Monthly Archives: February 2016

download (2)The concern about environmental pollution and their effects has sparked a lot of debate and heat in many a recent conference at the global level. Initiatives on eco-friendly substances, ban on certain harmful poisonous substances resulting from industrial production and released as waste, and other ecology-threatening issues are raised, debated and followed up with policies aimed at 'cleaning-up' the environment.

In India, the textile industry with its processes of dyeing and printing involves a lot of chemicals or colours being used and the residue drained into nearby ponds, streams or even rivers. This automatically poses a health and environment hazard to humans and marine life making use of these water sources for various purposes.
Since the water pollutant is the chemical colour or dye, alternatives have to be found and substituted.

The solution already exists for the change to be initiated, with the increased use of vegetable dyes that neither contaminate nor pollute the environment.

Vegetable dyes are made from the processing of vegetables and their skins while natural dyes include vegetable dyes and also dyes are made from many other substances from nature.

Vegetables like beetroot, tomato, carrot, onion, some leafy vegetables and fruits like pomegranate, grapes, guava, are examples of the vast and abundant sources for vegetable dyes available in nature.

Turmeric, acacia, red sandalwood, henna, madder, lac dye, are well-known examples of materials other than fruits and vegetables for natural dyes.

The advantages in the use of natural dyes or eco-friendly dyes over chemical dyes in textiles are many, but the more important ones are: Eco-friendly dyes are easy on the skin and do not irritate or affect it, while chemical dyes do have a mild to noticeable effect.

Eco-friendly dyes are fast colors and do not run despite several washes over the years. Artificial dyes have a tendency of spreading in the next or after a few washes. Fading, dullness or change of colour in a short period after repeated washes, is a foregone conclusion for chemical dyed apparel.

The raw materials for eco-friendly dyes are directly available from nature. Chemicals for chemical dyes have to be specially prepared from a combination of different substances, through special laboratory methods or large scale industrial processes. Wastes from the use of vegetable or eco-friendly dyes are neither harmful to human life nor do they pollute. Whereas it harms human life and pollutes when chemical dyes are used.

The advocacy for natural dyes has been since long, and policies for their use have been made and enforced in developed nations, like the US and most countries in Europe. The same cannot be said for India and many other smaller countries where the textile industry contributes significantly to the GDP.

Major hitches that have been encountered in the widespread use of natural dyes are their high cost of extraction and processing, limited technical inputs and capability for cheap extraction, very few shades and limited blends available from a colour.

- The cost of natural or organic dyes is relatively high compared to that of chemical dyes,

- There is limited know how about extraction methods and the process is costly.

- The colour yield is quite low from raw material sources for natural dyes. The quantity required for a project would involve too much more in comparison to the quantity of chemical dyes available for the same. Hence costs could be put as 20 to 30 % higher.

- Getting most shades within a colour and blending of colours from natural dyes is very much limited in comparison.

But in the recent couple of years, there has been a marked change and interest. The market has become increasingly aware regarding environmental issues and there is an increasing demand for the use of natural dyes, especially for apparel, textile cloth for furnishings and other items of household use. The ban on certain class of azo-dyes, in the light of possible hazards and the use of vegetable dyes being actively canvassed and given whole-hearted support for, by various research institutions, NGOs, public figures and environmental activists, has helped the cause.

The opening up of exports of natural dyes to developed countries, the growing of raw materials for the making of natural dyes becoming a new avenue for rural entrepreneurship and a means to livelihood and increasing voices in international meets to address environmental issues rigorously, have largely helped in the re-birth and renewed growth of Natural dyes, especially since with the advent of chemical dyes with their advantages of being cheaper and easily available, the existence of the eco-friendly or Natural Dyes was threatened some time.

download (1)In an age where women's wear online shopping has made it increasingly easy to find different styles and kinds of clothes, you're undoubtedly spoilt for choice. As long as you have a strong internet connection and a decent budget, you can lay your hands on all kinds of clothes.

However, not everything you buy and wear will look amazing on you. Often, we end up buying a particular dress only because it looked good on someone else. This is a rather disastrous move.

In order to ensure that you look your best no matter what you wear, we've compiled a cheat-sheet for you that elaborate dressing right for your body type. In this article, we talk about one of the most appreciated body types during the Renaissance period - the 'Apple'.

Apple: Fuller midriff with comparatively slimmer limbs.

