With over forty years of experience in the craft industry, where Beena Kannan was designing sarees for her Kerala-based brand Seematti, she is now set to launch “India’s first luxury silk inspired haute couture” label.
With this massive fashion launch, the designer aims to break the stereotypical notion of Kanjeevaram silk being only used for sarees. Her budding label will include Indian, Indo-western and western outfits – made either of silk or a blend of it.
The designer held a fashion show in Kochi, Kerala, to launch her must-have label ‘Beena Kannan’. The collection comprises sarees, lehengas, crop and long jackets, kaftans, dresses, etc.
Kannan has experimented with various weaving techniques from across the country to do the label’s first collection that has three line-ups to cater to the choices of Gen Z and millennials, among others.
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For the collection, Beena has fused the Byzantine era with Indian Geometric art; the Art Deco period with Jamiwar and Ottoman art with Mughal styles. She has also drawn inspiration from many famous paintings of Vincent van Gogh and S.H. Raza and created art through weaving which is the first to see in our era.
She says that it’s been a major challenge to achieve such designs since the machines cannot take the 40,000 hooks and 60,000 hooks and getting modern designs weaved by artisans who otherwise work on traditional weaves and techniques hasn’t a bit easy for her. She has to go all the way to pursue the artisans to innovate with the weaving since the modern concept she approached was very money and time consuming and the artisans were initially not prepared for it.
One major difficulty faced was the fact that Kanjeevaram has certain limitations. It’s considered very religious and very much attached to the Hindu wedding. So the artisans believed the scope of this weaving is very limited.
“My designs sometimes take three months to be ready. But we pay them accordingly. Some of our saris even cost more than our selling price. But we do it because it needs to be done. That’s how we think, that’s where we are positioning ourselves,” asserts Kannan, who made it into Guinness Book of Records and Limca Book of Records in 2007 for making the longest-ever silk saree.
Rather than revolving around modular designs, label Beena Kannan will be reinventing the procedure of weaving. Today, customers need light-weighted outfits, a particular zari etc. So the label will experiment weaving in organza, linen and raw silk to make sarees. “ I have combined weaving in silk, printing in silk and embroidery in silk for occasion wear and accessories also,” informs Kannan.
Kannan will launch the brand with a 17,500 sqft store in Kerala and envisions expanding it across the world in the next three years. This year, you will see five stores in Delhi, Bombay, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, plus two flagships stores.
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