Tracing the legacy of 5 heirloom Indian textiles that you can add to your trosseau

From the fluid phulkari to the opulent banarasi, these pieces are worth investing in.

When we stop to look back at Indian history, we see that textiles and traditions have long been interwoven; and these traditional textiles are making a comeback in fashion as consumers seek culturally authentic products. Traditional textiles carry a rich history and substantial cultural value—often handmade gems, they’re crafted using techniques passed down through generations by skilled artisans. These textiles are not merely aesthetically pleasing but also hold emotional and symbolic significance in many societies. With consumers being more aware than ever before, they prefer their garments to tell a story; and what better way to do that than to wear a piece of rich history?

Below are some Indian heirloom textiles that deserve a spot in your trousseau.

Banarasi 
The sacred old banarasi textile still reigns in 2024. Popularly regarded as one of the country’s most longstanding textile traditions, the weave traces its origins to over 2,000 years ago, with mentions in mythological texts. The opulent brocades from the region have evolved over the years, but continue to earn the favour of many brides in the country. The meticulous and artisanal hand weaving is a classic. The sacred old weave is relevant as ever even today albeit with newness and contemporary elements gracing it. 

Warp ‘n Weft Basra Banarasi Lehenga in Abalone Green, ₹2,57,250

Ajrakh
A unique style of textile that hails from the Sindh region and features block printing, you might recognise this one from Alia Bhatt’s Instagram. The actor wore a custom Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla saree to the 2024 Joy Awards in Riyadh. Ajrakh, a combination of hand block printing and resist dyeing, is printed done using natural dyes. It is one of India's oldest and one of the most complex and sophisticated printing methods. It is said that the word could have come from “aaj rakh” (keep it for the day); the longer the wait between each process, the finer and more intricate the result. 

Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla Ajrak Multikali Set, price on request

Pashmina
Also known as ‘soft gold’, pashmina originated in Ladakh where its namesake Tibetan goats are raised. The textile is world-renowned for its gossamer look and cocooning warmth. Pashmina is derived from the Persian word pashm, which means wool in its raw unprocessed form, and pashmina refers to the cloth woven from pashm. This fibre has travelled for millennia from Ladakh to Kashmir, where it continues to be woven into exquisite shawls that are globally coveted.

Dusala Kashmir Pashmina Shawl, ₹2,55,000

Kanchipuram
A kanchipuram saree is probably one of the only textiles that ages like a fine wine. More so now, as we enter an era of reviving handcrafted clothing. When choosing key pieces for your trousseau or any other special occasion, this classic heritage piece tops the list. Originating from the Kanchipuram village in Tamil Nadu, it is woven entirely with mulberry silk and interlaced with gold and silver zari. Known for their beautiful borders and intricate motifs, kanchipuram or kanjeevaram silks add an everlasting sense of luxury to classic pieces like a sari or a pantsuit. 

Kasturi Kundal Black Kanjivaram Silk Kalamkari Saree, ₹64,990

Phulkari
Artisanship is at the bedrock of Indian culture and this geometric, colourful, and traditional embroidery hails from Punjab. According to customs, upon the birth of a girl in Punjab, mothers begin embroidering a phulkari textile for the eventual wedding. This textile often brings together sequins, mirror work, and gota patti detailing. It also makes for the ideal pick for all styles—from lehengas and jackets to patiala suits. It's easy to understand the unisex appeal of the textile, with its fluidity across colours, motifs, and patterns. 

Kunal Rawal Vanilla Phulkari Knotted Sherwani, ₹3,55,000

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