The best part about having an apple shaped figure is that you have thinner hips than most other body types. While most body types have a bigger tummy, with the right kind of dressing, you have the power to simply recreate your body's silhouette.

Top wear - Ideal tops for apple shaped women are ones that skim close enough to show off your curves, but do not cling to your body in any way. Opt for tops that flow and drop in a way that leaves just the right amount to the imagination but still gives away the basic shape of your silhouette. While picking colors always choose to dress in shades of the same color rather than color blocking as you won't end up dividing colors at your midriff. Always pick tops with darker colors around the mid-section so as to take the attention away from the problem area and instead go ahead with tops that have details around the bust. You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to buying tops for women online shopping. However, make sure to consider your own body type before a purchase. Just because something looks good on a Women's casual western wear model, doesn't mean that it will look good on you too.

Bottom wear - Women with apple shaped bodies are best complimented by A-line skirts as they tend to give your silhouette a very hour-glass appearance. Stick to shorter skirts and shorts as they draw the eye to your hips and thighs and accentuate the best areas of your body. Avoid any skirts that are too tight as these can bring too much attention to the midriff and make you look bulky. Honestly speaking, unless absolutely necessary, never opt for anything that is too tight or mid-length as it makes you look frumpy. If you are wearing trousers, find a pair that is just slightly pleated - this makes your waist appear smaller. The next time you're shopping from your favorite Women's fashion clothing brand online make sure to select styles that complement your apple-shape.

Dresses - Drop-waist dresses that end around your waist, but not too obviously as well as empire-waist dresses are great options as long as your mid-riff does not become the centre of attention. Just like the skirts, your dresses should be ones that just skim around your waist without clinging. The most flattering necklines include ones that are sharp - such as the V-neck or accentuate your bust line. Stay away from halter necks as they accentuate your upper body and are rather unflattering.

Jeans - The key point of consideration when buying jeans is that you should always pick pairs that accentuate your backside rather than your waist or tummy areas. Choosing jeans that have back pockets with flaps or detailing is a great idea as it gives the illusion of a fuller bottom, balancing out your heavier midriff. Wider bottomed or boot-cut jeans are also great to balance out the width of your waist and legs. You can also go for Plazzos for Women Online Shopping as their wider bottoms take the attention away from your middle.

Celebrity Inspiration - Angelina Jolie is probably one of the most famous slimmer Apple-Shaped personalities out there. Her style choices are definitely iconic but you can choose her as an inspiration to design your wardrobe. Other famous apple-shaped celebrities include Tyra Banks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. One of the most famous Indian Apple shaped celebrities would be Minissha Lamba.


images (3)As the cold season fast approaches, it is essential to arm yourself with accessories that will protect you against the winter. However, this does not mean that you need to get rid of your stylish self. You can be able to do to get yourself an accessory that is not only stylish, but that also keeps you warm. One of the most essential ones among these are winter scarves made of fur. As you make a purchase of these items, there are some considerations that you need to make in order to get the best from the many that are there to choose from.

Firstly, you need to decide on the type of fur that you want. Thus is due to the fact that there are all kinds of animals whose coats are used in tailoring any given scarf. It is therefore essential to decide on the one that you want. It all goes down to personal tastes. The texture of these coats vary from one animal to another and is something that one should be aware of before making their final selection.

The second thing that you must put into consideration when selecting fur scarves is the size that you want. You need to have an idea of exactly how long the scarves that you go for should be. This also applies to the width. There are those ones which fall just below the shoulders while there are others which stretch all the way to the waist. It is therefore obvious that one should select one that they would find comfortable wearing even as they protect themselves against the cold weather. Go for one that offers you all-round protection while at the same time being of a size that you can walk around with without feeling awkward.

It comes as no surprise that the color of the one that you go for should be a key priority. There is a great number that is on offer, each coming in a different set of colors. You need to purchase one that will offer you wholesome warmth while simultaneously being of a hue that suits you. Whether you want ones that are golden-colored, purple or gray ones, you need to make the color an important consideration.

As you make a purchase for these accessories, you also need to put into consideration the other accessories that you would be wearing alongside them. These may be fur caps or any other one. You need to keep them harmonious by selecting the ones that would complement one another. Take the scarf that goes well with not only the other accessories but also this clothes that you would be putting them on with. It is crucial to go for items that would make contribute to your whole outlook and make it cohesive rather than ones that would clash with one another.

download (3)Embroidery is a traditional art, of decorating portions within a fabric such as a design, motif, a border section or some other with decorative needlework. There are some forms which are excellent, there are a few others which are exemplary. For not only is it the outcome, but also the complexity of the task and its time-consuming achievement, which makes the embroidery, unique and inspirational. There are some gems which have belied time, that have carried over the ages and still remain inimitable to this day.

