Bag that: Why potlis are the ultimate accessory picks for weddings
The Banarasi brocade potlis are for the modern Indian woman who wants to pick on sass and tradition in a utilitarian flair
Recall the days when our grandmothers used to give us coins from a quaint, pouch-like cloth bag secured with a drawstring at the top! These bags, popular as the traditional potli bags, transcended mere functionality; they possess a deep connection with ancient India. Even today, women in Rajasthan and Gujarat proudly carry them where they dazzle with mirror work, sequins, threadwork, and pearl embroidery.
Bengal showcases the artistry of kantha embroidery on potlis, while Madhya Pradesh features the exquisite chikankari and Gond art on their surface. In the vibrant state of Punjab, up North, potlis shimmer with the lively colours of phulkari. This wedding season, potli bags have emerged as the choicest style statement for brides, offering a perfect fusion of practicality and enticing designs, suitable for every occasion — be it mehendi, sangeet, or the wedding day itself! Bringing their old world charm, homegrown accessory brand Tan and Loom has launched The Potli Project 2023. The collection is a unique offering from the brand which has mainly offered business and leisure fit bags. Its new collection caters to the wedding needs of the modern Indian woman where traditional potlis are recreated with a contemporary and utilitarian flair.
Founder Rukmini Guha found the inspiration in the opulent Banarasi brocade fabric of Varanasi during a short trip to Kashi. “I often take design inspiration from my travels and it was one such trip to Banaras that stirred my curiosity for the Banarasi brocade. I had visited Banaras for a family wedding in 2022 with my mother and as two textile enthusiasts, we took out time to visit multiple local hand-loom weavers even during our short three-day stay. Upon visiting the local craftsmen and learning about the silk and brocade variants with which I could make durable bags, my mother encouraged me to use it in my new collection. There is no denying that Bengalis have a special connection with the Banarasi fabric, so we were confident that it would be well received!”
The collection features five new shades of potlis, each one holding a cultural significance in the great Indian wedding season. “Deep maroon is considered auspicious for married women. Gold is always fitting for wedding fashion and is also a versatile colour that can be paired with any outfit. Rani pink draws from deep rich pink of rubies favoured by the Indian royalty. It’s also second to red when it comes to bridal fashion. Marigold is a vibrant hue used in festivities, haldi and mehendi ceremonies. Forest green is a versatile hue that is often contrasted with pink and red for a traditional look,” tells Rukmini, who has a keen eye for detail.
The bags are embellished with brocade and intricate golden threadwork. Time-honoured designs such as betel leaf and floral motifs enhance their antique charm. The structural design is equally distinctive, with some bags resembling cylindrical buckets, while others feature a detachable strap, adding a multipurpose element. These versatile bags can be carried as slings or cross-body, seamlessly complementing both traditional and IndoWestern attires.
Price on request. Available online.