From Tradition to Fashion: The story of Chikankari's journey from a traditional handicraft to a fashion accessory. | Shyamal Chikan

From Tradition to Fashion: The story of Chikankari's journey from a traditional handicraft to a fashion attire

Chikankari is a very delicate embroidery from Lucknow. Chikan, in the literal sense, means embroidery, This art form was known to be introduced by Mughals. The simple and precise, yet intricate hand stitch gives a classy feel to the garment.
There are several interesting stories related to the origin of the embroidery. As early as 3rd century BC, Megasthenes, A Greek traveler mentioned the used muslin by Indians. A traveler who was passing by Lucknow asked a poor peasant for water and for the hospitality, love & service he received he taught the peasant the art of Chikankari that he won’t be hungry ever and could earn a living.
Another Tale associated with this brilliant craft is that Noorjahan, queen of King Jahangir introduced the Persian art in the 17th century and was said to be a brilliant embroideress and was fond of this art, Her husband also developed a certain amount of interest in the embroidery and established several workshops to perfect this art in India.

Chikankari is a needlework embroidery done on white fabric, mostly muslin and silk. The process involves using white colored thread with these types of stitches naming backstitch, chain stitch, and hemstitch. There are many different designs that are used in this embroidery work such as flowers, birds, peacocks, paisleys, etc. The embroidery work is famous for their zari work which is a type of embroidery work where gold and silver thread are used and the combination of colors used with the zari work is what makes the work even more stunning.

The artist takes care of the perfect delicate stitches done manually, to give the garment look of richness and perfection.With the growing demand in the handicraft sector and hand-woven items, modernization has played an important role in the retail sector. Global acceptance of the handloom products has led to the sale of these Chikankari products take place in the online market too.