Ever since the Autumn-Winter 2013 edition rolled out,55-year-old Shri Badruddin and his colleague Hanumanta (59) from the Bunkar Seva Kendra,Varanasi,have been diligently demonstrating what it takes to put together a Benarasi sari.
Some people are aware of what we do,others look surprised, says Badruddin,glancing up from the multiple turquoise and ivory threads that stretch across the loom.
The loom showcased at the fashion week made from wooden planks and pre-set plates is meant for Benarasi brocade. When Badruddin tugs at one end,the plates begin to rotate accompanied by the tinkling of a bell. The process is fascinating and a testimony to the effort and meticulous care that weaving a fabric demands.
Badruddin belongs to one of the many weaver families of Hariharpur,a village near Varanasi. Many of the families there are facing unemployment and penury. What we need is proper marketing and support. The government does float schemes but they dont always reach the weavers, he says. Hanumanta,for instance,has never been to school and says that weaving is all he knows.
I am happy to demonstrate to people who have never seen a working loom before at this venue, he says with a smile.
Depending on the design,it can take between 15 days and three months to weave a sari, he adds.
Opposite the weavers station is the glass pane of the EZMA stall. Here,another set of heads is bent over a slightly smaller style of loom.
These are weavers from Kashmir Valley,who work for the luxury woollen textile brand EZMA. Rafiq Ahmad and Mehraj Din Dar are designing a Pashmina Kaani shawl with an intricate pattern. Sitting at their traditional loom,the two have been much photographed at the fashion week,especially by foreign visitors to the show. These weavers work at the Ezma studio in Gurgaon and their homes in Kashmir. Between the buzz of fashion week and glitzy stalls,these working weavers offer a peek into the other side of the fashion industry.