5 of the Finest Materials That Make Up India’s Colorful Traditional Textiles

Published On September 12, 2018 | By Clare Louise | Fashion

Traditional Indian clothing has always been known for its vibrant colors and luxurious textures. Everything about it is so rich that even everyday Indian wear looks good enough for special functions.

But, what are the materials that make traditional Indian textiles so beautiful anyway?

Listed below are five of them:

  1. Silk

This is perhaps the most elegant material used for India’s colorful textiles. It is rather expensive because the fabric is quite delicate and difficult to create. However, it is a gorgeous clothing material, and it feels absolutely divine.

On top of this, silk falls beautifully, especially the soft varieties like Tussar. When used for clothing, it has the ability to accentuate curves. Meanwhile, thicker silk such as Banarasi and Mysore hold folds and shape much better. Thick silk is the choice material for royal wear (not just in India but also in other Asian countries with colder climates).

When silk is dyed, it easily achieves a vibrant hue. Because of this, expert hand-dyers can experiment with color combinations and gradations for design to show off the exquisite fineness of the fabric.

  1. Georgette

This see-through fabric is essential to traditional Indian clothing. Certain types of “lehenga” (the long skirt worn by a lot of women in South Asia) make use of this sheer material. It is also used for the drapes of saris.

Georgette is lightweight and a breeze to design. You can add all kinds of details to it such as embroidery, beading, sequins, sparkles, and even stamped-on embellishments.

This material is often used as a layering piece, which is necessary for a lot of traditional clothing designs. As previously mentioned, it is lightweight and, therefore, perfect for the hot and humid weather of South Asian countries like India and Sri Lanka.

  1. Cotton

Just like in other parts of the world, cotton is also one of the most important materials of Indian traditional textiles.History reveals that cotton has been used in India since ancient times.Additionally, Indians have long mastered this material and can literally work it into anything.

Cotton is used to make saris, kaftans, billowy pants, scarves, and most daily traditional wear in India. This is because top-grade cotton is hypoallergenic and cool to the skin which, again, is an advantage in hot and humid countries around South Asia, including India.

Worth noting, too, is how cotton is easy to design on. It absorbs pigments and holds embroidery stitches well. This is why clothing designers have no issue incorporating intricate geometric ethnic patterns and prints into cotton pieces.

  1. Crépe

This fabric used to only be made of woven silk, but these days, it can be made from cotton, rayon, or satin (much more economical materials compared to silk).

What’s particularly beautiful about crepe is it is much easier to provide structure to because it is not as slinky nor as soft silk, like Tussar and Kosa silks. Therefore, it is an ideal fabric for men’s formal wear and bridal suits.

Like most other Indian textiles, this material can come in different rich colors and can be designed or embellished in numerous ways. At times, it is even paired with georgette so it can have a much softer silhouette.

  1. Synthetic Chiffon

The colorful costumes in Bollywood films are often made of synthetic chiffon. This material is affordable and it can be dyed into pretty much any color.

And do you want to know the reason why it is often used in Bollywood films? It’s because the material is soft and it moves gracefully. They are part of the reason why all the dance numbers in the production look incredibly lively.

Needless to say, chiffon is a versatile fabric. It can be made into most traditional pieces of clothing for men and women, and even modern-inspired pieces. At the same time, it is a delight to customize. Chiffon can hold beads, sequins, chains, appliques and other embellishments.

Include more Indian textiles in your fashion arsenal

There you have it — the five finest materials Indian traditional textiles are made of.

Each of them is absolutely gorgeous and fashionable.

So, if you ever find yourself in mystical India and you want to invest in colorful authentic Indian outfits to elevate your wardrobe and personal style, these are the materials that they should come in.


Ethiopian-born and Dubai-based fashion designer FeiruzaMudessir discovered her curiosity for  mixing the traditional with contemporary at a young age, and this has become the trademark of her designs today. When you slip into one of Feiruza’s creations, you can almost hear the rhythms of Africa, the beats of India and the vibrancy of Dubai – this distinctive and colorful mélange is just what Finchitua is about.

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