” Punjab’s Phulkari “
A wave of cultural diversity flows in India due to the presence of inexhaustible fabrics making it a land which consists of ostentatious and exceptional textile designs and clothing.
Fabrics are essential and they are a unique way of representing the land. India has had a beautiful history when it comes to textiles. It is a home to a comprehensive variety of fabrics. With changing times people have been more accepting of these and are wearing these prints and adding exquisiteness to their fashion style.
Every state of India makes immeasurable contributions to the textile industry. It would be so unjust to talk about them in brief and sum up a subject that is so extensive and magnificent.
Variant takes immense pride in unfolding knowledge pertaining textiles that are predominant in each state. This is our little way of celebrating its existence and the power these fabrics hold on till date in the most beauteous manner.
When we split the term Phulkari into two i.e. phul and kari the term becomes self-explanatory. Quite literally, phul means flower and kari means craft, thus phulkari is an embroidery of floral fabrics.
Punjab’s Phulkari is one of the most distinguished embroideries that makes its presence noteworthy amongst the other famous things of Punjab.
Phulkari was traditionally practiced by household women as a domestic art and for creating patterns for personal and family use. They weren’t readily available for purchase in the markets. It was considered as a true folk art.
Initially, Phulkaris were restricted to marriage and ceremonial occasions. However, lately, they are used in day-to-day life and styled in many contrasting ways.
Phulkari garments held an important place in the girl’s wedding apparel defining emotions and the status of family based on the number of phulkari pieces.
The exquisite embroidery is sewed on the reverse side of the cloth so that the motif takes a form on the front. Generally, geometric patterns are done using floss silk on a handwoven cotton fabric.
The designs of Phulkari are a product of an everyday life of the villagers. Phulkari can be found in almost all colors a palette comprises of.
The prominence of Phulkari can be found in districts of Hazara, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ambala, Ludhiana, Rawalpindi, Nabha, Multan, Peshawar, Jhelum, and Sialkot.
There are many types of Phulkari:
1. Chope (embroidery on both sides of the cloth) and Subhar (embroidery on the four corners).
2. Til patra (decorative embroidery spread out like sesame seeds).
3. Chhamaas (comprises of mirrors sewn with colored threads).
4. Neelak (black or red background with yellow or red embroidery).
5.Ghunghat Bagh (heavy embroidery around the center).
6.Senchi (designs of birds and jewellery).
Phulkari is deeply rooted in Punjab’s culture whose prominence has maintained to stay persistent in contemporary fashion. Today, these fabrics have gained boundless popularity and from the villages of Punjab, they have managed to cross borders and reach the international marketplace.
Phulkari has gone through various transitions and modifications to fit in modern times in forms of jackets, bags, cushion covers, table-mats, shoes, slipper, juttis and kids garments apart from being well-known for salwar kameez and dupatta.
Phulkari has been brought to limelight several times to unveil the enticing needlework.
‘Mela Phulkari: Threads of Punjab’ is an initiative that has been laid down by Concept 1469 and art historian Alka Pande to let these fabrics breathe amongst the new urban threads.
Even renowned Indian Fashion Designer Manish Malhotra dedicated his entire collection ‘Thread of Emotion’, to paint the town red with phulkari embroidery on fabrics like georgettes, nets, raw silk, cotton at Wills India Fashion Week.
Phulkari also happened to spread its magic at Philadelphia. Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz took inspiration of this craft to design an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was the first ever and one of its kind in the US. Indian ace fashion designer Manish Malhotra participated to eulogize this drive.
Phulkari, the print has left its imprints in the hearts of every wearer and observer. No wonder the vibrancy and intricate needlework leave everyone enchanted and fascinated.