We have a story for you today, but we're going to let 8,000 artisans from Banaras weave it together. After all, it's what they do best.
Supported by the Shahs of Banaras - one of the city's most prominent textile families - these weavers are the force behind Ekaya, a handloom luxury brand that presents local textiles to India and the world in a contemporary, versatile and global context. Those familiar with the brand will know that perhaps Ekaya’s loveliest strength is its ability to resurrect precious, almost endangered craft techniques and colour combinations, to the same degree of brilliance they exhibited in the old times.
Since its launch in 2012, Ekaya has established four beautiful stores, collaborated with key designers in India and France, and added rich, new dimensions to the brand.
Like Delhi based writer and curator Mayank Mansingh Kaul, once wrote on bpb" "Ekaya’s clever, creative collaborations over the years have yielded fun collections of saris with Abraham and Thakore, Frou Frou, Anupama Dayal, Playclan and its reportedly most commercially popular, Ashdeen Lilaowala." In 2018, Ekaya collaborated with La FédérationFrançaise de la Création Couture Sur Measure - Paris C’couture at Paris Haute Couture Week. "An Indo-French collaboration between 15 international designers and a textile brand seamlessly demonstrated how Indian fabrics can be a part of the French couture and wedding industry," says the Ekaya team.
And driving this Ekaya team is the amazing 28 year-old CEO Palak Shah (a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2019), who is responsible for Ekaya’s operational and creative marketing strategy. Her efforts to protect and preserve textile traditions and the luxury handloom industry in India, have been lauded across the world, as they should be.
But above all her badges of honour and credentials is this most basic, but vital one - her love for the sari. Ms Shah's team can attest to the fact that she can just as easily take a meeting dressed in a sari, as she can a boxing lesson.
Set Bale: Thaan By Ekaya & The Revival Project
The Ekaya project that's closest to Ms Shah's heart is Thaan by Ekaya (2017), an idea to create India's first textile "gallery" that showcases the nation's handloom heritage in all its glory, a space where customers can make informed decisions about the textiles they buy. Ekaya works with more than 10-12 distinct weaving techniques and fabrics from Banaras, all handwoven on indigenously made looms. Besides catering to you and me, Ekaya Thaan also hopes to offer Indian and global designers with textile innovation, introduce their fabrics in different forms through art, fashion, home decor and more.
In the same breadth...er breath, we'd like to introduce you to the Ekaya Revival Project, where the brand aims at reviving and restoring heirloom sarees, fabrics and lehengas owned by your mother, grandmothers, sisters and aunts. For details email: email@example.com.
Loom Bloom: Ekaya's New Mumbai Store
One of the best things to happen to Kala Ghoda in 2019, is that the neighbourhood welcomed a sprawling new Ekaya Banaras store. Sitting pretty under origami artist Ankon Mitra’s tissue silk chandelier - reminiscent of a swirling lehenga - this 30,000 square feet store is as beautiful as the saris, ready-to-wear and fabrics that it sells.
Visit and ask to see their new collection, The Crossing, inspired by the Eternal Nomad, which pays tribute to the ancient Persian and Indian civilizations; think Persian calligraphy and craft details featuring flora-fauna motifs brought to life by the delicacy of Banarasi Kadwa and Fekua techniques, combined with the decadence of silk and the easy elegance of mashru.
Yes, your whole experience here will be one long, elegant sigh.
Getting there: Ekaya Banaras, Ador House, first floor, 6-K Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda 11 am to 8 pm, 22022888, +917977481029.
*This post is sponsored by Ekaya Banaras*
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