As monsoon sets in, and Onam looms closer, there is something in the air, here in Kerala. Spring is almost here and that means Kasavu sarees, homecomings and post-sadhya naps. Onam is a non-divisive festival — it is celebrated across religions and communities. While some may simply plan and indulge in the best Sadhya out there, for others it might be days of floral carpets and traditional rites. Every traditional restaurant has a sadhya package, sometimes with a twist (non-veg sadhya, anyone?), and they are all welcomed by the people. Residents associations and offices have celebrations with flower carpet contests, shinkari melam if it's a grand affair and of course, copious amounts of payasam.
However it is celebrated, the mundu and sarees come out, and all through the Onam season, set-sarees and kasavu mundu take over our roads and most importantly, ex-pats often make their way home. Much like migratory birds that return home for spring, students who’ve gone away come back to celebrate with their families. Friends who are meeting after years, organise Onam reunions. Even those who are ‘in the gulf’ are in town for Onam, as their yearly vacation and the festival coincidentally collide. In thinking of the cultural significance of Onam and homecomings, it is befitting that Rouka, a brand that is deeply rooted in its Malayali identity, has created a collection inspired by ‘Flying Home'.
As a brand, Rouka is loved for its handloom pieces that marry modern design and sensibilities with traditional fabrics and techniques. While the Rouka saree is the focus of the brand, they also offer select dresses and textiles with their iconic patterns and motifs. For this collection, the motifs are inspired by the idea of home and of migratory birds and people, that come home when spring begins. The concept note from the brand reads, “Home, for all of us, is an emotion. In a world where we are all constantly moving, and trying to find our own nest, our lives still revolve around finding the feeling of home. And when the homes move, they take with them a little piece of that place, leaving behind a part of them. June and July is a month of travel when we all find connection. Some of us travel to meet our family far away, while the others travel in search of their forgotten past.”
Featuring handwoven Kasavu sarees in a contemporary palette, the collection employs embroidery and applique work on cotton silk and organza sarees. The motifs design ranges from striped sarees that are modern renditions of the typical Kasavu saree, to those that feature palm fronds, lush foliage and birds perching on tree limbs. There is even a cotton silk saree called ‘hideout’ that features geometric house shapes that are reminiscent of small thatched houses from Kerala of yore. The collection follows an earthy nude palette with sarees in shades of sepia, truly leaning into the air of nostalgia that weaves through this collection.
You can explore this collection here.
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