentation, to put two contrasting brands together and marvel at the results. This time around, she has roped in her sister Arohi Shah for a drop that pairs the heft of heritage Banarasi weaves with the light, sharp and minimal aesthetic favoured by modern palates.

Organza shirt with silk trousers from the Ekaya X Arohi collection
Organza shirt with silk trousers from the Ekaya X Arohi collection

Compare and contrast
Arohi, a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, has worked at houses such as Oscar De La Renta and Proenza Schouler, and it is all these influences that have given the collection a distinct edge. “My sister’s design sensibilities are aligned more with anti-fit and androgynous silhouettes and working with Indian textiles is not something she has done extensively before. It was definitely an interesting challenge combining these two very different aesthetics,” shares Palak.

Ekaya’s reinvention of Banarasi motifs is one of the features that set the brand apart. For instance, in Heavenly Creatures, Palak used star- and moon-shaped motifs and in The Crossing, there were flamingoes and contemporary geometric patterns. In this collection, the sisters have worked with stripes and colour blocking for a fresh and youthful take on the traditional weaving technique.

Mint green and black stripes sari from the Ekaya X Arohi collection
Mint green and black stripes sari from the Ekaya X Arohi collection

Silk route

In addition to the saris, with ‘misplaced stripes’ (stripes that are not completely aligned) in hues such as silvery mint green and black, and mustard and pink, there are also elegant co-ord sets. From the dusty blue and coral striped shirt and cigarette pants, to the dreamy hot pink organza shirt and straight leg silk trousers in a matching hue, the colours are also a major draw. “My sister loves colour and the colours used are mostly her choice. She enjoyed mixing different combinations and I think the results are great. Also, the silks we’ve used are much lighter and there is a minimal amount of embellishment on each piece,” says Palak.

While this has been an equal partnership between the two sisters, Palak confesses that a collection like this was always on her mind but she just needed someone to take the lead. With Arohi having just graduated, it was the perfect time to get her involved. “I think this is what the younger generation wants and my sister has given voice to their needs,” she signs off.

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