‘A great while ago, when the world was full of wonders, one of the rulers of the city of Margilan lost his heart to the pretty daughter of a poor weaver. The weaver, however, was reluctant about the match and pleaded to the monarch to withdraw the offer. The king then laid down one condition for fulfilling his wish- the weaver was to create something innately unique, so as to surpass the beauty of his young daughter. And that is when the weaver produced his most exquisite textile- The Ikat.’
With its rare identity and mystified exquisiteness, the beauty of the Ikat lies unmatched to this day. The textile was named ‘han-atlas’, meaning the ‘king’s silk’, owing to its exclusive history. It is also addressed as the ‘resist technique’ in modern times, the geographical origination of the Ikat garments in the ancient age is not particularly known. Being the mysterious work of beauty that it is, Ikat rapidly grew popular in Central Asia and evolved in other independent locations. Western cultures were quick to adopt Ikat, which travelled to Europe via Dutch traders along the Silk Road. In 18th century France, silk producers seeking an exotic-looking manufacture tuned to Ikat.
Today, Ikat has become as trendy as anything ancient can ever claim to be; a captivating example of the most prized possessions of Indian ethnicity. Its precious motifs make the technique stand apart and a favorite among art-lovers. The fact that the technique has developed an altogether new range of products is fascinating to anyone who holds an eye for quirk, as a matter of fact! Done on draped dresses, capes, traditional womenswear, clutches, etc, it has set a benchmark for all things elite.
Done on draped dresses, capes, traditional womenswear, clutches, etc, it has set a benchmark for all things elite.
Accompanied by a strong bohemian vibe, the design essentially adds color and frivolity to a garment. Traditional Ikat patterns were inspired heavily by nature’s very own. The light composure of the clouds, the green of nature’s foliage, the added color of the tulip-petals, or the natural palette of the rainbow; everything is a part of the colossal image of the weaver who creates the masterpiece on cloth.
The most famous and complex of the Ikat textiles are the ‘patola’ of Gujarat. Known for their intricate and precisely planned designs, they are closely associated with warp and weft. Essentially worn as sarees, they are also used as style statements in ceremonial functions like weddings to drape the bride and the groom. However, its distinction from other techniques of its kind comes with the complex and unique process it goes through.
Differing from typical dyeing methods, the process of Ikat designing involves dyeing the threads before they are woven into textiles. The complexity revolves around this very step as it forces the weaver to ascertain the aftermath of the weave in advance. The process intensifies as more colours are added.
The dye was, and will remain one of the fondest evidences of the Indian love affair with aesthetics. It continues to inspire fashion and its creators, owing to its indigenous as well as international characteristics; a growing symbol for the approaching global age.
Shop Tjori’s hand crafted Ikat print collection here.