Gurgaon-based online sari store Chidiyaa makes its Chennai debut with their latest fashion exhibition
Be it a mustard-ivory block printed cotton top or a maroon mandarin-collared kurta, 37-year-old Pooja Gupta’s love affair with Ajrakh is reflected in her brand, Chidiyaa. The three-year-old label has been working with this indigenous block print since their inception, and has ever since carved out a niche for herself in the sari circuit. With over 3,000 saris from her latest collection, she will be in the city over the weekend for her first exhibition event. “I am not a fashion designer,” she says, as we start to talk and adds, “I have worked in insurance for over a decade, but I am an artist. Chidiyaa happened since I liked to paint. And since I like minimal patterns, I decided to start a label that would have sustainable clothes with minimalistic block prints that I have designed.” To set up, Pooja travelled around the country extensively where she went from weaver to weaver, factory to factory looking for the perfect tailor, block printing unit and fabrics. After travelling to Sanganer for Sanganeri prints and Jaipur for Jaipuri prints,
Pooja eventually chose Ajrakh because she felt it spoke to her the most. “You have to know where your fabrics are coming from. You have to feel them first,” she adds. Her block maker unit is in Ahmedabad, to whom she goes with her first design for the block. It is printed at a workshop in Ajrakhpur in Bhuj and then sent to her studio in Gurgaon. “Ajrakh is an intricate fabric, and has ten steps from washing to drying to printing, and then repeating this all over again,” she says, adding that instead of going the traditional way of using several colours, she has stuck to just two colours.
For the Chennai showcase, Pooja will be bringing down mul mul and linen saris, owing to the warmer climate that the city experiences throughout the year. “The linen that we source is from Phulia in Kolkata, a small village where women weavers have a loom in their kitchen or verandas. This linen is then hand-dyed, and then printed in the block design that is exclusive to Chidiyaa. One linen sari takes about a month for them to make, and they also have a range of crop-top blouses to add that modern twist to your traditional ensemble. Watch out for their block-printed crop-top blouses with bell sleeves, their ivory blue overlap crop-top blouse and their gorgeous sab green overlap block-printed crop-top blouse in Mashru silk.
Linen saris start at `8,200.
On December 1 and 2.