28 January, 2018

Bailou Abir Saree

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Of late, there is an upsurge of interest in saree in fashionistas. Designers are experimenting with weaves and textiles of this unstitched drape. Saree pacts, saree stories, etc are on the rise. Women are joining saree groups and bonding with them. The woven saree status has found a new high. Sarees are coming out of grandmother's closets and are being proudly worn. Designers and weavers are collaborating. Raw Mango Chanderis, Anavila linens, Abraham & Thakore Ikats, Gaurang Shah's handlooms are being talked about. In this category is also a hidden gem- Bailou. They have never walked the ramp and their creators never advertise. Bappaditya Biswas is Luddite- thankfully. His Bailou sarees seduce you to caress, run gentle fingers over them and hold them. You marvel at his creations and stand bewitched. His enterprise has a lasting commitment to reasonable pricing. As a result, it has more work for the weavers. His sarees are not worn only by humble people but some well-known people like Vidya Balan and Priyanka Gandhi. Bailou sarees are modern, yet traditional. Contemporary, yet ethnic.

Bailou Abir is their superstar. A pure cotton weave woven in West Bengal priced super reasonable at Rs.780/-. It is a perfect example of affordable handloom. Bailou sarees appeal even to those who may not essentially be sari wearers. It an unpredictable interplay between design, colour, feel fabric and pricing. Their colours are young and bright. Bailou is the “anchor brand” of the well-known store ByLoom, which is housed in an old, two-storeyed, middle-class house in Kolkata. It is a space that celebrates India's handloom and handicraft traditions.

Over the last decade the sari, the kurta, the dupatta are all disappearing from the urban landscape. Smart is synonymous with western wear, while Indian styles, fabrics and garments are seen as a compromise with sartorial standards or at best an option at a wedding or religious ceremony. Saris, in particular, are disappearing from parties, offices, even kitty parties and indeed from the streets of metros and even small-town India. What’s to stop the next generation from discarding the sari, and then Indian fabric, from their wedding trousseau and indeed their wedding day?

Today, Indian women have many more options as to what to wear and that is a wonderful thing. Ideally, their wardrobe should be becoming more diverse, with kurtas, skirts, saris and skinny jeans jostling for space. Instead, it sees the saris, kurtas and dupattas being replaced by a homogenous look that has nothing to do with India.

Byloom Online hopes to re-introduce the beauty of Indian wear in contemporary styles and weaves back to your wardrobe. After all, a truly stylish person embraces the world without forgetting her roots. This is Byloom’s virtual gift to that person, you.

Bailou believes adaptation and modification are the keys to the survival of this craft. Over the centuries, weavers have always adapted to demands of the market and we must ensure that they are able to now keep pace with changing lifestyles and modern sensibilities.

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