Celebrate Love With Several Expressions

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Heard of fibres from lotus and milk that are made into fabric for apparel? The emerging organic fabrics, summer wear, could fall in line with your Valentine shopping. 

Roses may soon dry or wither away. Your ‘Valentine’ deserves permanence, symbolically with gifts that reach out for a cause. Clothing that pictures the deft hands of a weaver, for instance. Handloom weavers who hardly took to the loom during the pandemic need support to return to their base – the loom. Celebrate Valentines Day through the apparel and sheers made by fabrics from as many natural products as your imagination can stretch. Madhurya Creations, the arts and crafts revival boutique (www.madhurya.com), gets them all from expert weavers across India. “Can you believe, amongst the gamut of natural vegetable, plant, and fruit fibres used for making fabrics today, the processed fabric derived from milk is one of the ingenious creations for apparel? And the best of designs in the snow-white collection also includes hand embroidery and beadwork to highlight the border, shoulder, and necklines,” says Bharathy Harish, Coordinator of Madhurya Creations.

Showing pieces made in neutral, earthy colors, Bharathy points that the assortment in apparel is huge. Available in summer tones, not just in cotton and silk, the latest varieties of the ‘organic range’ are interestingly made from fibres as diverse as bamboo, lotus, turmeric, rose, orange, hemp, tulsi, aloe vera, pineapple, and banana! “The skin is the largest organ in our body and constantly exposed to the clothes we wear. Given this, the importance of choosing natural fibres has its positives, as it is a tribute to both nature and the hands that work with them. Before technological advances came in, we wore only combinations of cotton, silk, and wool typically. Still, today, the rayons and polyesters have found their way, enjoying phenomenal market share in apparel. However, fibres from lotus and milk are exceptionally inspired conceptions re-entering the market,” says Bharathy.

Lotus fabric Short embroidered jacket

How did Madhurya add so much to the line of apparel choices with natural fibres, especially the rare lotus and milk? “I got contemplative on the host of natural weaves that were springing up and was wondering how wonderful a lotus-weave would look like, or how ‘wholesome and tasteful’ the milk fibre would be on one’s skin. While I sieved the weavers and garment aficionados across India who would supply the material for making apparel, as we received them, we started designing them with work that suited a contemporary mind. That’s just a beginning; more fibres even from the kitchen spice-shelf are expected at Madhurya, keep your eyes open (madhurya_creations),” says Bharathy.

Nandish Bhat, a fabric enthusiast living in Davanagere who believes in textiles made from a natural material, says milk fibre “is soft and smooth on the skin.” Several decades ago, China and Germany had the technology to use threads from milk, he says, as they suited every skin type. But after the world wars and techno-innovative phases brought in cheaper affordable synthetics, such natural fibres lost out on the competition.

Milk fibre belongs to a class of bio-based, human-made fibres known as regenerated protein fibres. It is made from the protein casein, which can be separated from sour milk.

Lotus fabric, Slit sleeves style short kurti

The divine connect to weaving

But in reality, why do weavers trace their origin to Sage Markandeya, the celestial weaver?  According to Vedic knowledge, Lord Shiva asked Sage Markandeya to perform a yagna to help clothe the bare body, a metaphor for bringing in cultured thoughts or refined living later into the human world. The holy fire had the Bhavanarayana emerging, holding the Lotus or the Padma, leading one to take up the right technique. Markandeya reaches Lord Vishnu, who gives him fibres from the Lotus that stems from his navel. The Lord asks Markendeya to weave it into a cloth for the Devas and the humans. The knowledge is passed on to a group of people who the ancient scriptures call the Devangas or “one who is part of the divine” who adopt weaving as their vocation.

Day of Love

Many legends exist to explain the facets of love celebrated on February 14. Going beyond the apparent bounty of red roses and balloons exchanged, history talks of a day dedicated to the good deeds of a mysterious saint or a priest, during the time of Roman Emperor Claudius II, who aided Christian couples in love to be bonded in matrimony, ultimately tying up the day to love and romance.

Valentine’s Day’s origin is also traced to the Roman festival Lupercalia (dedicated to Faunus, the god of agriculture, and Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome) and to mark Saint Valentine, who passed away mid-February in 270 AD, thus adding a religious twist to the Lupercalia festival.

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