Masterpiece in the making
As Hindu people around the world celebrate Diwali this week, maake wanted to tell you about a beautiful sari design we printed on fabric. It was for talented creative, Momtaz Begum-Hossain, who designed this masterpiece for a personal sari.
Here she tells us about her inspiration for producing her showpiece
How did you initially get the idea of custom printing your designs as a sari?
I’ve always loved fashion and use this medium as a form of self-expression and creativity. Saris are a part of my life. They were the only garments my mother wore – she didn’t own any Western clothes. She only wore saris, and I was amazed at how they always looked as if putting them on was effortless.
Saris are a whole six metres of fabric, which is six metres of colour and pattern to play with. So I got the idea of making my own sari. I used that six metres of fabric to tell my story through design.
My friend Tree introduced me to digital printing. She had had some printing done and she recommended that I give it a try. She knew how much I like colour and fashion. I loved the idea, but I also felt the project was beyond my reach. I’m an avid crafter. I love making things with my hands, but I’m not a graphic designer, so I was a little intimidated. How could I possibly design something without the expertise?
I realised that although I don't know about graphics, I do know about colour and crafts. So I created some 3D collages using paper, fabric, jewellery and trimmings. Then I photographed these collages and used the photos to create the fabric design.
What is the meaning behind the colours and designs that are printed on the sari?
The first thing I did was plan out the sections of the sari. You see, although it’s 6m long, more than one design makes up the sari; one splits it into different sections. We call the main visible section of the sari the ‘pallu’. This section stretches over the shoulder. It's the most visible section, which is why I couldn’t wait to design it.
The sari also has a bottom border, which is usually a repeat pattern. Most of the fabric makes up the centre section. One winds this section around the body and it pleats. As most of the patterns on this section aren’t visible, one usually uses a more basic pattern for this.
As this was a personal piece, I wanted to capture all the things I love in my design. I’m a huge Batman fan. As a result, I decided to use pink bat logos juxtaposed against a silhouette of the Taj Mahal. I used this design for the repeating border pattern.
They built this famous building in India to commemorate the Mughal Empress Mumtaz after her death. My parents named me after her, so I loved that connection. For me, it was like creating my own Gotham skyline. For the sky image, I used a photo I had taken of a beautiful sunset in Brighton. I took that photo when I was a student – it reminds me of good times.
The ‘pallu’ section of the sari is very much a ‘more is more’ aesthetic, which I love! It’s a celebration of colourful crafty items – like fabrics, beads, sequins, broken jewellery, and some handmade paper. One converts all of these into collages. I already had all these items at home, many of which I'd gathered during my travels.
Once I had collected all my collages and the photos, I asked my friend Sal to assist. Together we combined my photos into a long rectangular graphic. I then uploaded this graphic onto the Fashion Formula website and they printed onto my 6m of fabric. They had it ready in a couple of days!
How did it feel to wear the sari, a garment with a magnificent design you’d created from scratch?
When I received my sari, they had wound it around a cardboard pole. I was amazed as I unwound it and watched the patterns unravel. The finished print surpassed all my expectations. The patterns were so clear and beautiful. And the silky soft, light crinkle chiffon lurex that the team at Fashion Formula recommended was perfect for a sari. (I told them I wanted something floaty and they said they had the perfect fabric! It has a natural glistening stripe and it gave my sari a natural shimmer.)
I feel so proud when I wear my sari because it’s a unique piece of wearable art that represents me. I'm a British South Asian Londoner, Colour Addict, Craft Queen, Batman-loving, Urban Warrioress. I'm also a firm believer in freedom – freedom to be who you want to be and do what you want to do, as long as it makes you happy!
Note : Whilst we no longer stock the Crinkle Chiffon Lurex, a similar effect can be achieved with our Chiffon, Georgette, Faux Silky Satin, Summer Voile and Crepe de Chine bases.
Design: Momtaz Begum-Hossain - @momtazbh
Photography & make-up: @MakeUpSurgery