October 9, 2018 Asmita Aggarwal

Memory on Cloth

Jaipur succulent visuals and poetic candour can be seen in Swati Vijaivargie’s rendition of Shibori.

By Asmita Aggarwal

The beauty of relationships is that they carry on even after someone has crossed over to the next world. Just what happened with Swati Vijaivargie. A Marwari girl, who was determined to run her father’s business after his untimely demise, barely 23 and faced with opposition from patriarchy, but against all odds, she succeeded to tilt the balance sheets in her favour. She shifted from fashion to hand furnishing and even worked with Ralph Lauren while she grasped the world of furniture making another ace in her already increasing repertoire. She made realise it isn’t gender but capability that counts and soon she could go back to her first love—-designing.

“My father was an antique collector and we used to export hand-made paintings. My uncle’s curation could be seen at Sotheby and Christie, so I grew up in Jaipur surrounded by art and culture, even though I studied commerce at Maharani Gayatri Devi School, my interest was always design,” she confesses.
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It was this passion that took her to NIFT Gandhinagar, though the foundation had been laid at MGD, where she had learnt blue pottery and textiles.  Though Swati is not a woman in a hurry so she worked with Kavita Bhartia where she imbibed the nuances of the ancient Japanese technique Shibori, which later became her signature and Chikankari and then with Jodhpur’s Raghavendra Rathore, who taught her the fine art of tightrope balance between commerce and art teaching her all the invisible aspects of design. In 2012, she felt ready to fly solo. And she again went back to what she loved, which was Shibori, or resist dyeing, but it came with a delightful turn. Swati used Indian colours and motifs in this innate manual process and referenced her college graduating project, which was on the same theme.

She took it a step further and two years back used instead of two colourways, almost 13 to 18 mixing hand and screen painting. The results were decorous. SS’19 again brings block and screen printing together, and unabashed love for colours always seeps in, irrespective of season, a trait she attributes to being raised in Jaipur, the Mecca of crafts. “Women today want to wear textiles, but not in the conventional way, rather with modern silhouettes. For me, trends are obsolete, rather practicality is what has longevity,” she explains.

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‘Colour Me Red’ seemed like an apt title of her line, as it justifies the juxtaposition of pops of colours, motifs and textures on neutral backgrounds. This is further accentuated with hand aari and accessorised with patwa (where you hand twist the yarn to give it dimensions). “I was actually inspired by Scandinavian textiles, their austerity and simplicity and I tried to use that as my storyboard using Indian parrots, peacock and the lotus as my symbols,” she confesses.

Swati works with cotton silks as they are drape-y and fall effortlessly, though linens and satins have also been included this time to craft kaftans, capes, dresses and a lot of skirts. “This year will be different as I hope to open my own store and also offer accessories. It will be a long cherished dream that will find fruition,” she concludes.

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