July 19, 2015 CHENNAI: When textile designer N Bhushavali gifted a khadi kurta with ancient Grantha inscriptions on it to senior archaeologist R Nagaswamy, he was awestruck to find the young designer had embroidered it with inscriptions found in Kailasanathar Temple in Kancheepuram.
Bhushavali's tryst with inscriptions is not without design. It was while visiting the 7th century temple that the idea to embroider inscriptions on kurtas came to her mind. Bhushavali wanted to link people with heritage through textiles. She started travelling to villages and temples across Tamil Nadu in search of designs. Today, Bhushavali has gone a step ahead by creating a unique eco-friendly style of her own -- linking the rural weaver with the world.
"I wanted to do something for the handloom weaver, the khadi spinner, the traditional natural dyer and the hand-embroiderer. The assortment of traditional textiles of India and the astonishing skills that we mastered as early as 2nd century BC with Ajanta as standing examples always amazed me. These garments are made for cosmopolitan youngsters, but the textile is created by a traditional weaver, dyed by a traditional dyer," she said.
A Chennai-based fashion designer and a gold medalist from NIFT, Bhushavali's eco-fashion is unique in its own way. "It was while working in Karoor that I travelled to many small villages. The sight of many traditional handlooms lying unused disturbed me. Many weavers in the villages had left their profession due to lack of sponsorship. I wanted to do something to bring them back. At the same time I wanted to make garments based on our culture and heritage," said Bhushavali.
Unlike many designers, Bhushavali's works come at affordable rates. She has great faith in khadi, handloom and natural dyes. "It's time we revived our great tradition of textile. Khadi can do wonders if introduced to suit today's youngsters. Sari is not convenient for today's working women. What they need is a simple kurta or similar attire which could go well with jeans. I am designing what suits me well and the response is positive," she said.
Bhushavali uses a group of traditional weavers in villages of TN, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra with whom she works closely to link the beauty of traditional handlooms with heritage. Bhushavali is currently working on some embroidery based on the paintings in the Ajanta caves.