Handcrafted embroidery is exclusive, unique, inspirational - a treasured art, since it is painstaking, time consuming, and a lot of care and dedication is put into it by ethnic practitioners, resulting in flawless creations of exquisite beauty. There are numerous forms of thread work practiced across the land, many are simple by way of doing, some are elaborate by way of both theme and execution.

And then there are the gems that have been carried across the sands of time by extremely devoted practitioners that are unparalleled in form, development and outcome. Such precious arty pieces are rare, with some extraordinary aspect or the other related to the origin and propagation helped by lovers of the unusual, that has kept them alive and flourishing till date.

Embroidery forms that have become popular

Zardozi is metal embroidery done on various fabrics like salwar kameez and sarees using gold or silver colour coated copper wire along with a silk thread. Popular since Mughal times, zari thread employed for zardozi, is imitation zari using gold or silver coated copper wire or mostly zari made from metallic polyester film, where a polyester core is covered by gold or silver coloured metallic yarn. Seemingly ordinary, this form of embroidery has an exhaustible variety and till date has remained as one of the most popular forms of embroidery.

Chikankari is intricate embroidery on salwar kameez and other canvas fabrics. An art form from Mughal times, encouraged by them and continued till date, the design or pattern embroidery once done with white thread on equally white or whiter plain fabrics uses coloured threads too. But this has neither dimmed the lustre of the art nor limited its variety. There are still too many designs and patterns that remain to be explored over a lifetime. Lucknavi chikankari is the most unique and famous of chikan work in India.

Kantha Work, the running stitch on designs in the form of motifs is embroidery work done on salwar kameez, sarees. These motifs could be animals, birds, flowers, simple geometrical shapes and scenes from everyday life. It gives the fabric a wrinkled and wavy look transforming a supposedly plain one into an extraordinary creation. Experimented with other stitches such as darning stitch, satin stitch and loop stitch, the fascination for Kantha has increased tremendously. Based on the use of the fabric, Kantha is divided into seven different types with Lep kantha and Sujani kantha being the popular types.

Bagh is special floral embroidery practised by women in rural Punjab. Heavy, exquisite embroidery on salwar kameez especially the lehenga type, where the base fabric is hardly visible, it is mostly done for special salwar suits for occasions like festivals and weddings. Phulkari or the floral embroidered motifs evenly distributed over the fabric is the lighter version of Bagh.

Kasuti is traditional embroidery of Karnataka, India. Kasuti work is very intricate, involves putting a large number of stitches by hand on traditional sarees like Ilkal, Kanjeevaram, Mysore Silk and handlooms like the Dharwad cottons. Kasuti embroidery has intricate patterns like chariot, lamps and conch shells on the fabrics. Its practitioners are gypsies or tribal folk but the art is sublime - untouched, unparalleled.

Kashida is embroidery done in the Kashmir valley, draws its subjects from nature and its offerings like leaves, floral arrangements, fruits, nuts etc. to be displayed as motifs on the rich Pashmina salwar kameez, shawls and other apparel.

Kutch embroidery is microscopic, exquisite, painstaking and absolutely awesome. It is a test of patience skill, memory and devotion rolled into one. The sensational designs and patterns that form from calculated stitches are done purely from memory. The outcomes are exotic masterpieces that have a blend of traditional flavor and modern day art. It is another masterpiece from the nomads of the desert, the Kutch region of Gujarat.

There are some others like the Parsi Garo embroidery known for their intricate thread working, with unique patterns and exceptional detailing.

These forms of threadwork are unique, distinct, exceptional and highly inspirational. Yet they have one thing in common. They have originated from humble places, been taken up more as a pastime and sometimes a need, yet the practitioners have not failed to do what is needed for a piece of work to be transformed as a beautiful art.

It is lovers of art who have through their ability to distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary that such art forms have been given their due place in the sun. There are very many more handicrafts of skill and accuracy spread across the country, where some like these, have got their well-deserved attention; others not as fortunate though, to get even the slightest attention of some encouraging body or well-wisher to bring them their due.