A HOMEGROWN BRAND FOR VELVETY WINTERS - The Daily Guardian
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A HOMEGROWN BRAND FOR VELVETY WINTERS

With its roots in traditional textile design, trueBrowns is redefining festive wear with its contemporary velvet collection, tailor-made for the Indian winter.

Anshu Khanna

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NEW DELHI: At the outset, let me admit that I pine for velvets in the winter. As much as I look forward to acquiring that Pashmina each year, velvet conjures up images of the past: the thrill of pulling out grandmama’s velvet blouse to wear with a woven silk sari, or filling up your closet with velvet shawls embellished with rich aari, marori and kashida embroidery, wearing the hand-me-down aabha kurta or phiran in velvet, that was part of mother’s trousseau trunk, or simply slipping into the makhmal razai that felt like being enveloped in mommy’s love!

Found originally in Egypt as early as 2000 BC, velvet, better known as makhmal, was regarded as a fabric for royals and woven by hand. It came to India via China in the medieval times and was instantly adopted by the royal courts of the Nabobs and hill kingdoms. Warm, luxurious and soft when worn, it also lent itself to ancient schools of embroidery practised in these regions—those of zardozi, kashida, aari, marori and tilla. 

In recent years, with the sheer richness and soft feel of the fabric, makhmal in Pakistan became one of the few products to be quietly brought across the border via Dubai. Of special mention here would be the craftiness with which printers of the region were able to even block-print and digital-print on the textile.

For a devout North Indian, velvet is a must-buy each winter.  In heirloom trunks, one has even discovered saris that were totally woven in velvet but much thinner in count. Since my quest for splendid velvet is constant, I fell in love with the website, www.truebrowns.com, when they released their new velvet line called Makhmala. An occasion-wear label founded by Udita Bansal, trueBrowns combines sustainability with rootedness.  Each silhouette has a distinctive soul and a luxurious feel, embracing Indian roots in an entirely new language. “Everything we do is driven from the great Indian treasure trove of design, with brown being the colour to connote roots,” says Udita.

With a colour palette that graciously goes from brown to beige, with some vibrant maroon and royal blue thrown in, the Makhmala collection is vintage in its appeal. It, in fact, conjures an imagery of Nawabi costumes worn by the slender, beautiful nawabzadis. Except, in this avatar, they are more straight-lined and crisp in their structure and silhouettes.

And yet, they are totally appropriate as festive, and understatedly so. “This wedding season is all about love and family, where intimate gatherings are the mandate of the hour. While you dressed to the hilt for a typical big fat wedding in the past, it is now a daunting task to pick the perfect outfit for intimate at-home festivities,” says Udita.

Hence, the velvet range of kurtas, rich in colour and adorned with striking gota-patti work, each piece beautifully sewn into the gentle folds of velvet, is designed to make you feel warm and festive in the winter weddings. The best part is that trueBrowns is a size-inclusive brand, which celebrates all sizes and houses a varied range from 2XS to 10XL, and the outfits can be customised for any size requirement.

At the heart of the brand is a woman who likes to experiment, yet is somewhere rooted deep in Indian culture, traditions and values. In this light, the ensembles are designed seeking inspiration from tradition while being expressed in a contemporary style, making the brand a perfect story of mix-and-match. Their embellished shawl in black can be thrown over any ensemble while the straight-lined kurta can be coupled with a variety of salwars, palazzos and odhnas. They are equally stunning when worn with jeans and over stylishly draped saris too. Affordable, playful, yet luxurious, trueBrowns was a delightful discovery for the armchair shopper in me.

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