Almost everyone even remotely connected with garments, apparel and fashion has heard of chikankari. But how many people know that there are over 40 types of hand stitches involved in chikankari embroidery work? How many people know that one embroider working almost 18 hours a day takes over a week and more to complete a single garment? These outfits – which have provided employment to almost 250 embroiders in Mumbai and Lucknow, will be on display at a glitzy fashion event in Lucknow – the home of chikankari on 1st March at the launch of Umair Zafar’s Summer Collection 2014. And thanks to Umair Zafar the dying art of traditional Chikankari will be showcased to an international audience with at least 3 international TV channels covering the fashion event live!
Chikankari is delicate and artfully done hand embroidery on a variety of textile fabrics like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net etc. White thread is embroidered on cool, pastel shades of light muslin and cotton garments. These days chikan embroidery is also done with coloured and silk threads in different colours to sync with recent fashion trends and keep chikankari trendy with changing fashion and fabric.
Mumbai-based fashion designer Umair Zafar who originally hails from Lucknow and has been promoting Lucknowi Art and Craft will bring Lucknow Chikankari to an international audience in association with Sigma Rock Infra the patrons of Project Chikankari. Zafar has done an in-depth research and study on Lucknowi Chikankari and its various forms of stitches. Lucknow is the heart of the Chikankari industry today and the variety is known as Lucknawi chikan. The stich-work includes the following types of stitches – Tepchi, Bakhiya, Hool, Zanzeera, Rahet, Banarsi, Khatau, Phanda, Murri, Jali, Turpai, Darzdari, Pechani, Bijli, Ghaspatti, Makra, Kauri, Hathkadi, Banjkali, Sazi, Karan, Kapkapi, Madrazi, Bulbul-chasm, Taj Mahal, Janjeera, Kangan, Dhania-patti, Rozan, Meharki, Chanapatti, Baalda, Jora, Keel kangan, Bulbul, Sidhaul, Ghas-ki-patti and a few others.
In order to promote the art, Zafar will be showcasing a premium range of chikankari work with an amalgamation of different fabrics, mix and match with various other embroideries and fabrics like muslin, brocade and silk along with Swarovski crystals. The collection will be in different colors, ranges and sizes to suit all body types, which is rarely found in traditional chikankari work.