We stumbled upon this tiny fabric store called Gamthi as we set about exploring Shankar Market.
Run by husband-wife duo Tribhuvan (who studied pattern design at NIFT) and Monica (who also has a background in fashion), Gamthi has a whole lot of other handloom fabrics to offer. The great thing about them is that they, while taking care to not tamper with the integrity of the art form, don’t necessarily go by the book when it comes to their design. So you won’t find similar kind of fabric in a state emporium, for instance.
Upon entering the store, our eyes first landed on the pile of Kalamkari fabric—the designs were bold, and beautiful. There was nothing generic about the prints, and the colour palette moved refreshingly away from the deep maroon, brown, and mustard-yellow base, which is usually the norm.
We found this fabric in pretty pinks, greens, oranges, and blues (starting at INR 350/metre for the block print one and INR 1,200/metre for free-hand), which made us a little too happy. We even learnt that an authentic Kalamkari fabric is first dipped in milk and then coloured with vegetable dye.
If these Kalamkari designs weren’t unique enough already, they even sell Kalamkari borders with stunning prints that you can add to a plain dupatta or saree. These come for INR 450 per metre.
They have gorgeous ikat, shibori, dabu (indigo block print), gajji silk (great for getting jackets stitched), south cotton border (INR 250 per metre), ajrakh, batik and khadi fabric (INR 300 - 400 per metre) too.
If you love ikat like we do (not the printed but handwoven ones), the variety at this store will make you very happy. Ikat here starts at INR 350/metre and they've got a Kazakhstan-technique ikat too for INR 1,400/metre (a bit too steep, yes). We're told that Gamthi is only one of the handful of retailers in India to offer this fabric.