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India’s silk facelift: Brands that are redefining how we wear the fabric

From Assam's Eri silk to Banarasi silk, Indian brands that are giving a modern face lift to traditional Silk
Silk Facelift

In the colourful tapestry of India’s rich cultural heritage, silk threads intricately weave tales of tradition, elegance, and opulence. For centuries, silk in India has been revered as more than just a fabric—it embodies the essence of India’s sartorial legacy and artistic finesse. Embarking on India’s very own silk route, one traverses through the annals of history, encountering tales of craftsmanship and trade that have shaped the nation’s identity.

Dating back to antiquity, silk holds a hallowed place in India’s cultural mosaic, with its origins entwined in the fabric of ancient civilizations. From the regal courts of dynastic rulers to the bustling markets of ancient trade routes, silk has been a coveted commodity, symbolising prestige and prosperity. The resplendent journey of silk in India unveils a saga of innovation and adaptation, as artisans continually reimagined traditional techniques to suit evolving tastes and trends.

In the contemporary landscape, a new chapter unfolds as visionary brands embark on a transformative journey, bridging the gap between tradition and modernity. Drawing inspiration from the rich tapestry of India’s silk heritage, these brands are redefining the narrative, infusing age-old craftsmanship with contemporary designs. 

Joskai Studio 

‘Joskai’ stands as a distinctive textile emblem within the traditional attire of the Tiwa community in Assam. Sujaya, the creative force behind Joskai, collaborates closely with artisans hailing from the weaving enclave of Saualkuchi in northeastern India. By harnessing the inherent richness of the region’s famed silks such as mulberry and eri, Joskai embarks on a transformative journey, reinterpreting age-old weaves through a contemporary lens.


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The label’s repertoire spans a spectrum of modern-day silhouettes, each bearing the hallmark of indigenous craftsmanship. From intricately crafted silk crop jackets featuring sculpted flared sleeves to cotton and wool checkered co-ord sets, Joskai eloquently advocates for the preservation of indigenous artistry within bold, contemporary expressions. 

Vaishali S

Debuting her latest collection at Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week, designer Vaishali Shadangule presents her namesake label’s profound commitment to handloom, particularly silk. Hands-on in the weaving process, she pioneers innovative techniques to elevate the texture, structure, and overall quality of silk garments. As a trailblazer in the handloom movement, Shadangule continuously seeks novel weaving methods and blends to infuse Indian silk with a contemporary global allure.

Her collection, “Abyss,” showcased at Paris Fashion Week, embodies a metaphorical journey akin to diving into the depths of the ocean. Inspired by the mysteries of the sea, Shadangule’s designs, predominantly crafted from silk, mirror the transformative experience of exploration and self-discovery. 

Ura Maku 

In 2018, Ura Maku emerged under the visionary leadership of Manjushree Saikia,who draws inspiration from her cherished childhood memories in rural Assam, Northeast India. She reminisces about her grandparents and villagers engaging in silk cultivation, hand-spinning, and weaving garments, fostering a sense of community through the exchange of handmade clothes in a barter economy.


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Ura Maku’s ethos prioritises sustainability, opting for eco-friendly alternatives such as Corozo buttons and vegan silks, while eschewing harmful chemicals in favour of hand-dyeing garments with tea. Departing from the conventional approach of creating seasonal collections, Saikia focuses on crafting timeless designs intended to withstand the test of time, remaining relevant and wearable for five to ten years. Through her commitment to ethical practices and timeless aesthetics, Ura Maku emerges as a beacon of conscious fashion, challenging industry norms and advocating for a more sustainable future.


The ethos of Padmaja as a brand is deeply rooted in the belief that the advancement of society hinges on the education and empowerment of women and rural communities. Through its unwavering commitment to supporting handmade craftsmanship, the label strives to foster positive change. With a wealth of experience gained through grassroots engagement, designer Padmaja Krishnan endeavours to showcase the rich heritage of handwoven fabrics and traditional techniques from diverse communities across India.


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Each collection by Padmaja serves as a platform to spotlight a unique artisanal technique, seamlessly integrated into wearable silhouettes inspired by the regions they originate from. Padmaja collaborates closely with skilled rural artisans, predominantly women, who expertly weave natural fibres. This collaborative approach extends to partnering with master weavers from various regions including West Bengal, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh, ensuring the preservation and promotion of indigenous crafts.


Led by the creative direction of Ashwin Agrawal, a Kolkata-based brand, Eeksha seamlessly intertwines India’s illustrious textile heritage with contemporary European couture aesthetics. By utilising exquisite pure silk and tulle fabrics sourced from renowned mills in France and Italy, this label bridges the gap between traditional Indian craftsmanship and Western sophistication, propelling Indian textiles to the forefront of the global luxury arena.