Ikat tunics are one of the trendiest garments today. The most surprising and exciting thing about this trend is that it is international in its scope and reach. Though Ikat tops have naturally been a part of Indian fashion for many years, in western culture, they have only just become a major fad. The proliferation of international fashions and cross-cultural influences has led to this typically Indian type of design becoming a common sight in streets around the world.
The Ikat tunic, in itself, is not strictly Indian but more indo-western. The tunic is one of the most popular clothing items worn today, especially popular amongst the younger generation. Comfortable, versatile and stylish, tunics can be worn for every day wear as well as special occasions. What sets an Ikat tunic top apart is the use of the distinctive ethnic design on it. To understand the appeal of Ikat tops, it is important to understand exactly what Ikat is and how it is created.
A gift from India
Essentially, this is a very ancient type of dyeing technique that originated in India and then spread across the globe. It is still utilized in India to create all kinds of beautiful regional clothes, with rural artisans being the biggest practitioners of this art; however, countries like Indonesia and Japan have also become centers of Ikat production today.
Ikat is created by resist dyeing the warp or weft fibers before weaving them. The threads are bundled together and wrapped in the desired pattern, then dipped into various color dyes. The process can be repeated to get a brilliant, multi-faceted design. Once the dye dries, the fibers are unbundled and then woven into beautiful fabrics. When both warp and weft fabrics are dyed, the technique is called ‘double Ikat’.
The result is a beautiful woven fabric with fascinating designs of multiple hues displayed all over it. These can be random artistic designs of the artisans’ own imagination, or they can be special depictions of mythological scenes and nature inspired motifs. However, wavering lines of color are the most popular types of Ikat designs, especially for an indo western Ikat top.
Though the dyeing method is what defines and sets apart Ikat fabrics, the process can be quite intricate and time consuming. This is why the Ikat print top has become quite popular as well. This is essentially an upper wear garment in which the aesthetic effect of Ikat is produced through printing as opposed to dyeing. The brilliant play of colors and subtle variations of the dye are all captured by simply printing designs on to the Ikat top. This reduces the cost of the outfit and therefore makes this design accessible to a wider customer base.
Ikat print tunics have a very uniquely Indian aesthetic, which is what attracts most people to them. They also exude a playful, bohemian vibe, which makes perfect spring and summer wear outfits. They are available in a wide range of colors and designs. Endless variations of differing hues and wavy lines, geometric shapes and subtle motifs can be printed in the Ikat style on to a tunic.
There are many different types of Ikat tunics for women to browse. From the classy Ikat tunic dress to the fun casual wear Ikat top, there are many variations of the tunic garment to explore. Women will find typical Indian kurtis with long sleeves and a loose fit as well as well-fitted western tunics with a cinches waist and sleeve-less design. Some of these are cut in a more glamorous way, to be more suited for special occasions, while others are structured to be loose and comfortable.
They can also be created using materials of all types, from cotton and silk to georgette, chiffon and crepe. Cotton and linen are the most popular summer wear fabrics as they take on prints beautifully and are very comfortable. Chiffon and silk are generally used to create the fancier, evening wear varieties of Ikat tunics.
An Ikat tunic has definitely become a common sight the world over. Fashionable young women with a penchant for bohemian fashion love to wear funky Indian prints and designs, which is where techniques like Ikat come in. An Ikat top can be styled in a variety of ways depending on the desired aesthetic.
For instance, to get a bohemian chic look, women can pair up a lovely silk Ikat print tunic with black leggings, simple silver pendant and/or beaded earrings. A pair of kitten heels in a matching hue will complete the ensemble. To get a laid-back beach ready look, a loose Ikat tunic should be paired with shorts or an Indian skirt, colorful mojaris and beaded necklaces. To emphasize on the Indian factor, women can choose to wear tribal jewelry pieces like a wooden necklace, Dokra earrings or oxidized silver bangles.