Fashion & Style

What are fabrics from India

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Indian scarves
Traditional Lahariya dye techniques make bright, striking patterns
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India is famed for its beautiful, quality fabrics

India is one of the largest producers of textiles in the world. Their rich history with fabrics goes back to ancient times, when the various types of cloth and patterns printed upon them were used in rituals and sacred ceremonies.

Different patterns and materials still hold strong ties to the regions from which they originated. From fine silks to comfortable, breathable cotton, Indian fabrics are as varied as they are colorful.


This delicate fabric is most often made from cotton or silk, and more recently synthetic materials. It has a sheer, airy quality and is used in making skirts, scarves, see-through sleeves, or the traditional sari.

Because it takes well to being dyed, chiffon is often used in Indian Lahariya printing or, as it is known in the United States, tie dying.  


Brocade is an intricately woven textile, the weave creating detailed patterns much like tapestry, and is used in the making of drapes and fine clothing. It is richly colored and often made from silk. One of the unique features of brocade is that it is commonly interwoven with gold or silver threads, giving an appearance of true finery.


Khadi is a traditional hand woven cloth made from silk, cotton, or wool. There is a deep political history behind this rustic fabric. In the 1920s, Mahatma Gandhi encouraged spinning or hand weaving khadi by Indian citizens as a means of promoting the buying and selling of Indian goods over foreign (typically British) made goods, sparking a revolution throughout the country.

This fabric quickly became a symbol of Indian independence. By law, the Indian flag may only be made with true khadi.


The cotton plant is native to India, so it is no surprise that it is the most widely used textile fiber in the country. It creates a light, breathable cloth which keeps people cool during the hot Indian summers, as well as managing to keep a body warm in the winter. This material is also easily dyed and lends itself well to traditional block printing, a method of using hand carved wooden blocks to stamp intricate patterns onto the material.


Chanderi fabric comes from the town of Chanderi in India. Cloth from this area is famed for its high quality weave work of cotton and silk. True Chanderi is always hand woven, sometimes as fine as 300 thread count, and it is typically sheer and glossy, making for excellent veils and exquisite, delicate clothing.  


India boasts second place in all the world of silk production. As such, it also happens to beat China as the world’s largest consumer of silk products. Made from the cocoons of silkworms, this material has a long, rich history in the land.

Brides in Southern India are traditionally married in silk saris. Wearing silk is seen as a sign of royalty and esteem, and it is common to wear clothing made of silk at celebrations and other such ceremonies.

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