Bina Rao on reviving traditions, eco fashion and her new line of handwoven textiles.
IF you are a handloom connoisseur, then the Kanakavalli store in Adyar is the place to be. Hyderabad-based handloom designer, Bina Rao, is bringing down her collection on July 8. Over the last two decades, her studio, Creative Bee, has been working with weavers in places like Bastar (Chhattisgarh) and Chirala (Andhra Pradesh) to revive dying textile styles like ikat, mangalgiri (plain stripes) and uppada (interlock weaving). The exhibition in Chennai will have saris, blouses, stoles, dupattas and unstitched fabric featuring their styles in materials like cotton, silk, khadi and tussar. Rao says she uses contemporary motifs in her fabrics—hand dyed or printed using natural dyes—inspired by everyday life, like textured button prints and barbed wire designs.
The collection has an Indo-western touch, especially in the blouses. You can choose from crop tops, wrap arounds (which she calls her Vidya Balan blouse, named after her favourite actress), and T-shirt styles. She also ensures her kurtas do not have boring silhouettes. Instead, she incorporates kalis (reminiscent of anarkalis, but simpler) and apple cuts. Proud that Creative Bee uses no machines to produce the fabrics—from weaving to dyeing to drying—Rao says eco-friendly fashion is the future. “Art needs to be sustainable, not just for the planet but for the sake of art itself,” she stresses. Apart from the collection she is bringing down, Rao also stocks selection of fabrics and home linen at her studio.
On July 8. At Kanakavalli store, Adyar. Rs 1,000 onwards.
— Lavanya Lakshminarayanan