-By Somdyuti Bhattacharya
Literally translating into ‘body protector’ Angrakha is an ethnic top-wear having a skewed opening, fastened or bound with either threads or buttons. An innovative unisex and flexible ethnic wear that is enjoyed by people of all ages. A quirky garment that is immensely versatile, modified and integrated with ethnicity to adore over bottoms like that of a churidar or Patiala.
This comfortably conceptualized fit originates from Rajasthan and is extremely popular throughout the subcontinent.
The land of Rajasthan is very culturally rich. It is the land of deserts too which brings along scorching and dry weather. With scarce shade available, the natives decided to cover and protect themselves from the prolonged heat with a specially created attire, which is the Angrakha.
An Angrakha is a flimsy, airy and delicate attire which is easy to put on and flexible to work with. Its draping feature also protected the natives from the heat. This is how from a precautionary measure, the Angrakha turned out to be a style intervention in the world of ethnic fashion.
Probably the first ethnic attire that emerged as a unisex attire that looks equally appealing to both men and women. However, the pairing of the Angrakha with bottoms is different in the 2 cases. While females usually accompany them with a long skirt, palazzo pant or Sharara, on the other hand, the men prefer to pair it with churidars or flowy pyjamas.
Making an Angrakha by using bandhani is one of the traditional ways. Bandhini is the Rajasthani art of dyeing fabric in a vibrant mix of vermillion and saffron, emerald and sapphire also yellow by plucking it using fingernails and tying it tightly with pieces of cotton thread to form a symbolic design.
The fabric is usually folded in half to make the process easier. This also results in a mirror image of the pattern. Finally, the material is stitched into the Angrakha by machine or by hand.
Angrakhas are traditionally divided into two types:
Kamari Angrakha: The Kamari Angrakha closes at the midriff. It is commonly worn by Rajasthani and Gujrati men during celebrations paired with a dhoti. It gives an impression of a dress as the closures of the Angrakha flares out at the waistline. This kind of Angrakha is exceedingly comfortable and promises solace when moving.
Knee-length Angrakha: As the name suggests, Knee length Angrakha is lengthier than the Kamari Angrakha and reaches till or below the knees. It looks best when it is coupled with churidars or pyjamas as the lower garment. It is generally worn daily, and it serves to safeguard the body from heat and sun.
Innovations and Modifications
Due to its asymmetry that is highlighted by the piping or the appliqué work done along the edges, it is quite a fascinating piece to work within the fashion world. It is a style that is being brought back onto the ramp by Indian designers.
Contrasting the churidar with the Angrakha is trendy. Modern designers are assimilating western aesthetics such as corset tops, backless tops, deep cut necks, sleeveless, noodle straps and so on.
The outfit has evolved to be designed with contemporary prints, motifs, embellishments and embroideries to appeal to all audiences. Honestly, there are not many restrictions when aiming to accessorize and personalize an Angrakha. However, since this outfit comes from a traditional background, it goes the best with a host of Indian jewelries such as Kundan pieces and mang tikkas.
- The Angrakha requires dry cleaning every time and should be stored away from sunlight to avoid fading of the different colours used.
- Indirect ironing is advisable.
- Angrakhas with mirror work should be handled with special care.
- Washing with detergent and rinsing should be strictly avoided.
- The outfit should be stored in a dry place wrapped in a plastic or a clean cloth.
Although Angrakha has its origin in Rajasthan, it is now a garment that has been acknowledged globally. Its versatility with Indian as well as fusion looks have made it an ideal global fashion pick.
With the immense buzz that this quirky attire has created, grabbing a slender Angrakha as your ethnic wardrobe buddy is the need of the hour.
Posted on 6th June, 2021 at YourLibaas
About Somdyuti Bhattacharyya
Somdyuti is an experienced Content Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the fashion, health, and computer software industry. He is skilled in Painting, Dance, Communication, Creativity Skills, and Fashion. Strong media and communication professional with a Bachelor of Science - BS focused on Economics from Maulana Azad College.