Latest Innovations in Kota Doria Fabric
Thanks to the weavers of Kaithoon and nearby semi-urban and villages who kept the centuries age-old handicraft art of Kota Doria alive and intact till now. Because of these hard workers and their dedication and commitment, this incredible art of desert state has survived the changing fashion trend so far. Recently, it has caught the attention of many international and domestic designers and fashion lovers because of which its fabrics can be easily seen on many fashion ramps across the world. These designers are incorporating intricate art of Kota Doria in their designs and works and on the other hand, many new techniques and patterns are being introduced in Kota Doria to give it a contemporary feel. For example world, famous Kanchipuram designs are introduced on Kota Doria which made this desert art more popular in whole south India. Being comfortable in the summer and humid season it is gaining more popularity day by day in south India and other hot places.
The art of Kota Doria was diffused to other nearby areas along the marriages of girls of weaving centers with the boys of other areas. Earlier it was used as a cloth for making Turban having a width of just 9-10 inches but later on short sari was produced which is called Odhani. Later on, this short sari was further made large of 46 inches wide. The zari which was used in Turban, now used in the pallu and border of the Kota Doria saree. The Oswal community of Rajasthan patronized this beautiful piece of art. Earlier the old women and middle-aged ladies used to wear cotton sarees because of its simplicity but once the latest designs and patterns incorporated in cotton saree, it has also become a famous fashion trend among young women. These sarees can be worn at office, classrooms, parties, festivals and on many special occasions.
Kota Doria is famous among women for its gossamer feel, lightweight, coolness in summer and humid regions and transparency. Khats designs are exclusive to Kota Doria and make them unique. Nowadays silk is also used to give shine which reflects light and makes it more lustrous. Earlier Kota Doria was made in only two colors white and beige but with changing consumer psychology and technology it is now available in so many eye-catching colors. To meet the current demand the fancy borders are also added to it. These simple saris can be made luxurious for rich consumers.
Not only new articles are produced from Kota Doria but old sarees are also being used to create curtains which are good from the ecological point of view.
The master weavers did not hesitate to bring new innovations in Kota Doria despite the associated risk factors. They time to time implemented their ideas on the fabric and customers appreciated those new changes. The weavers are now busy in bringing new changes to cater to the needs of the modern market while keeping traditional core values of it intact.
According to Jain and Singh(2011), many national and international designers are showing many designs using Kota Doria in their collections. They range from handbags to window coverings and lampshades. For example probably, Bibi Russel a well known public figure in the European fashion world gave Kota Doria first time a contemporary outlook. She organized a show called “Renaissance Weaves” in 2007 at Jaipur (Rajasthan). Puja Rajvanshi from Kota also organized an exhibition in London. Many private enterprises and marketing firms are also bringing new ideas to meet the demand of the contemporary fashion world.
Earlier the weavers used hand spun thick cotton yarns but with the incorporation of mill-spun thin mercerized yarns helped in increasing the fineness and strength. Now Cotton x silk type is dominant variety due to its fineness, transparency, and attractiveness. To make the fabric more lustrous degummed silk yarns (called Buff Katan) are also used nowadays. A new tissue type of Kota Doria is made which is also comfortable for the winter season. Due to the high use of zari yarns as wefts and silk as wraps, the cost of the Tissue saree starts around 20k Rs. Although the metallic mounting of gold and silver on silk yarns is used to lower the cost.
Like bringing changes in yarns weavers are also trying new motifs and their arrangement on different parts of the fabric. The focus has been shifted to use natural (birds, flowers, animals etc) and ethnic motifs (human figure). The motifs are now placed in a sequence side by side to create line type of arrangement. In a new variety of Dhoop Chhawn weft of one color and wrap of other color is used. Earlier yarns were dyed before weaving but in a new Rangoli type of saree, the saree is dyed in multicolor even after weaving process. To meet the demand of south India strong or dark colors are also used.
New innovations can be done using Bamboo and other natural yarns and their combinations. Bamboo fiber has already made its mark in the fashion world. More expensive materials like cashmere or silk are replaced by bamboo in contemporary designs. It is estimated that the strength of the bamboo fiber is equal to the glass fibers. Hand properties of bamboo are better than cotton yarns. Bamboo viscose is a regenerated cellulosic fiber. Moreover, it is antimicrobial, antifungal, high moisture absorbent, sheen and smooth close to silk. It can give great strength and has high breathability and thermal regulating properties.
Bamboo fiber is already used to produce many daily household articles like sanitary napkins, surgical gowns, bandages, masks etc. Regenerated bamboo fibers are used in making undergarments, socks, t-shirts, sportswear. In the fashion industry also expensive silk materials are replaced with bamboo fibers, therefore, using bamboo yarns, more value addition can be done to Kota Doria fabrics.
The variations and new designs can be attained in Kota Doria fabric by using various techniques, the combination of colors, weave effect, double cloth, meenakari work, and ikat. Decorative effects in multicolor can be attained through employing extra threads in weft direction (Watson, 1925).
Kota Doria fabric has great potential to become fiber of the contemporary fashion world. But in order to do that its scale of production has to be increased. The new techniques and innovations have to be incorporated without changing the core values of Kota Doria. It has to be brought into the global supply chain and weavers will have to be empowered.
The cluster-based development policy can be adopted to enhance the production and marketing capacity of the weavers. Most of the weavers are illiterate and leaving in unhygienic conditions. They don’t even have a safe place for keeping their handlooms. An integrated development approach should be adopted in keeping mind their health, financial capacity, marketing skills and access to cheap raw materials.
Sometimes the consumers are cheated by fraud sellers by selling them fake power loom products in the name of true hand-woven Kota Doria. This emerging threat of counterfeit products should be dealt with strict provisions. The customers can test the fraud item by rubbing the fabric. Customers should check whether the product has been leveled with the GI logo “Handloom” or not. The Geographical Indicator (GI) tag has been introduced by the government of India in 2005 for Kota Doria against the counterfeit products.