East Meets West

These raw silk dresses were hanging at the front of the Estethica show at the London Fashion Week and they stopped us dead in our tracks. Made of the finest softest silk, they moved gently in the breeze coming in the door. The dresses and skirts are designed by Samant Chauhan who is a big Indian designer and they are part of his special eco-line. They are a perfect meeting of the eastern aesthetic with western styles. The clothes are exquisitely made; even the buttons and trims are hand made out of silk. The detail in each skirt and jacket is painstaking, with double layers of fabric used to create effects and textures. Some pieces are knitted using linen and cotton/linen blends, all using eco-friendly dyes and processes. The palette of colours is earthy--the silk is left in its natural shade. Some of the jackets have patterns digitally printed onto the silk.

Since 2003, Chauhan has been working with a silk making community in Bhagalpur where the ancient traditions of silk making, dyeing, weaving have been revived through his efforts. The silk is made the natural way; the worms are not killed; instead the cocoon is cut and the silkworm is allowed to come out. Then the silk is hand spun and hand woven. He has worked with the weavers in this town of 80,000 to continue these old crafts and improve the lives of the workers there. He wants to bring this special silk weaving into the mainstream and have other Indian and international designers use this wonderful fabric and thus preserve this community and its skills. :: Samant Chauhan Via :: London Fashion Week

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