Banaras Sunrise Dress: Elegance in the Everyday
The story of our Banaras Sunrise dress begins deep in the “heart of India”–the state of Madhya Pradesh. Surrounded by picturesque hills and dotted with the ruins of once-majestic temples, Chanderi is a bustling hamlet where the art of fabric weaving has been passed down carefully through generations. The city’s namesake textile is a specially woven 50/50 silk-cotton blend, beloved in India for its breezy elegance and poised to start turning heads on the global fashion stage.
The beauty of a personal touch
At a workshop in Banaras, on a well-worn handloom, a tangible piece of history emerges as if guided by divine inspiration. Using a deliberate process of twisting and interlocking individual strands of cotton and silk, a national award-winning weaver crafts yards of lightweight Chanderi fabric, instantly recognizable by its signature silken shimmer.
Once complete, the textile continues its journey–an overnight train ride to New Delhi–where it receives a time-intensive artisanal block printing treatment that requires countless passes of wooden stamps over its entire surface. During each pass, the print block is meticulously hand-aligned to overlay various colored inks that produce the fabric’s unique pattern. Each motif is stunning in its intricacy, with nearly imperceptible “imperfections” that reveal careful, hand-made origins.
A versatile statement piece
Though its fabric is timeless, the Banaras Sunrise dress is purposefully designed for the active, modern woman. Featuring a V-neck bodice that sweeps open below the waist for easy day-to-night comfort, this eye-catching dress looks as natural at an autumn barrel wine tasting as it does at a summertime beachside brunch. Lined in a luxurious semi-crepe, the dress’ smooth feel against the skin belies its intrinsic durability.
With additional input from real women who love global fashion, we incorporate truly functional elements like a low backside neck for easy zipper access and specially designed bra loops near the shoulders that prevent accidental strap peek-through.
Celebrating global culture through fashion
We at Zofie firmly believe that the intricate beauty of block-printed Chanderi fabric should be enjoyed by all women, no matter where they’re from. Our mission is to support the communities where traditional artisans continue their work by fostering the incorporation of global fabrics into the American wardrobe.
“I personally know many women who are in love with the vibrant patterns found on Indian fabric and want to find ways to spice up their clothing by adding new colors and textures” explains our founder, Vidita Subbarao. “The Banaras Sunrise dress solves this by introducing a stylish western-inspired design to a gorgeous traditional Indian print.”