Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze

As the mercury begins to rise, I decided on re-arranging my closet, and putting things in place. Mumbai is relatively hot the year round, leaving little scope for any woolen clothing. There is a cold spell that literally pans for a fortnight, and a light cardigan does just fine at that time. But still re-arranging your closet simply means getting the summery cottons to become a little more accessible as compared to the full-sleeved jersey’s full jackets, light stoles and other winter wear.

Being a writer it becomes imperative for me to be comfortable in my skin. I need to look presentable, (or maybe I prefer looking that way) as I meet and interact with a score of people day in and day out. I need garments that are not only well styled; but are easy to maintain and absorb moisture just in case my body decides on dictating the temperature.

seersucker indian fabric summer fabric
Image credit: Fabric Depot

So here is the list of things one must bear in mind while choosing their summer wardrobe.

  • Try sticking to eco-friendly, and biodegradable fabric.
  • Look out for options that are lightweight and breathable.
  • The fabric you choose should be able to absorb moisture easily.
  • Choose pastel tones. The lighter colors reflect light back keeping you cooler, as compared to darker colors that absorb light, and make you feel warmer.

The other day I found myself window-shopping while I was awaiting my friends’ arrival at the local mall. I scouted through a number of interesting things, but the fashion and apparel caught my fancy. Couturiers have started experimenting with a lot of fabrics. Summer comes alive with an array of materials that are both natural and man-made in orientation.

I was going through the collection of some famed designers like Payal Khandalwalla, and I found, she had incorporated a liberal use of ‘Khadi’ in her designs. ‘Khadi’ is a kind of cotton that is hand spun. It is a 100% biodegradable textile that can absorb a number of dyes. The cloth is able to keep the harmful microbes and bacteria away, and absorbs moisture with ease. The only drawback with Khadi is that it doesn’t drape well, and imparts a box-like feel. However, it is often used in the making of Nehru jackets for men, tunics for women, and a variety of other garments, including the Sari. The fabric has made an implausible revival after the Indian Independence movement, where the fabric had garnered much clout. 

‘Chanderi’ Cotton is often incorporated in tunics and maxis for women. The Sari drapes are simply as stunning. Every connoisseur must posses an heirloom piece crafted in ‘Chanderi’ fabric. ‘Chanderi’ Cotton or silk is a traditional fabric that was widely woven during the Vedic era. It was devised by a famed cluster of weavers in Chanderi town in Madhya Pradesh. The fabric was famously opted by Indian royalty, and was patronized during the Mughal rule. The textile is known for its lightweight quality and is characterized by a sheer texture; imparting a luxuriant feel. 

linen summer cotton fabric india
Image credit: Fabric Depot

Cotton fabric forms the very backbone of every individual’s wardrobe. Bales of cotton are produced in India and exported around the world. The fabric is not only biodegradable in nature but it is easy to maintain and keeps from microbes. Cotton is breathable and has the complete ability to absorb sweat. The only problem with cotton is that it is hard to maintain as it wrinkles easily. Cotton tends to blend well with a variety of other fabrics including silk, rayon and many more.

  • Some of the famous cotton blends includes the likes of Chambray. The fabric is a great replacement for denim, as it imparts an airy feel to it. The chambray is a lightweight weave that involves the use of cotton or linen. The wrap threads are usually colored and the weft threads are generally left white.
  • For those who dislike ironing, or don’t really find the time to do so, seersucker is the ideal fabric for them. The term Seersucker originated from Persia. It means milk and sugar in Persian. The fabric was often used in British colonies and adorned by the poor. It is the perfect summer fabric that has a unique texture of being smooth and slightly granulated at the same time.
  • Oh how I wished I owned some more outfits made in Lawn cotton! This fabric is ideal for the Indian summer, or for that matter any summer around the world. The Lawn cloth is basically a plain weave textile with a high thread count. The result is a silky texture feel, with a sheer look. The Lawn cloth is popularly used in the Middle Eastern countries and in the region of Pakistan.

Lawn cotton fabrics of india makers
Image credit: India Times

Every summer I see designers heavily involve linen in their summer couture. This is one of the most expensive fabrics available in the market. Though it imparts a rich and luxuriant air; many don’t favor this fabric. Linen requires a lot of maintenance. The cloth tends to crease easily; but earnestly the fabric acquires more charm with the creases onto it. Linen traditionally originated from the Mediterranean regions and the regions of Central Asia. The fabric is woven using the remains of the flax plant. Today the fabric is produced using a variety of wrap and weft techniques to keep it from creasing. Some of the texts state that though it took longer to invent the art of weaving; but linen was being woven since 5000 B.C.

Some of the other textiles that can be used as summer fabrics include Viscose. Viscose is popularly known as Rayon abroad. It is a man-made fabric created using cellulose. Since viscose is highly absorbent in nature, it is also used more in the humid weather.

rayon fabrics of india summer cotton
Image Credit: Fabric Inventory

Designers often use blended fabric in their creations. However, for the summer couturiers should understand the nature of the blend and keep the above mentioned factors in mind before creating their summer range. 

Georgette is another lightweight fabric that is often used by wearers in the summer months. The real georgette is a sheer, lightweight fabric based out of silk. The fabric possesses highly twisted yarns. Georgette is used for creating a number of garments, but its best incorporated in Ponchos, Kaftans, and full-length tunics. The fabric in very beautiful indeed; and literally sashays with you.

As I wrap this piece on, ‘ideal fabrics that can be used in summer’, I’d like to add that in spite of all the variety available in the market I am very partial to cotton and linen. They look smart in casuals as well as formals, and makes for the perfect fabric for any weather.

Written by Heer Kothari 

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