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The Art of Kantha

Kantha, one of the oldest forms of quilted embroidery with a history spanning over 500 years, is a traditional technique of stitching originating from Bangladesh and Eastern India. Starting off as a method of repurposing old saris and cloth fragments through the layering and stitching of fabrics, kantha eventually became a canvas for storytelling and expression. Primarily practiced by rural women, the tales, symbols, and rituals of Bengal were embroidered onto quilts, making each piece unique and rich in personal and cultural narratives.

In recent times, kantha has transcended its traditional boundaries and made a notable entry into everyday wear, particularly in the realm of menswear. This transition marks a significant evolution from its origins as a domestic and utilitarian craft to a valued element in contemporary fashion.

Prominent brands like Kartik Research in India, No Maintenance in Los Angeles, Bode in New York, and Bleeding Indigo in Amsterdam have ingeniously adapted kantha quilts into their fashion lines. These brands are crafting one-of-a-kind pieces, each bearing the unique, hand-stitched essence of kantha. This incorporation not only celebrates the rich heritage of kantha but also introduces it to a global audience, blending traditional craftsmanship with modern style.

Beyond its timeless aesthetic appeal, kantha is particularly valued for its sustainable nature, offering an eco-friendly approach to textile art and fashion. Designer Sanjay Garg of Raw Mango, celebrated for his work with Indian textiles, emphasizes India's cultural ethos of minimizing waste and maximizing use. He highlights, "kantha embodies sustainability at its core; it's about giving new life to old materials, upcycling them rather than discarding, perfectly capturing the essence of sustainability.”

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