Timeless, elegant yet opulent, and truly mesmerizing, these descriptions come to mind when you think of Indian Embroidery work. What you see in stores every day, whether it is on the fusion wear or a traditional Anarkali set, holds a story of years of handicrafts and evolution. As the world has moved to embrace more western styles, Indian Embroidery work has evolved with it. Yet, they still hold an indescribable charm that cannot be replicated.
Delving into the World of Indian Crafts
Indian crafts are renowned globally not only for their unique design but intricate handiwork. Indian embroidery is not just meant to be opulent or charming, but each motif stitched onto the fabric has a story and is inspired by nature. With each region and community using different fabrics and styles of embroidering, there are numerous embroidery styles found across India. Now, with ‘handmade’ tags being akin to luxury goods, many styles have been revived and popularised again. Familiarise yourself with the different styles and stories of the stunning designs that you see around you.
• Gara Embroidery
Parsi women cannot do without the Gara embroidery in their closet, and most wear Gara embroidered saree for their wedding. Influenced by European, Chinese, Persian, and Indian styles, this embroidery style is nothing short of elegant. Dragon, lotus, peacocks, and more make up the various motifs used in Gara embroidery work and are the mainstay of this style.
• Kashidakari Embroidery
Another embroidery style that is believed to have Persian influence is the Kashidakari or Kashmiri embroidery style. A Persian Sufi saint is thought to be the originator of this style in Kashmir, where it has become one of the prominent sources of income during the harsh winter months when other employment isn’t possible. A prominent feature of this style is that it does not use animal or human figures, and all motifs are inspired by nature.
• Chikankari Embroidery
Originating in Lucknow, the famed Chikankari embroidery has been around as easy as 3rd century BCE and is believed to have been introduced by Nur Jahan, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Traditionally, it began as a white-on-white embroidery style, with delicate stitching that lent it an elegant charm. Today, you can even find Chikankari styles in pastels, which make use of silk threads. This style is often associated with luxury and fine taste.
• Mirrorwork Embroidery
All that glitters is not gold; sometimes, it is the mirrorwork or shisha, which is popular in Rajasthan and Gujarat. While traditionally, shisha work was mostly donned during festivals like Navaratri, today, you can find accessories, shoes, and bags adorned with beautiful shisha work. The prominent feature of this style is the mirrors that are scattered across the fabric and the colorful threads which are used for the stitching work.
Embroidery in India is a vast craft, and trying to describe it comprehensively is close to impossible. Different styles have originated across the region and have numerous variations as they were passed around. The next time you’re browsing through various stores, take some time to learn more about the history of the embroidery styles that you see today.
Take a look at the numerous styles that we have to offer, and fall in love with different designs that use these famous embroidery styles.