Embroidered clothing showcasing a two-century-old craft
Kaasiḏa was born out of our deep love for Chikankari, a unique embroidery technique originating from the Indian city of Lucknow. So let's take you on a journey of how the two-century-old craft, featured on our artisan-made, one-of-a-embroidered clothing, came into being and what it means to our founder.
India is known for its rich cultural heritage and traditional crafts. One such craft that has stood the test of time is Chikankari, a delicate and intricate embroidery technique from Lucknow, the capital city of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The word 'Chikankari' comes from the Persian word 'chikan,' which means embroidery.
The origins of Chikankari can be traced back to the 3rd century BC when the art of embroidery was first introduced in India. However, it was during the Mughal era that Chikankari gained popularity and became an art form. The Mughals were known for their love of art and culture, and Chikankari was one of the many crafts that flourished under their patronage.
The technique involves using a fine needle to create intricate designs, usually on muslin or cotton fabrics. The designs are first drawn on the fabric and then embroidered using one or more of its 32 different varieties of stitches. Chikankari patterns are inspired by nature, often featuring floral and paisley patterns - creating beautiful embroidered clothing.
The process of creating Chikankari embroidery is a labor-intensive, requiring a great deal of skill and patience. It can take days, or even months, to complete a single piece of Chikankari embroidery, depending on its size and complexity.
Today, Chikankari is recognised as one of India's most intricate slow crafts, used for creating the most beautiful embroidered clothing. It is also a significant source of income for many female artisans in the region of Uttar Pradesh.
A nostalgic reminder of my childhood: Note from the founder
Let me paint you a vivid picture!
It's a warm summer afternoon, and a group of beautiful, demure female artisans are gathered in a circle, filling the air with laughter and playful banter. Each holding a hoop with white cotton fabric, delicately embroidering it with precision and grace. Beautiful, isn't it?
As someone born and raised in Lucknow, Chikankari is much more than a craft for me. It is a nostalgic reminder of my hometown, my family, the chikankari shopping trips, the people of Lucknow and a strong sense of community. Oh, how I adore reminiscing about those simpler times!
To quote a famous Indian poet, Gulzar:
"थम के रह जाती है जिंदगी
जब जम के बरसती है पुरानी यादें"
Which translates to - When old memories flood your mind, time seems to stand still.
Through Kaasida, I am sharing my fondest childhood memories with you. Let us bring Lucknow to you with our artisan-made, one-of-a-kind hand embroidered clothing.