Sunita Shanker launches Tangible Memories and Flowing Rhythm

Sunita Shanker’s latest collections are all about kantha and bandhani
Pieces  from the  collections
Pieces from the collections

A celebrated craft based fashion and textile designer, Sunita Shanker is a prominent voice for preservation of Indian crafts. She has been associated with rural Indian crafts and handloom for almost 30 years now. She has also served as a consultant to the Ministry of Textiles and worked in different crafts, engaging in the design and development of textiles and products. Her commitment to the sector helped her to harness the exemplary skills of textile artisans. Hence, this has gained her the required insights into sustainable livelihoods and designs. Furthermore, the enriched experience she gained from her travels and her work with the crafts sector equipped her with the appropriate soft skills, and over time, Sunita has succeeded in endorsing and propagating the importance of handmade in India. Her design is a unique interpretation of style that seamlessly merges fashion and tradition, while maintaining a balance between traditional crafts and the design aesthetics.

Sunita has now launched two new collections titled Tangible Memories and Flowing Rhythm. Retracing the traditional practice of art of Kantha for up-cycling old textiles and making utility articles, an initiative was taken to work with skilled Kantha artisans in rural Bengal to breathe new life into a collection of old saris. “These old saris, once used as offerings to deities in temples, were collected over the past five years, in an effort to retain their cultural relevance. A cohesive team of karigars painstakingly worked in harmony, transforming a piece of textile into wearable art,” Sunita says as she elaborates on Tangible Memories, a collection of Kantha.

She adds, “A thorough sorting was followed by a cleaning process to remove vermillion and turmeric stains. In due course of time, they were hand-dyed in deep tones of plum, blue, midnight green and black.  A creative team of women artisans in Bengal then worked their magic into the textiles, re-modeling into classic wear like jackets and dresses. Textures, floral motifs and a few geometrical motifs feature in the Kantha collection.”

Sunita believes transformation is a powerful way to preserve memories as a tangible reminder of the past and experiences shaping lives. As such, these textiles have been imbued in cultural importance and are tangible reminders of experiences, traditions and identities.

The second collection, Flowing Rhythm is all about bandhani. The theme for the edit is based on the rhythm in which the fragrant branches swing in gentle breeze, with a few sprigs afloat, creating patterns. “With the interplay of dots in rows and clusters, placed consecutively or singularly, forming patterns, the evolution of creative vocabulary stems from understanding and working with the existing traditional techniques. Bandhani enhances the beauty and adds cultural value to the collection. For this collection, I have explored the techniques to create designs of motifs. The colours used are predominantly blue, Prussian, royal blue, indigo, red, carmine, rich maroon, midnight green and black,” Sunita shares.

Both Kantha and Bandhani collections comprise of jackets, long and cropped, dresses, tunics, shirts, skirts. Pin tucked basics like trousers, and camisoles. Each piece of garment can be coordinated according to the individual’s choice.

Price starts at Rs 15,000.
November 22 to 24. 11 am to 7.30 pm. 
At The Folly, Amethyst, Royapettah.

X: @rupsjain

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