Thursday, July 7, 2011

Handloom of Mangalgiri - Customize Your Own Garment

Going back to nature is the only relief from Growing Industrialization and global warming. Organic farming products is Today's demand. Interestingly, Very few  companies like Supezas uses Natural Cotton or Organic Cotton, and its hand woven fabric processed naturally. The heat is on and it's time to switch over to cool organic cotton fabrics that allow your skin to breathe. Spreading awareness on benefit of Organic Clothing is important and Clothing Brands like Supezas are market leaders on Ethical Organic Personalized Clothing. 

About Mangalagiri:

Mangalagiri has a population of around 80,000. The main occupation in the town is Hand-loom weaving. Nearly 50% of  population is dependent for their livelihood on this cottage industry either directly or indirectly. Most significant and unique to Mangalagiri is the fact that 25 per cent of the weavers are women. Because of the hand-loom fabric produced in the town, Mangalagiri is placed on the world map.

The weavers are into this profession traditionally. None of the weavers are trained but they have acquired this unique skill hereditarily from their ancestors. Generally, these weavers make a mere pittance which is insufficient to get them thru the basic day to day needs. With the competition from power looms, weavers’ life has become even tougher. And one of the companies trying to make a difference is Supezas. Supezas offers online customized clothing for women which is Customize Your Own Garment. And they offer organic cotton fabric which is exclusively hand woven, thereby encouraging the age old tradition of weaving.

A master weaver owns looms, sheds and other equipment, and he/she employs weavers who are either paid wages or are part of the master weaver’s family. In the families of master weavers, some women take on the responsibility of the business management. The men go from place to place, supplying finished products and collecting payments. The master weaver markets the fabric and finished goods, such as saris, after production. The Mangalagiri Master Weavers' Association (MMWA) had applied for the GI certification three years ago and it is eagerly awaited by the weavers and retailers as well as the global recognition will earn a distinct brand identity, specifically for saris and dress material. Weavers now looking at the bright prospect of making their mark in the international market.

The Traditional Cotton Weaving:

A traditional Mangalagiri cotton sari is characterized by a plain body with contrasting zari border. However, by incorporating motifs of elephants, parrots, and even dancing women in Kalamkari style, and those quintessential to Pochampalli, these talented Mangalagiri artisans are breathing new life into their dying craft. (Kalamkari is a method of painting natural dyes on cotton or silk fabric using a bamboo pen; Pochampalli silk saris are hand-woven and multi-colored, with distinctive, geometric borders.).There are some designs which are exclusively used in Mangalagiri fabrics known as Nizam designs. The Nizam border typically has tiny zari gopurs (temple tops), which run through the borders of many fabrics. The pallu (falling edge of saree) is embellished with stripes, created with gold-colored embroidery. But it is in shot cotton that the real magic happens. The weavers map out the warp yarns and then use different colors on the weft to create double shaded fabrics. If the warp threads are yellow, and the weft threads green, red, or orange, the end result is greenish-yellow, sunset orange, or a deep yellow fabric. This mixing of colors give unique and durable color to the fabric. Mainly Mangalagiri looms manufacture sarees, but now in line with the demand, dress materials are also weaved. It is their ability to create innovative color-combinations in fabrics that most clothing designers swear by."The Mangalagiri fabric is available in various counts, starting from the coarser 40s, and going up to the superfine 120s. The fabrics with a higher thread count are almost web-like in appearance. “The fabrics are being used for dresses for export. The counts range from 60 to 120.”

The Loom:

The looms used in Mangalagiri are mostly pit looms. Pit looms are looms which are fixed in the ground level anid there will be a pit in which looms peddle will be placed and the weaver will sit on the floor and use his hands and legs to weave. Since Mangalagiri looms are pit looms, during rainy season the looms are closed due to the rain water getting logged in the ground. And the humid climate makes it real hard to weave in summer as the threads break. And it takes longer than usual to produce fabric in summer. It is this labor of love involved in producing the fabric, makes it unique.

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