*This blog post was edited on August 16th, 2019.
Hi Guys and a happy Friday to you! I just realized today that there is so much I am grateful and should say thanks to God for. Health, family (including my cats), friends, my experiences (especially the good ones), and most of all the continued energy and perseverance God blesses me with daily to meet worldly challenges. iA, one day, I plan on going to Hajj and thank Allah for everything he has given me.
Today, I wanted to continue Sub-Continent Embroidery Week with Phulkari. I learned about this type of embroidery on a blog and I thought it looked quite cute. I did a little bit of research and found myself two phulkari dupattas from Singapore, which were more expensive than in Pakistan, but I was in a hurry and didn’t want to wait for my Pakistan trip this month. So here goes:
What is Phulkari:
*Resource is Wikipedia
Phulkari embroidery technique from the Punjab region (divided between India and Pakistan). This type of embroidery involves several threads of silk embroidered into cotton fabric. It was called Haryana back in the day and it literally meant flower work, but in time the word “Phulkari” became restricted to embroidered shawls and head scarfs. Simple embroidered odini (head scarfs), dupatta and shawls, made for everyday use, are called Phulkaris, whereas garments that cover the entire body, made for special and ceremonial occasions like weddings, fully covered fabric is called Baghs (“garden”) and scattered work on the fabric is called “adha bagh” (half garden).
Traditionally, Phulkari garments were part of a girl’s wedding trousseau, its motifs expressive of her emotions and the number of Phulkari pieces defined the status of the family. Over the years, government promoted Phulkari embroidery, by organizing special training programs, fairs, and exhibitions. Since most of the women artisans creating Phulkari are in the unorganized sector or work through agents, they do not make much money compared to an actual market price of their product. To avoid this lacuna Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (See HERE) has formed women self-help groups and cooperatives to sell directly and make more profits. I also suggest going to villages and small towns in Punjab instead of a store to purchase Phulkari to support these women artisans. If you can’t go to small villages, you can look into HERE for some good quality, although slightly more expensive work.
Some modern incorporation of this embroidery has moved beyond garments to objects and garments as varied, as jackets, bags, cushion covers, table-mats, shoes, slipper, shoes, and kids garments.
While a typical Lahori style of modernizing Phulkari is by wearing it as a scarf with jeans or a kurti/t-shirt, there are other ways you can style Phulkari to make you look like a modern girl with traditional roots. One of the ways that I plan on creatively incorporating Phulkari in my party wardrobe is by moving beyond using Phulkari as a dupatta and stitching them as pants or trousers. These colorful worked dupattas look awesome against a plain white kurta/kameez or long shirt and can be accessorized with some good ‘ol khussas (See HERE) or kolhapuri chappal (See HERE).
If you want more of a western look, then I suggest pairing Phulkari with some nude pumps and a Masur Gavriel famous circle mini-bag (See HERE and HERE) or their circle tote (See HERE). If you want a muted day look, a black handbag will look good too (See HERE). These high-quality bags are designed in New York City, but made in Italy. I particularly like the colorful ones-bright hued or pastel and the interesting shape gives it a very unique look. These handbags and mini-bags are work appropriate (for Pakistani women) AND for parties. They are even fashionable enough to transition from work to a brunch or any event, regardless of where you live.