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#Makeinindia – Kala Sangam Delhi – National Handloom Day special

Wonder how many stories, those pleats shelter
It became a shield when Draupadi was exposed
It served as a sister, when Sita required a commarade
when it was an Agni Pariksha, that Rama chose
This drape isn’t just chapter
It is an epic in itself, capturing journeys of women
tales of whom, yet are quite deliberately made unknown
 Baatein for Kala Sangam
And some music
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The whole 9 yards is very fascinating. To weave something of that size requires a lot of patience and skill. Especially when the designs are very intricate. Kala Sangam is trying to revive the traditional handloom and antique weaving techniques.  They specialize in SHIKARGHA Saris. These saris are the hardest to weave and belong Banaras and they take 4-6 months to weave. We also work with PATAN Patolas which are equally difficult to weave, real gold thread kanjeevarams, kalamkari saris, dhakai saris and many more.
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Kala Sangam believes that  every sari has a story to tell. The USP of the brand is weaves of India. There is hardly any brand which is offering all type of weaves under one umbrella at a reasonable price.  Designers exploit the weavers by buying from them at a very cheap price and increasing the margins by 200%, sometimes 300% as well. In this entire vicious cycle, weaver’s conditions are still the same. That’s why nobody is ready to work in the handloom sector. Which is the main reason for its decline says Aanchal.
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Kala Sangam is run by the mother daughter duo Vandana and Aanchal  Nagar in Delhi’s Aurobindo Market .
Around the age of 43 when Vandana’s kids were grown up, she realized now was the time she could do something different (leaving behind her teaching days  and her Master’s in Economics) and make a difference in the society. She decided to start her brand Kala Sangam .
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 Aanchal says ” ‘Kala’ was my paternal grandmother’s name, ‘Kala’ also means art in hindi. We consider handloom an art in itself. Since we were doing weaves from all across the country, we were uniting different arts and crafts under one brand. And that’s how the word ‘SANGAM’ came in the picture.  My great grand father belonged to the royal family of Banaras. My Grand mother used to always tell us the tales of the grandeur of the saris that were weaved at that point of time. Also My dadi used to sell saris in Karol Bagh to make money for the family.  My dad, my thyaji and my mom decided to start the brand in my Dadi’s memory.”
Aanchal says their first visit to a village in Banares , to watch the looms in action for the first time was a special moment which left a lasting memory. ” When we saw the conditions they work in, we knew this is it. This is how we will make a difference. “
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Kala Sangam is  connected with different weavers in different states. Vandana regularly travels to Hyderabad, Banaras, Gujarat, Kolkata and Chennai to meet them. She gives them inputs on the designs that can be worked on and gives orders . For example Kalamkari saris have very huge motifs, which doesn’t suit the body type of short ladies. She, tried to redesign the motifs with the weavers, so that it suits all body types. She also tries to get the same craft on different fabrics, Kala Sangam has Kalamkaris on georgette and kota silks as well. She believes every fabric has its own beauty and challenges. Its very hard to paint with natural dyes on slippery fabrics like kota silk. She  says unless we don’t experiment and innovate, we will not be able to move forward.
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Kala Sangam is aiming for the bridal  market these days, They have also  started with handloom lehengas and aim to re-start more looms by the end of next year.
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Vandana says she generally buys one sari for herself whenever she goes to meet the weavers. She is very fond of wearing these saris. And has an amazing collection of her own :) I think we must show her collection as part of our “Walk into my Wardrobe” series :)
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WEAVERS, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.Weavers, weaving solemn and still,
What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .
White as a feather and white as a cloud,
We weave a dead man’s funeral shroud.
Sarojini Naidu .
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All these years Vandana and her daughter Aanchal have worked endlessly to bring the beautiful handloom saris from the far flung corners of the country to the mainstream buyers .
You can check out their retail store at
81 Aurobindo market, next to summer house cafe,
Hauz Khaz village, New Delhi.
They also sell online at :  www.carmaonlineshop.com
Follow them on Facebook here and Instagram here

 
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