On Sustainable Fashion Day at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2020, Eka by designer Rina Singh presented an unconventional take on Telangana textiles in collaboration with the Telangana State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society Ltd (TSCO). Stirred by the modern spirit of ‘Jo March’ from Louisa May Alcott’s 19th century classic, ‘The Little Women’, Eka’s Autumn-Winter 2020 collection explores different paths to female self-actualisation with a deeply romantic aesthetic.
A registered apex organization for Telangana State (Govt. undertaking), TSCO’s main motto is to up-lift the handloom sector by providing continuous employment and Market access to handloom weavers. Govt. of Telangana State extends support to TSCO by directing all the state government welfare departments to purchase their required cloth through TSCO only. TSCO also provides requisite training including development of new designs to the weavers and special efforts have been put forth to revive the languishing handloom products such as Gollabhama Sarees, Pitambari Sarees, Armoor Sarees and Himroo Fabric.
One of the interesting additions is the buniyaad machine that will increase productivity as well as quality. The Ministry of Textiles has planned to give 20 machines to the cluster.
“Our main motto with this collaboration is to enable skill development at the grass root level that would in turn create employment opportunities for the artisans. While the artisans are masters of their craft, the design intervention brought about by Rina Singh of Eka showcases the textiles of Telangana in a new light. With Lakmé Fashion Week’s global outreach and Eka’s scale of international business we truly look forward to globalizing Telangana textile,” Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana government.
“I am excited and honoured to partner with TSCO to showcase the development of Telangana textiles at Lakme Fashion Week. It is a special region, the fabrics are one-of-a kind and so dexterous in terms of the levels of skill involved. There is a lot of scope to undertake craft-based projects in the area and bring these textiles to the global stage” – Rina explained.
Eka worked with weavers in Telangana associated with project Reweave. Reweave is Microsoft’s philanthropic initiative for reviving handloom ecosystems through providing digital skills, design interventions and market access. Weavers are able to create new designs through training in CAD and get access to newer markets.
With her extensive understanding of India and the modern world, Rina has worked with patterns, colour combinations and yarn blends that lend a commercially viable and contemporary look to the traditional product. Block print textiles, wool & wool-silk plaids and stripes, along with velvets and hand painted embroideries have been presented in the brand’s signature, loosely shaped diaphanous dresses, pleated skirts, boxy jackets, oversized pea coats and tiered layers.
The designer has developed unconventional patterns with double and single ikat clusters of Kovalguddam, new blends with thigh-reeled tussar silk textile clusters from Mahadevpur and cotton textile weaves from Narayanpet. Another special addition is that of pure merino wool ikat, developed in the Pochampally handloom park to accessorise the collection. By focusing on methodology and skill upgradation of weavers, these remodelled versions of traditional fabric are created with lighter yarns and denser count construction.
The AW20 collection celebrates the art of unconventional dressing as a powerful expression of modern femininity. Inspired by Jo March’s transformation from a young tomboy to a woman of poise, the collection merges Eka’s signature silhouettes with a new sense of exquisite detailing. The designer indulges an orchestral mix of silhouettes, textures and colours ranging from delicate lace, velvet layers and wool plaid and organza applique. Making a confident entry on the ramp to close the show was internationally renowned tennis star, Sania Mirza who looked fabulous in a hand painted and embroidered single hand-woven diamond Ikat cotton jacket with block printed 100 per cent silk lining with organza tie-ups. She wore this over a stylish printed spaghetti top and velvet wide-leg hand embroidered trousers.
Garments are further enhanced with hand-painted renderings inspired by Austin artist, Starla Halfmann’s work. Unique botanicals and paisleys are interspersed with ikat patterns, adding a touch of opulence to the season. Metallic hand-knitted zardozi trims have been upcycled as delicate flowers and detailed inserts like collars, cuffs, plackets and embellished belts.
The ‘Eka’ label by Rina Singh’s collection called “Jo- the nonconformist” was a modern showcase of homegrown fabric, unseen patterns and detail, created with the textile from Telangana State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society Ltd (TSCO).