Zachery Butner- "Kerala"
Kassavu silk sari, assorted fabric, polyester thread, hem tape, snaps
39 x 62 x 10 inches
Kerala is named after its weaving producer from the India state capital of Trivandrum at the Kerala Handloom Palace. The sarees made from this district are one of the most historically important places for cotton sarees in all of India.
The territory has a geographical identification in which they are known to still use the traditional techniques specific to the culture in this state. This style is known as the Kasavu saree. I watched them weave the cotton and silk outside in a precast building. I was taught it takes anywhere between 4-7 days to complete one garment.
When I was traveling, I saw the lightweight material worn throughout the city in many ways by both men and women. Typically pleated at the waist and draped around the body; the daily outfit is worn with effortless elegance. The sarees include an extremely specific homage to their heritage with the gold border for a touch of divine merit. The gold border is silk that’s been coated in silver then plated with gold. The cost of a Kasavu set varies according to the width of the gold borders.
To use the inherited ornateness of the saree and make a garment that unites communities, gender, and cultural backgrounds was a lot to consider. Over time in history the Kasavu saree has adapted to include personality in colors and prints. I was immediately drawn to the contrasting jewel tones and festive design from the pallu in this textile.
The pallu is now a reversible, detachable, and expandable shawl. Which could be used on your lap sitting down in a [wheel]chair or on the shoulders with cold mornings. Most of my designs in the last two years surrounding fashion have been focused on universal, long-lasting, upcycled apparel.
For my submission, I have used all seven yards of this saree in a zero-waste design as the foundation for my sustainable concept. I constructed my design through layering, fusing, patchwork, and creating versatile parts out of the fabric without affecting the silhouette. The equitable use of the garment, like intended, eliminates complexity for universal inclusivity.
Looking back, did I have the education back then about sustainable social responsibility? No.
Do I realize today the impact that I have had on this community regarding my purchase? Yes.
Realizing this pushed me to complete the cloak in honor of the tradition and the true cost of what looks like a blood stain close to the left, backside hem. To even value being their last customers before the national Covid-19 lockdowns is incomparable.
In addition, a complete sustainable life cycle analysis would require traceability, and through my design I can trace that the garment was Made in USA, and manufactured by handloom, from women, then sold by ready-made retailer at: Kerala Handloom Palace; NH Bypass Road, Vazhamuttam Junction, Thiruvallam Junction, Thiruvananthapuram – 695027.
Please note: Due to differences in monitor settings, colors may appear slightly different on screen than in-person.
This item is available for pickup only. All artworks are required to stay on display for the duration of The Judith Hendler Design Competition. After June 12, 2021, Art Center Staff will contact when the work will be ready for you. By purchasing this item, you are confirming that you will be available to pick up this artwork in-person at the Huntington Beach Art Center. All Sales Final. For more information call (714) 374-1650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.