When you run through pages of fashion magazines, or see a picture of a glam outfit worn by a celeb while scrolling down your facebook timeline, you would feel of nostalgia or deja vu everywhere. Why ? Because the fashion world keeps going back to the roots. While making this intriguing observation, we went deep down into the roots of fashion in Jaipur and we realized that they are deeper than we ever imagined, some centuries deep, and while getting deeper into it, guess what we found? A fashion that is as relevant today as it was a long time back. We are talking about our very own Jaipuri Bandhej.
About Bandhej (Jaipur’s oldest fashion art)
Bandhej is one of the oldest forms of fashion textile, existence of which can be traced back to Banbhatta’s Harshcharita (a biography on the life of Indian ruler Harsh – (c. 590–647) -for those of you who don’t know). That was the first sighting for the textile. Who could have guessed that Bandhej that is worn today in Jaipur on almost every occasion has such huge history? Back in those days, ladies wore Bandhej as a symbol of luck.
The journey of a normal fabric to ‘Being Bandhej’
Bandhani is not just some ready to locate fabric that can be easily bought or made. It goes through a very tedious process before a cloth becomes Bandhej. In order to get that dotted tie and dye effect a fabric is tied tightly in different ways and then dyed by hand. After the fabric is prepared, it takes form of beautiful Sarees or suits and is sometimes accompanied with embellishments. Finally the ready Bandhej designs come to market –for us to buy and beautify our wardrobe with it.
Significance in our Culture
A lot of ladies in Jaipur are seen wearing Bandhej Sarees during pujas at festivals, in a combination of red and yellow colour. Not only women but also men were seen wearing turbans made from Bandhani Sarees. In Jaipur a turban is a symbol of pride, which shows how important Bandhej is to Jaipur. If you get a chance to speak to city’s older generation you will get to know that in our culture Bandhej in yellow colour is a mark of auspiciousness and red represents that a women has recently married. Today Bandhej comes in so many different colours and you can see Jaipur girls wear it is a fashion statement.
Image via Google
Dying Art (We don’t think so)
From being a fabric of auspiciousness to becoming a piece of fashion statement, Bandhej has seen it all. All we can say about it is that it has stood the test of time and never got lost with changing times. It is such a vibrant form of art that it can be modeled easily according to contemporary fashion. People of Jaipur can easily say that Bandhej is not and can never be a dying art. As a matter of fact this Jaipuri fabric has debuted in Bollywood long back and has been spotted in films like Jodha Akbar, Lagaan, Paheli, DDLJ, Dor and a lot more.
Image via Google
The contemporary Bandhej: Today Bandhej is a fashion statement with leading designers using it in their collections. Designers like Anita Dongre, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Ritu Kumar & Manish Arora have used Bandhej in their work. Apart from these well known designers many fashion retailers are using Bandhej in contemporary designs. Be it a hangout with friends or an evening event to attend you can now sport Bandhej in different forms on all occasions. For a hangout with friends you can sport a Bandhej print shirt in Georgette or for a traditional evening out you can choose to wear an embroidered evening dress in Bandhej. Not only this Bandhej comes in all designs like Skirts, Tops, Culottes, Plazzos etc.
Finally, where to Shop ?
A piece of advice to those who are looking for the most important information about Bandhej which is, where to get it from. For those who are new to city and are dying to own a piece of this fabric, may I suggest the lanes of Johari Bazaar & Kishanpole Bazaar to them? You can easily find a plethora of shopkeepers presenting you with Sarees, Suits and skirts in Bandhej. Not only this but many big retail outlets in Jaipur like Vasansi and Pratap Sons also offer designer Sarees & Suits in Bandhej along with heavy Zari or Gotta Work on them. Go there if you are looking forward to wear Bandhej on a festive occasion or to your cousin’s wedding.