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Craft Revival: Timeless Appeal Meets Innovation In Kanjeevarams At K Radharaman's 'The House Of Angadi'

A quintessential drape that tells a story, appearing to be like molten gold; if only, you could drape it around yourself should you wish to. And wish you shall. Made out of real zari intertwined with fluid silk, the Kanjeevaram stands out; a timeless classic in a sea of fads.

Deriving its name from the small town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, the textile has retained its exclusive status. Adorned with intricate motifs that are a testimony to the unparalleled craftsmanship of the place, there isn’t a sliver of a doubt as to why Kanjeevarams continue to be heirloom pieces. 

Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi
Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi

But what if the timeless textile was to undergo a variation, one made not to alter it but to bring into focus the exigencies of new-age sustainable fabrics? For K Radharaman, the founder and CEO of The House of Angadi, a label that is making waves in the textile industry, the answer is rather simple. "To create fabrics that are truly innovative,'' as he stated at an exclusive preview of the newly-opened multi-designer space in Bengaluru last month, but more on that later. 

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For now, go a little back in time; it was about a year ago when a bronze-hued saree worn by Deepika Padukone at her Konkani wedding caught the internet’s collective attention, throwing the Bangalore-based house into the limelight. One might label the celebrity seal of approval as a significant step for the label, but it isn’t what sets The House of Angadi apart. The first-ever designer to introduce Khadi or linen-blended Kanjeevaram, a pioneer, if you may, Radharaman, backed by an immense knowledge of textiles and weaves is a powerhouse taking the legacy of his 600-year-old family business forward. 

Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi
Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi

Launched in 2001, The House of Angadi has quietly but diligently worked to create a niche space for Indian handlooms in the luxury market, even more so as it opened doors to its sprawling flagship luxury store, Angadi Heritage, in October of 2019. Spread over 18000 square feet, the luxury space designed in collaboration with stalwarts Brinda Somaya and Abha Narain Lambah derives inspiration from landmarks present in Indian architecturethe Vidhan Soudha of Bengaluru, the palaces of South India, and other Chettinad and Dravidian architecture styles. The result? A majestic space that houses the best of handcrafted offerings from Indian labels and designers. 

Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi
Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi

Back to the majestic Kanjeevaram, a highlight at Angadi Heritage amongst a plethora of handcrafted luxury products, K Radharaman delved further into the craftsmanship and the details that make the textile what it is. "Kanjeevaram is one of the few genres of textiles in India where you can play with the warp and the weft. Sometimes, every tiny little motif is woven by hand and there are over 1 lakh bootas (motifs) present. You will find similar reproductions, but most contemporary weavers will refuse to do it because it's backbreaking work."

Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi
Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi

A traditional Kanjeevaram could feature motifs inspired by the famed Pallava temples, epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and stories that are retold over time. But is there something amiss amidst it all?  “All of the Kanjeevarams have an interlocking border that you would find in prototypes all over the world. It’s a unique signature of the Kanjeevaram that, unfortunately, died out a few years ago. We have managed to revive it but there is still a lot of work required in this direction.”

Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi
Image Courtesy: The House of Angadi

With a recently unveiled collection named ‘ADVAYA: Chapter 2', the label takes to the forefront, yet again, the mesmerising textile and all that it stands for. Expect Kanjeevarams that beautifully bring to the centerstage gold zari woven through linen and silk organza; intricately packed as well as scattered motifs; coalesced colours and rich hues, amongst other elements. 

As innovation in textiles meets the timeless appeal of Kanjeevarams, the limelight continues to shine on ADVAYA from the House of Angadi by Mr. K Radharaman, where it's all about ‘innovation in hand-woven textiles’. 

Featured Image: The House of Angadi

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