Mashru is a vibrant and sleek fabric, and often called the master of satin finishes. The word means ‘Permitted’ in Arabic, while the Sanskrit translation, ‘Misru’ means ‘Mixed’. Mashru fabric hails from West Asia where the Muslim community popularised the fabric because of its utility factor.
During the age old days, there were restrictions on wearing silk, which led to the genesis of the Mashru fabric. Since silk comes from the slaying of cocoon and silkworm, touching the fabric was considered sinful, let alone wearing it! Eventually, Mashru was handcrafted with a medley of plush silk on the outside and soothing cotton on the inside.
After the end of fabric wars, Mashru flourished in Turkey and Mediterranean countries. Enamoured of the dramatic play of colours, Gujarat promptly adopted this convenient fabric, especially in Patan and Mandvi.
The expert weavers have excelled in this exquisite craft by learning from their ancestor. After complete weaving of the fabric, it is washed with cold water and beaten with wooden hammers for about one minute while it is still moist. Then a paste of wheat flour called glazing is applied on the folds of the fabric. The fabric is later beaten with wooden hammers and compressed with hard press. Finally, color is added to the fabric using natural vegetable dyes. Some of the patterns include Stripes, Khajuria — chevron pattern, Kankani — pattern of dotted lines, Danedar — pattern with floats of cotton weft, Khanjari — wavy lines in ikat
Mashroo was a royal craft, produced in large quantities until the 1900’s for local elite and export markets. Traditionally used in garments, Mashru is also used for making quilts, cushions and bags. The craftsmen have also developed new designs, by tie-dyeing the fabric using ‘Bandhani’ technique.
Mashru fabric is known for its intricate weaves and an impressive allure. Reviving the bygone ages, Mashru exudes glamour in pure cotton and silk form. It imprints its charisma in bridal trousseaus like sarees and lehengas. Even the home decor arena has quirked up with Mashru fabric, mainly in cushions and quilts.
Mashru was a popular fabric in the 19th century, expanding its reach to the Ottoman Empire and Gulf countries. Mashru fabric exhibits a shiny appearance along with the comfort of silk and cotton. Post the crafting part, the fabric gets a makeover with a proper wash, followed by rigorous hammering while it’s wet. Glazing a paste of wheat flour maintains the consistency of the fresh material. With the help of natural vegetable dyes, finally, colour is added to the luxurious Mashru fabric.
Mashru is now made in looms, rather than handcrafted, as it has become an expensive business.
Artisans are moving towards budget-friendly processes. Silk is now being replaced with rayon and synthetic fabric as it can be bought at cheaper rates from the market.
Fused with Ikat pattern and stripes, the Mashru fabric dovetails with bright, solid colours. The skilled weavers are changing tunes by merging Bandhani and Ikat, creating eye-arresting waves to wear.
A perfect melange of cotton and silk makes it easier to maintain the Mashru fabric. This general consensus amongst weavers is to ‘dry clean only’!
For those who are all about understated luxury, Mashru fabric emanates resplendent vibes while giving you a trendy look. The bright hues coupled with the sheen of Mashru fabric add a glossy finish to your overall look, regardless of the weather! It is excellent for soaking up the sweat, and keeps you cool and comfortable.
Mashru fabrics are effectively teamed with embroidered cotton textiles to create the festive apparel of the Rabaris of Kachchh. The port town of Mandvi is at the center of Mashroo legacy in Kachchh, historically creating luxurious bolts of the fabric that Muslims and Hindus enjoyed. In the regions of Saurashtra and Kachchh , women stitch mashroo kanjari (backless blouses), skirts, and cholis. Mashroo helped weave communities together. The Ahir Patels (farmers) produced cotton, which was handspun and then given the the weavers. Rabari and Ahir women did embroidery and mirror work to create even more distinctive versions of mashroo.
Drop everything and craft Mashru fabric into a basic slit kurta and team it with flared palazzos. Add ethnic vibes by draping a duppata along. Explore jewellery options and add dramatic hoops or art deco earrings. Ditch heels and choose Kolhapuris to add a surprise element.
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