Vogue India, Sep 2013

VogueIndiaGunjan Jain of Bhubaneshwar-based design studio Vriksh opened her exhibition titled Odisha: Beyond Ikat, at the studio space yesterday. Her autumn/winter collection of silk ikat and organic khadi-tussar blend saris explores traditional Odisha weaving techniques like Jala (extra-weft) and Bomkai.

Facing extinction thanks to migration and the growing popularity of the powerloom, Bomkai cotton saris (named after the village the technique originated in) are currently made by just three weavers, all part of the Vriksh community. The style is characterised by organic motifs — from bitter gourds to peacocks and fish — influenced by the weavers’ immediate environment.

“Right from the beginning, I was clear that Vriksh was not going to pretend to be a messiah of the weavers,” Jain says, adding that the weavers form the backbone of her brand’s entire design process. “It was the weavers who taught me the science of the handloom and their techniques, and shared their experiences and knowledge on the beautiful tradition of weaving.”

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