Brand making saree more than just social signifier

Mass production in traditional fashion may have impacted the demand of handwoven clothing but e-commerce platform, Yali backed by its parent organisation, The Registry of Sarees set to break the monoculture with a diverse range of sarees woven by Kodiyala artisans of Karnataka.

The fate of Kodiyala weavers in Karnataka’s Mandya district would have been written in no different manner than artisans in various other rural clusters across the length and breadth of Indian district if Kshitija Mruthyunjaya, Founder Yali store would not have reached out to entrepreneur and perfumer Ahalya Matthan, founder of  ‘The Registry of Sarees’ on a visit for her MA Design thesis.

Her visit coincides with the quest of Bengaluru-based research and curatorial platform for someone who could spearhead the revival of the traditionally minimal Kodiyala sari.

Hence Yali, barely 3-4 months old online platform showcasing the commercial projects came into being out of The Registry of Sarees’ research and documentation work in collaboration with Discussions with the weavers — and a collaboration with Shrenis Trust, an outfit that empowers artisanal communities through skill development and digital opportunities — has since seen a reclamation of the Padmashalis’ community who are originally cotton weavers from Andhra Pradesh.

The whole range of  collection is christened  in the  Telugu script, the language of the Padmashalis, Hosa Arambha (new beginning in Telugu). Each of the seven new motifs created — such as the yagna (fire), maggam (loom), and kamalam (lotus stem) — is derived from the legend.

The couture features saris in indigo blue, madder red and conch shell white, with a plain body and intricately-woven motifs on its thin pallu. And each one is named after the flowers found in the village, such as Mallige (jasmine), Mandara (hibiscus) and Parijataamu (night flowering jasmine).

Every seam ans thread of  woven sarees championed the weavers’ story. Each of the 110 saris has a QR code woven into it, and when a buyer scans it, it pulls up all the information about the weaver, thus “initiating a conversation”.

With plans to introduce a variety of saris, clothes and home textiles, it has several projects in the pipeline. Mruthyunjaya, its creative director, will be introducing Jayadhar cotton saris (as part of the Kodiyala project) soon, as well as Kandu, a collection of outerwear made from heirloom brown cotton. 

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