The Story Behind our Silk Dot Pieces
This week, we thought we’d take you behind-the-scenes of our hand woven Silk Dot fabric from the Banaras Collection.
At Indoi, the first place we start when designing new pieces is always with the textile. I was eager to use a silk textile from the Banaras Colony near Karachi and so was born the Banaras Collection.
Growing up, I had always heard about this specific type of textile and was even lucky enough to have owned special saris made from the material. However, it was only when I visited the Banaras Colony in early 2019 that I was able to fully appreciate the craft behind the textile. Once there, I was able to see each and every detail behind its production, whilst also meeting the very craftspeople who enabled this process. It was on this trip that the Indoi Banaras Collection was born, however it took until early 2020 to release the collection. Developing the designs took some time due to the hand-woven nature of the textile, but we got there in the end (it is slow fashion in the truest sense) and we couldn’t be happier with the results.
About the Banaras Colony
The Banaras Colony is world-renowned due the richness of their culture and their fascinating history. The community has its foundations in Banaras, India: post-partition (1947), a number of its inhabitants left a divided India and moved to, what we now know as Pakistan, where they set up their own community, forming what we know today as the Banaras Colony.
It is in this Colony of people where the intricate and traditional Banaras textile is not only hand woven by the craftspeople but where the silk is spun into thread and where the fabric is also finished - this part of the craft is mainly done by the women. It was on my visit that I realised that this really was a family affair where the whole process- from spinning to weaving to cutting was all done under the same roof - in their homes.
I met with Salman (pictured below on the loom) who´s great grandfather started the traditional weaving in Banaras, India and has passed this skill down through the generations. Salman (pictured bottom left) is 73 years old and has been working on the hand loom for 50 years. He works 8-10 hours a day on his hand loom. Afzal, similarly has been working since he was 16 years old and spins 10-12 kilos of silk per day. In the Banaras colony everyone owns their own home and they call it their little "home cottage industry".
Story of the Banaras Textile
The "Banaras Brocade" textile is world renowned for its intricate nature, which evolved out of traditional practices as far back as the Mogul era. Weaving the silk was always a superior occupation and, today, we still reap the benefits of this truly artisan process. However, the livelihoods of both the highly skilled craftsmen and the textile itself are under immense threat: the development and use of modern power looms together with the cheaper, more available synthetic alternatives, mean that these traditional silk saris can be produced at a much faster rate, and consequently are sold at much lower prices. In other words, the world of silk saris is becoming ever more reliant on the fast fashion model.
Having learnt this, I became incredibly passionate about helping to maintain the Banaras weaving craft and silk textiles - something which means so much to me personally. One way to do this? By bringing the beauty of Banaras silk to you.
Our Banaras Collection aims celebrate the beauty and to revive the silk weaving craft by including rich fabrics woven by the unsung master craftsmen who live and work in this particular neighbourhood. In this way, we are incredibly proud to be a small part of a wider group of brands pushing for fashion to not only look good but do good.
Shop the Banaras Collection here - we have limited stock per style and will then moves these to Made to Order only!
Let us know what you think about the tradition and do share this with your friends. Likewise, if you do own any pieces from our collection, make sure to send in or tag us in any photos you may have!
This will help us in our push to reignite this disappearing craft.