Pochampally, a cluster of about 80 villages in Andhra Pradesh, has traditional looms which create unique patterns and designs that are centuries old. The place is often called the ‘silk city of India’ for its beautifully designed silk ‘Ikkat’ sarees and fabric. Ikkat is a style of weaving where the warp, weft, or both are tie dyed before the final design is created through weaving to form the final design. Pochampally is most popular for its Ikkat style of saris and material and is known around the world for its spectacular Ikkats. It is located about 50 km from Hyderabad.
Pochampally sarees is known to be popular since the 1800s. They were made popular by global traders who came via the ancient silk route. Through the ages they have symbolized power and luxury. They appeared in the international fashion arena by the use of exclusive Pochampally sarees by Air India air hostesses. The Ikkat style of Pochampally designs come to life after a 18 step process. This process contains a sequence of tying and dyeing sections of bundled yarn. This results in a predetermined color patterns and designs on the final fabric prior to the actual weaving. Designs generally are worked out on a graph paper first. On the background of weft and warp this design on a graph paper is visualized in this style of weaving. Later in the process, the design is transferred onto the weft and warp. The threads of the warp and weft are measured carefully, and then tied and kept in the dye solution. The weaver has the responsibility of doing the mathematical calculations involved in figuring out where the yarn has to be tied and dyed. The precision of the wrapping determines the clarity of the design.
These Pochampally designs are perfectly reversible with the same appearance of the design on both sides. This makes them most suitable for different fashion applications like sarees, dupattas, scarves and stoles which tend to fold and for getting a similar look from either side. After completing each saree, the weaver frees it from the loom, thoroughly checks it and folds it properly before taking it to the stores selling them. The Ikkat of Pochampally are unique and differentiated because designs and patterns appear similarly on both sides of the fabric. Pochampally fabrics find wide applications in the form of sarees, dress materials, pillow covers, bed sheets, furnishings, ready-made garments, towels as well as other value added items such as bags, file folders, purses, mobile pouches etc.
One of the finest creations of the Indian fashion and lifestyle manufacturing industry, Pochampally finds a place in every Indian woman’s wardrobe or possession. With a unique visual identity each Pochampally creation is hand crafted to perfection. Their vivid and geometric designs seldom go out of fashion. Time and again they have been reinterpreted to look contemporary. Varieties of designs are also easy to obtain. Pochampally saree has received Intellectual Property Rights protection or Geographical Indication Certification in 2005. As these items go global these protections prove vital for the sustainable protection of this craftsmanship.