Spectacular sarees steal limelight at LFW’s India Day showing

India Day at London Fashion Week. (Supplied)
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Updated 19 February 2020

Spectacular sarees steal limelight at LFW’s India Day showing

LONDON: Indian fashion was celebrated in high style at London Fashion Week’s Fashion Scout.

A showcase of young Indian designers was followed by a remarkable representation of the country’s rich culture through 17 magnificent sarees selected by female staff at the Indian High Commission in London.

The evening event was led by the High Commissioner of India to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam, and included a short video message from the Indian Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani.




The sarees selected for the showing represented tradition covering the whole of India. (Supplied)

The Indian designers, who showcased contemporary trends, included Shabnam Harjai, Nabila Saiyedarif Attas, Chaitra Basavaraj Kalyanshettar, Tanishaa Parakh, Sourav Marndi, Sandya Miriyala, Suchitra Rani Sahoo, Darshna Gothi, Ayushi Jain and Pearl Lobo.

Their pieces were fresh and original but what followed opened a window on centuries of breathtaking artisanship and the sheer scale and diversity of Indian traditional design.

The sarees selected for the showing, titled “Six Yards of Elegance,” represented tradition covering the whole of India – from Jammu and Kashmir to Varanisi, in Uttar Pradesh. 




A showcase of young Indian designers was followed by a remarkable representation of the country’s rich culture through 17 magnificent sarees. (Supplied)

The showcase was compered by Maithreyi Seetharaman, who heads Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women International.

In her opening remarks she said: “It’s my pleasure to host this rather special showcase of discovery – not led by a designer – but by the wonderful and talented women of the High Commission of India, showcasing India and its backbone in six yards.

“Since the time of the silk route, the soul of Indian women has found its way to every closet and runway across the globe – from the high street to couture – reflected in the designs, embroidery and materials that are now core to the world of fashion.

“What we wear each day to work, weddings and funerals is perhaps the purest form of the discovery of India, representing who we are and the core of our culture,” added Seetharaman.




The showcase was compered by Maithreyi Seetharaman, who heads Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women International. (Supplied)

Picking out any one saree from those on display was almost impossible, as all had their own unique hallmarks, but of outstanding beauty was the Kerela kasavu saree.

Seetharaman said: “Vibrant colors define the Indian woman but the muted elegance of women in God’s own country, Kerela, can be identified clearly by their use of the traditional kasavu saree. Restrained elegance is on display with its traditional cream color and rich gold border.

“Kasavu specifically only refers to the intricate gold brocade border; it is widely used during religious ceremonies and especially during the Hindu new year when purity and spirituality is reborn, and the journey of the discovery of India and Indians begins afresh.”




The pieces opened a window on centuries of breathtaking artisanship and the sheer scale and diversity of Indian traditional design. (Supplied)

Also breathtaking was the banarasi silk saree. “We stay westward in the ancient city of Varanasi with the silk saree considered the pinnacle of hand-weaving. It is for an Indian woman what a Birkin bag is to fashionistas and part of every north Indian bride’s trousseau,” added Seetharaman.

“Originally crafted only for royalty, each banarasi sari takes a year to make in fine silk with embroidery in real gold and silver and motifs in brocade silk. Banaras brocades and sarees got the geographical indication (GI) rights in 2009, securing protection for these artisanal works.”


Lebanese concept store Dikkeni gives back through art, fashion

Dikkeni aims to supports the creative industry in Lebanon. (Instagram)
Updated 19 September 2020

Lebanese concept store Dikkeni gives back through art, fashion

DUBAI: Founded in London, online concept store Dikkeni is home to a number of established and up-and-coming Lebanese artists, designers and creative talents who sell their wares through the platform, which in turn ensures all net proceeds made from consumer purchases go directly to artists, brands and local NGOs.

Launched under the Lebanese non-profit organization Impact Lebanon, Dikkeni aims to supports the creative industry in Lebanon.

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New on Dikkéni // @alexandrahakim, hand-crafted sustainable and unique jewellery. #straightfromthestudio - Alexandra Hakim’s collections give a new lease of life to found materials and objects which would otherwise go to waste. Inspirations as varied as tomato stems from Beirut’s bustling markets and spent matchsticks found at home are repurposed into striking, contemporary pieces of jewellery. Spearheading sustainability long before it became a trend, each of Alexandra Hakim’s pieces are meticulously made by hand, completely unique and naturally zero-waste. - Photography: @alexandrahakim #dikkeni #sustainable #conscious #sustainablelifestyle #sustainableliving #sustainabledesign #socialenterprise #craftsmanship #lebanon #madeinlebanon #beirut #alexandrahakim #jewellery #handcrafted

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Launched this summer, co-founder Daniella Chartouni spoke to Arab News about the aims of the website.

“Our primary interest is in supporting the designers and making sure that they can continue to produce. Our secondary interest is offering the relief to Lebanon that it needs” — something that is a key concern after the Aug. 4 explosion that ripped through Beirut.

Dikkeni launched in May after the founders felt the need to support the creative industry in their country.

A lot of designers, small businesses and artists in Lebanon have stopped producing due to inflation, Chartouni explained. “No one is buying in Lebanon so, it’s a very tough situation, and the creative industry is one of Lebanon’s best industries.” 

She also added that the street protests which occurred in Lebanon in 2019 constituted “a big time” for Lebanese artists. “They got very inspired by the change happening in the country. So, it was a great way to launch.”

The online platform recently launched their second collection. They partnered with non-profit organization Lebanon Needs, whose focus is healthcare and providing medication, products which Chartouni believes are very difficult to secure during the current situation.

Dikkeni is currently featuring eight artists and designers, who produce sustainable products in diverse art forms, like jewelry, home decor, photography, fashion and more. 

When speaking to Tina Mouheb, one of the UK-based artists who is currently working with Dikkeni, she said that this project is of great importance to her. 

“Firstly, it is my first ‘public’ art display which allows me – as a humble, uprising, socially conscious artist – to start finding my voice,” the designer and former landscape architect told Arab News. “Another reason is the timing of such initiative in the midst of (the) chaos in Lebanon. The need to help local Lebanese NGOs is imperative.”