Indian handloom industry has been growing over the years due to the recognition of art created by local artisans worldwide. In 2021, the Indian textile industry was worth 223 billion US dollars.
One of the reasons for such a massive surge in the textile industry is the rich tradition of fusing nature’s finest elements into artistic textiles. One such textile with a legacy of artistic origins spanning over 1000 years is the Kotpad weaves.
People from the Mirgan community have practiced Kotpad for many centuries. This community of tribal weavers lives in the Odisha state and creates artistic Kotpad textiles with earthen motifs fused with modern fiber to create visually pleasing sarees.
India has several types of saree known for sustainable fashion, like the chikankari in Lucknow, the bandhani in Gujarat, and the kanjivaram in Tamil Nadu. Each of these saree textile designs has a rich historical background. Similarly, Kotpad also has an interesting origin story.
Origin of Kotpad Weave
Kotpad weaves are traditional handloom sarees that originated in the “Koraput” village of Koraput district in Odisha, located on the eastern side of India. The Odisha weave technique is known for using unique natural dyes and Kotpad motifs.
In 2005, the government of India recognized this technique as a Geographical Indication (GI) product. It is a status given to products of a specific geographical origin with a particular reputation.
Process of weaving and dyeing
Weaving this handloom of Odisha involves sourcing yarn from the Tussar Silk, Eri silk, or mulberry silkworm. Further, the yarn is dyed using organic elements and natural ingredients. Some of these natural dyes used are Aal(Indian madder), Harada(Myrobalan), and Bahera(Beleric) fruits.
The dyeing industry has seen a massive surge in using natural dyes and organic elements. The Odisha weave or Kotpad weave is known to promote sustainable fashion through the usage of natural colors. It uses unique motifs and a color scheme that includes shades of red, black, white, etc.
The cotton yarn takes about 15-30 days to process the dyeing of colors. It involves thread dyeing of different colors, with the leading shade of black or maroon extracted during the dyeing process.
Local artisans from the weaving community in Koraput use Kotpad motifs to create sarees and shawls. Some of the motifs tribal weavers of Odisha use for Kotpad sarees are, Bhotada, Dharua, and others.
Different colors and motifs are woven into the saree
The use of natural dyes and Kotpad motifs has been widespread among many customers. One of the reasons for its recent popularity is the strategy of the Indian dyeing industry to promote natural colors and organic elements. The handloom industry has recognized the importance of using unique motifs and natural dyes.
This is why Kotpad weaves are so popular. It uses different shades of colors and merges them with unique motifs designed by the weaving community of Odisha. They use other Kotpad motifs and a natural color scheme to create beautiful sarees.
In 2018, one of the master tribal wavers, Gobardhan Panika, was awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India. There is a popular documentary on the handloom of Odisha titled “Kotpad Weaving: The Story of a Race Against Time.”
Over the years, the interest in sustainable fashion has increased, and the Indian handloom industry has been promoting the rich history of textiles like Kotpad sarees. It is one of the vital handloom textiles of India, famous for its unique motifs and rich natural colors. The weaving community has preserved this heritage of Kotpad sarees made from natural dyes and organic elements like Tussar silk.
For us at Kapaas N Resham, Kotpad is one of our favourite weaves owing to the attractive earthy colours and unique motifs. The fall and feel of the fabric is like a dream come true. Check out our collection of Kotpad Kurtas and Sarees that are extremely versatile, elegant and extremely comfortable!