The six yard drape may have been bruised due to the onslaught of gowns, but Prreeti Jaiin believes like the lotus it will stand tall.
By Asmita Aggarwal
Growing up in Meerut, Prreeti Jaiin Nainutia was raised in a family where fashion was always on the periphery. Her parents ran one of the most established publishing houses Vidya Prakashan, books were her truest companions. “I studied at Vidya Fashion Designing College, but the responsibility of marriage and kids took over my life,” says Jaiin, who is married to an IAS officer and now based in Mumbai.
Her earliest memory of fashion was Femina and closet encounter was Bollywood, as she never had any exposure to fashion shows, an academy or store, 25 years ago when she began. The local tailors were the predecessors of new-age cultivated designers, she laughs. Six years ago she launched her label Nirmoha, or in Jain ideology non-attachment, which we as humans know is the cause of strife in our daily existence. “I am a Jain follower and felt that this philosophy is an apt metaphor for our lives, just like the lotus, which lives in muddy waters, but never lets its surroundings affect its character,” she explains. What keeps her motivated is spirituality despite worldly pursuits, and Jaiin admits this approach permeates every aspect of her life. “My parents publish educational, and competitive exam books, it was not something I was interested in, even though I used to write on some topics. As a kid I used to paint and sketch and knew someday, it will be my vocation,” she explains.
SS’19 for Jaiin is about pairing linen saris with Chanderi blouses and adding hand done Madhubani paintings to give them an undeniable edge. She believes the sari doesn’t necessarily need to be worn with a petticoat, which is now fading. Rather the trouser and palazzo make it appealing to a discerning audience. “I work with weavers from Kolkata for my 100 count and above linen saris and also with an NGO Tisser, based in Mumbai, who source directly from Chanderi weavers in Madhya Pardesh cutting out middlemen,” she explains.
After Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Made in India’ handlooms have found resurgence and Jaiin feels it has helped the sari become the highlight of a woman’s wardrobe. If she buys ten dresses, she gets a sari that she wears with a tie back, full sleeve, gathered, smocked, asymmetrical, shirt or t-shirt blouse. “There is a lot of speculation on the future of the sari, the truth is that it will remain a constant, at least for those who value tradition,” she concludes.