Few might be aware that Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore went to Java, Indonesia, in 1927, and returned with an exquisite dyeing technique called batik. He introduced it in Shantiniketan and it spread across India. In order to bring that technique to the forefront of fashion circuits, designer Indira Ghosh Baikerikar created a collection, which contained pieces reflecting Batik prints of Shantiniketan.
“While graduating in textiles from Kolkata, one of our projects required us to create a collection with Batik. That’s when I was introduced to the actual form of batik, which was done in Shantiniketan,” explains Indira.
“Batik was initially brought to India for the rehabilitation of prisoners. They would use batik on leather and then on fabrics. That has now changed into a small-scale industry and the entire town has got workers, who only do this,” she adds.
The designer, who also hails from West Bengal, was extremely fascinated by the batik prints and decided to come out with an entire collection of kurtis, maxis, palazzos, harem pants and much more. The collection that ranges between Rs 3,500 to Rs 8,000 includes fabrics like chiffon, georgette and silk. “This is a print that hasn’t received enough recognition in the Indian fashion industry. One reason is that the artisans/workers tend to be inaccessible. They are not very open to outsiders but since I was able to strike a rapport with them due to my Bengali roots, they agreed to work with me and I was able to design a collection around batik. The prints and embroidery of my collection are Indian but silhouettes are global to give it a universal appeal,” Indira informs us.
“I devote time with the workers, so they have become familiar with me. Also, I speak the same language so that’s a binding factor. In fact, I introduced them to a new technique as well. Earlier they would concentrate solely on pure cotton fabrics. I introduced them to silk and georgettes for batik, which gave it an entirely different and beautiful appeal. They were happy and open to learn,” she reveals.