Dressing for a Warmer Planet: Designers in India Honor the Natural Sustainability of Handicrafts
Linen is a fabric known to be biodegradable and refreshing thanks to the natural properties of linen and the loose weave of the textile. At the height of summer, it is pure luxury. But despite the abundance of linen produced in India, Anavila Misra could never find a linen saree. Misra produced the country’s premiere with weavers in West Bengal in 2011. “Anavila is synonymous with comfort, ease and elegance. Linen adds all of this to the sari, ”says Misra. “The textile is comfortable for our climate, and a linen saree falls very elegantly.”
Flax fibers are difficult to weave and tend to break easily, but the weavers of Misra have mastered the art and can add other looms, such as zari (gold or silver thread woven), block printed stripes, appliqués and hand painted flowers. These hybrid crafts enhance the raw beauty and delicate colors of Anavila linen.
After a decade of pioneering the material, Misra has spent the past two years developing sarees in an even more durable and breathable fabric: Khadi, a hand-woven and naturally dyed cotton fabric originally from India. “Since consumers can only buy from the choices available to them, I wanted to offer them a conscious and sustainable option,” she says. “I wanted to create something that is the need of the hour, but that is also beautiful.”