The banarasi saga
The Untold Story
We, at IndyVogue, try to make your shopping experience as smooth as possible, trying to keep you away from the hustle and bustle of normal shopping. But one thing that we sometimes fail to convey are the untold stories of millions of artisans across the length and breadth of the country that works tirelessly, each day, to bring you this 6 yards of pure art that transcends all boundaries of caste, creed, religion and border. They are the unsung heroes of each piece of sheer magic that you drape and get accolades from your friends and relatives.
What makes it different
A question that always comes in the minds of patrons is what makes these sarees different from the hundred of other sarees that gets sold in the market. They look so similar !!! What makes it really different is the work of these MAGICIAN, who helps weave your dream into reality.
Really looks gorgeous, don't they. And now let us look at how each of this piece were made.
Some facts, some insights, some questions
The person in the video is Mr. Merraj who has been in this art of weaving for the last 50+ years. The tradition has been passed to him from generation to generation. He is one of the thousands of artisans in the Banaras area that has not let this art form vanish in spite of growing challenges.
✔️How many people do you need to weave a Banarasi Saree?
❇️As you saw in the video, it takes 2 person to make a Banarasi Saree.
✔️How many days does it take to make one?
❇️It depends upon the design that you have. The more intricate the design is, the longer it takes. For us, the Organza Banarasis take anywhere from 4-5 days and the Katan Banarasi 2-3 days.
✔️Technology has advanced so much. Why can't they use machines for weaving?
❇️A very good question. The answer lies in the all important thing that makes these sarees, the Silk. Pure Silk threads are soft and any attempt to put it through machine weaving breaks the thread. You might find similar looking sarees at a cheaper price but please be careful before you get them as they could be machine-made with polyester mixed threads that have greater tensile strength.
✔️I saw some black / red mark at the bottom of the saree? Why do you have such defects?
❇️Each piece is handmade as you saw in the video and the weaving spans multiple days. In order to understand how much is left in completing the weaving of the saree, the artisans put a mark after certain interval, generally 1 yard. In this way they can keep track. Most of the times these marks are not visible but sometimes they remain. This is not a defect but an uniqueness of the piece that makes handloom different from other sarees.
✔️How does IndyVogue help these artisans?
❇️One of the major issues in this industry is the presence of third parties who buy the sarees cheaply from the weavers and sell them to the bigger companies at a much higher price. They can do this because they provide loans to these artisans to buy raw material and in turn extorts them to sell the saree cheaply. This is where we, at IndyVogue, make the difference.
1. We do not buy from third parties, we get them directly from the weavers to maximize their profit.
2. We stock each and every item at our fulfillment center in Kolkata after the saree passes the Quality Check and pay the artisans upfront. NO CREDIT.
Sumana Bhattacharya completed her Masters in Economics from the University of Calcutta & was working with the Department of Education, Govt. of West Bengal to provide training to the teachers in Government Schools. She moved to USA in 2005 after getting married & is the mother of 2 kids. She is the one that drives IndyVogue every day, every hour, every minute and every second. Salute to her and her undying spirit.
To break your boredom in the lockdown period of Coronavirus threat, here are some amazing tips. Like this one teaches about how to organize/declutter your wardrobe.
Some creative ideas to repurpose your old saree before you secure the legacy in darkness forever. Try them out and reach out to me for more such quirky ideas.