Almost every state in India has its signature weave when it comes to sarees. Threads of colour are woven into figurines of birds, animals, lush motifs or geometric shapes to make the iconic form of a saree. Scroll to see selected traditional weaves and gorgeous drapes from all over the country featured in the newest collections of different homegrown designers.
The craft of Bandhani was started by the Khatri Community of Gujarat. The word `Bandhani` is derived from the word ‘Bandhan’ which refers to the technique of tie-and-dye. It involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with a thread at several points, and producing an intricate combination of patterns throughout the fabric. It is mainly practiced in Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan.
From Anita Dongre’s ‘An Ode to Bhuj’ collection comes this gorgeous flowing Deeta Bandhani Saree. For those who prefer a light saree that is easy to drape, this classic red is the way to go.
Arguably one of the most famous types of sarees, a Banarasi saree originates from the ancient city of Varanasi. The drapes are known for their gold-and-silver brocade or zari, silk and opulent embroidery. Since 2009, ‘Banaras Brocades and sarees,’ even have their Geographical Indication (GI) tag, to preserve the hard work and save the livelihood of the weaves in the region of Uttar Pradesh.
This handloom saree brand just launched its store in Mehrauli, Delhi, and with it released a collection of real zari sarees. This Neelambari real zari silk handwoven in an opulent and intricate floral design. The zari of each saree is a culmination of four generations of research and heritage.
Available at Shanti Banaras’ New Delhi store, or buy here
A traditional red saree from Ekaya’s Wedding Edit is bound to be a sound investment. This particular piece is handwoven and will take about 3-4 weeks to grace your closet.
The weaving culture of Chanderi emerged between the 2nd and 7th centuries. These drapes are mainly produced from three kinds of fabric: pure silk, Chanderi cotton and silk cotton. The charm of Chanderi fabric lies in its gossamer thin softness and rich shiny texture. The sarees have always been famous for their subtle pastel hues.
This Chanderi midnight blue cotton saree comes with a cutwork border and pallu, that is embellished with Swarovski crystals. You can pair it with the sleeveless jagged neckline crop top that it comes with, or pick a traditional blouse for a more dressy outfit.
These sarees are embroidered to be extremely realistic and nuanced. Predominantly worn by the Parsi community during weddings and special occasions, Gara embroidery was brought into India when the Parsis from India would travel to China for trade. It is said that one of the traders brought back a new kind of artistic flora and fauna embroidery. This meticulous thread work was then adopted by the wealthy Parsi community that had newly settled in Bombay. It was traditionally made using Shamu satin and thick Crepe de Chine, however, currently crepe fabric is commonly used.
Ashdeen Z. Lilaowala, an award-winning textile designer is known for his revivalist work on the Parsi Gara. His eponymous label specialises in hand-embroidered sarees using the old craft. Their latest collection is Summer Rose 2021, inspired by the ephemeral rose, and is coloured is pastel hues.
Originally known as Dhakai, after the city of Dhaka in Bangladesh, Jamdani adopted its current moniker due to the Persian language of the Mughal court. It is a fine muslin textile, decorated with geometric and floral imagery. The historic production of Jamdani was patronized by the rich Mughal emperors.
During his Lakmé Fashion Week 2021 show, designer Gaurang Shah showcased his ‘Chand’ collection of silk Kota Jamdani Sarees. The award-winning heritage textile and fashion designer displayed creations from Dhaka, Benares, Kota, Srikakulam, Uppada, Venkatgiri, Kashmir and Paithan.
A saree as timeless as can be. If you have a Kanchipuram, chances are it has been passed down through the generations. Originally from a town named Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, the weave has a history of 150 years. These sarees are known for their durability, and their motifs are inspired by temple imagery. It is generally worn as a bridal and special occasion saree, and is known to be durable due to its thick weave.
A Kanchipuram saree is considered a must-have in every Indian woman’s closet. This green silk Kanchipuram saree is traditional in its dark green hue, is dotted with mango motifs, and completed with a bright pink border.
Dating back to the 11th century, Patolas are synonymous with the town of Patan in Gujarat. Legend has it that silk weavers of the Salvi caste from Maharashtra went to Gujarat in the 12th century to acquire the patronage of the Chalukya Rajputs. These kings used to dress in patola silk on special occasions, popularising it among the wealthy. This double ikat woven saree, is usually made from silk, and the process to weave it is extremely labour-heavy. It can take six months to a year to make.
A designer celebrating weaves from across the country, Ayush Kejriwal only creates limited pieces of each of his designs. This double ikat handwoven saree is embroidered with gota and sitara work, and can be paired with a simple blouse.
Hailing from the royal family of the medieval town of Paithan near Aurangabad, the Paithani has long been a favourite of Maharashtrian brides. Named after the town of its origin, the saree is believed to have been originally made with the finest silk threads from China and local pure zari. Traditional motifs include peacocks and lotuses, swans, while the pallu usually consists of Muniya, a parrot that is coloured in a vivid green and red.
From Only Paithani’s Diwali Edit comes this woven blue lotus border paithani. The brand also just opened a store in Hyderabad for their variety of 100 per cent silk and cotton drapes.