Gaurav Jai Gupta's 'Engineered Sari'

Your favourite drape just got a technical makeover from brand Akaaro.
 
"We're calling it the 'engineered sari'," explains textile designer and weaver Gaurav Jai Gupta.
 
His label, Akaaro, officially presented its first-ever sari line today at the Sarees 2013: Innovation Tradition exhibition organized by the Delhi crafts Council.
 
By "engineered", Gupta means they're creating a weaving technique while the sari is still on the loom, instead of adding technical flourishes once the fabric has reached the design studio. 
 
"We've developed a concept where the entire six-foot length of the sari is being treated as a painting," Gupta says. "Each part -- the pallu, pleats and border -- has been woven with different colours (sometimes going up to 18 hues on a single piece) and patterns so that the motifs do not repeat themselves."
 
It's not just the colours and patterns, but also the treatment of the fabric that has been rethought.
 
"We've used a crushing technique on the sari pallu where the fabric contracts, adding weight, which ensures that it won't slip off the shoulder, as tends to happen with such light fabrics," the designer adds. 
 
It's time-consuming innovations like these that prompted Gupta to wait before introducing the sari to his brand repertoire, an unusual step for an Indian designer.
 
"We're mainly a textile brand, which ventured into creating scarves and then clothing," Gupta explains. "Though the sari can't be ignored, it's such a strong garment that we didn't want to do something run-of-the-mill. Only once we had developed this technique -- what I call a progressive take on the sari -- were we confident enough to make an entire collection."
 
View the sari collection from Akaaro by Gaurav Jai Gupta at the Aga Khan Hall, Bhagwandas Road, Delhi until October 12.
 
-Rochelle Pinto
 
 

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