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Rias is a young fashion label from Jaipur, Rajasthan. Avishek and Arshiya create quirky, colorful designs. Their collaboration with weavers from West Bengal is close. Avishek grew up in West Bengal in the Murshidabad district. About 250 weaving families live and work here. They master the weaving craft to perfection for many generations.
Avishek and Arshiya
Murshidabad is especially famous for its muslin. This very finely woven fabric was extremely popular in the European fashion world, especially in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But the fame of muslin is much older. Muslin was traded as far back as Roman times, and in the eighth century Arabs brought the delicate cotton fabric to countries of the Middle East, Turkey and Europe. Muslin probably originated in East Bengal, now Bangladesh.
The threads of muslin can be as fine as a hair or even finer.
The native cotton that Rias uses for the collection is Phuti karpas (Gossypium arboreum var. Neglecta). This plant originally grows along the banks of the Meghna River, which now flows partly through Bangladesh and partly through West Bengal. This cotton has silky soft fibers and is the only type that the ultra-fine muslin can be woven from. Native cotton has become a rarity in India. 97 percent of the cotton fields now have genetically modified American cotton. This development has expanded enormously since the 1970s. Many native cotton varieties have therefore been lost forever.
Atelier of Rias in Jaipur
Behind the embroidery machine