The hand-woven and naturally dyed textiles that form the basis of the Naturally Anuradha collection of shawls and pillow covers have origins that can be traced back hundreds of years to the Ahom Dynasty in Assam, India. Silk cultivation was a major source of revenue there, and the rich fabrics created with it adorned both homes and bodies, and still does today. Shawls are often paired with other traditional wear such as mekhela chadars (traditional Assamese dresses), lehengas (skirts), or sarees to enhance the typical traditional look. Luxurious home goods, such as pillow covers and dupattas, are found in many homes throughout the community.
The materials used to craft these products include Eri, Mulberry, and Muga silk, organic cotton and organic dyes. The artist first creates a design and supervises the production of threads, which are dyed with natural products such as turmeric and indigo. The design is then handed over to weavers who work with traditional tools, no machinery. Over 60 specially-trained craftspeople work together as a family to craft the intricate materials.
The founder of Naturally Anuradha, artist and designer Anuradha Kuli, comes from what she calls “a small tribe in a nondescript village of Assam where women are expected to remain in the shadows of their husbands.” Though her designs and materials are influenced by traditions, she herself has worked hard to debunk long-held stereotypes about women by building a highly successful business. Patrons such as Sonia Gandhi and Jaya Bachchan wear Anuradha‘s signature saris and she has been awarded the National Award from the Indian Ministry of Textiles.