L: Camellia Top from Paher
R: Dear Friend Shirt from Tree by JM
L: Camellia Top from Paher R: Dear Friend Shirt from Tree by JMPaher, Tree

Call it Shirt, Call it Kaftan: Stay Cool This Summer With These Homegrown White Kurta Brands

Summer is relentless in India this year, with reports of soaring temperatures being the only thing coming at us, with very little chance of cloudy skies. While those in cities like Bangalore are learning to cope with heat like they have never had to before, others in cities like Delhi have entered their annual summer mode - white kurtas and cottons dresses have come out, nimbu paani and chaas are consumed in gallons, and people are making the most of the summer mango season. 

Before you roll your eyes and dismiss this feature with the thought “white kurtas for hot indian summer..groundbreaking!”, let us take a moment to look at what a Kurta is. By definition, it is ‘a loose collarless shirt, usually worn with a salwar, churidars, or pyjamas.’ So whether a brand chooses to call it a tunic, dress or shirt, for our intents and purposes, this homegrown curation is of modern renditions of the white kurta that meet the criteria of being collarless, loose fitted and can be paired with a salwar, churidar, pyjama, skirt and so on, and is perfect for summer but let’s be honest - any time really.  

1. Hachi Dress From Eka


The Hachi is a simple, mid length front open shirt dress with a closed round neck from the conscious design label Eka By Rina Singh. The seemingly simple ‘shirt dress’ in white has a multitude of little details that make it from being yet another white top. From the varying thickness of the stripes that run across one side of it vs that of the stripes on the sleeve, to the embroidery. Lest you think the top is too plain, the right side features machine embroidery details - a botanical pattern in matching white runs over the whole right side of the top, with little threaded pops of blues, yellows and pinks added in like little scrawls - seemingly imperfect, yet imparting the right amount of colour to elevate the piece. 

Find out more here.

L: Camellia Top from Paher
R: Dear Friend Shirt from Tree by JM
Fashion Label Eka’s Spring Collection 'Kohima' Is A Timeless Ode To Studio Ghibli

2. Dear Friend Shirt From Tree by JM 

Tree by JMp

A kurta with a story to tell, the Dear Friend Shirt from the label Tree by JM (Jasna Moidu), is one that is unbound by notions of gender and size. This handwoven cotton dress features intricate floral embroidery that depicts bouquets of flowers. The entire collection Dear Friend was conceptualised as a dedication to a beloved friend and the notion of presenting them with a seemingly simple bouquet of wildflowers, but with all the love in the world. This shirt that epitomises all these emotions is captured in design in this piece, with the little embroidered bouquets of flowers in red, pinks and violets, complete with little leafs added onto what is otherwise a simple, loose fitted, long-line shirt. 

Find out more here.

3. Camellia Top from Paher 


As a brand Paher was inspired by the concept of time and of being timeless. Following a wabi sabi approach to creation, the pieces from Paher are those crafted by hand, and come to you the same way, imperfections and all. The Camelia Top is a sleeveless, longline top in off-white/beige with side slits and a keyhole opening at the back. The brand crafts seasonless pieces, working with artisans from across India and finally finished at their workshop in Bangalore. Crafted from hightwist handloom cotton, the fabric for this top is handwoven in Phulia village in West Bengal. The high-twist yarn used to make this fabric is unbleached and undyed. The garment is then crafted at the brand’s aforementioned workshop. True to form as a sustainable brand, the pieces from Paher are made-to-order and even come with hang tags with real pressed flowers and leaves to add an extra something personal and botanical. 

Find out more here.

4. Neo Kaftan from Nouria


From Nouria, a brand that celebrates the modern woman that balances the delicate balance of comfort and elegance, was founded by designer Dipti Advait. Combining her personal style sensibilities, industry knowledge and her fashion education, she create the brand for the regular woman are doing incredible things on the daily, while embracing bold, confident fashion.The Neo Kaftan from Nouria is a simple elegant, fluid garment that is perfect for layering and is essentially an elevated essential for any wardrobe. Crafted from striped cotton textured fabric in white, it is comfortable and drapes elegantly, and pairs best with everything from a simple white linen pant or any other way you fancy, really!

Find out more here.

5. Kumo Dress from Yavi


A young contemporary label from designer Yadvi Agarwal, Yavi is synonymous with crafting ethereal, artful attire. Yadvi’s personal love for textile, art and her study of traditional craft practices and work with traditional artisans have translated into the range of easy wear, but stylish staples, more of which you can learn about here. The Kumo Dress from Yavi is a Jamdani front open dress with paneling and pin tuck details, with a smattering of floral patterns inspired by Japanese practice of crafting Ikebana bouquets, juxtaposed with straight lines and polka dots of the other details, as is typical of Jamdani attire. Traditionally the technique itself features either geometric, plant or floral prints, or a combination of them, and is woven painstakingly in the finest of cotton. The exquisite, gauzy Jamdani fabric makes the Kumo Dress a light, breathable wear, especially when paired with the spring-inspired motifs from Yavi. 

Find out more here.