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    With contemporary cuts, Nature Alley gives khadi a makeover

    Tara Aslam wants to erase misconceptions that khadi is drab, dull and stiff, that it appeals to the older generation, and that it involves a lot of maintenance. The entrepreneur’s dream—to make a small but significant contribution to the use and sale of khadi in a way that doesn’t hurt the weavers and keeps the fabric alive—resulted in the creation of her label, Nature Alley, in August 2012. She is exhibiting her latest collection of handspun and hand-woven apparel at CP Arts Centre.

    Making a statement
    Having been the sourcing head for apparel at Fabindia, Karnataka, for many years, Aslam launched Nature Alley through an association with Janapada Seva Trust at Melukote, a private khadi institution. Her understanding of urban tastes is reflected in the Western silhouettes, contemporary designs, embroidery and prints on the khadi weaves. Nature Alley uses natural dyes, which come predominantly in indigo, red, yellow and brown. Embroidery adds more colour to the designs. Aslam, 48, operates out of her store in Langford Town, Bengaluru, and conducts exhibitions regularly. “I wanted to make khadi both fashionable and affordable. I’ve also been associated with the Handloom Satyagraha, which is a movement to petition the government to enact the Handloom Reservation Act and help make handloom the fabric of the future,’’ she says. Khadi is more than just cloth, she argues. It is an ideology and community building tool. ‘‘We also stand for fair and ethical practices in our business,” adds Aslam, who also leads a consumer support group called Friends of Handloom (currently involved in a postal campaign to get PM Narendra Modi to ensure protection to “genuine handloom” by cracking down on imitations).

    Khadi tales
    Nature Alley’s designs for TULA (farmer to fabric group), which specialises in organic cotton, will also be exhibited in Chennai. “The humble khadi comes alive in our apparel. The new collection features organic handloom, together with  embroidered khadi saris, dupattas, long kurtas, tunics, kaftan tops, palazzos and sharara pants for women, besides kurtas and Nehru jackets for men,” she says.
    From `750 for tops to `8,000 for saris. Till Sunday.  Details: facebook.com/NatureAlley

    Preethi Ann Thomas

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