The New Indian Express

Reviving the weaves of Khunn

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Janhavi Kulkarni who owns Kale Nele has worked painstakingly to bring the focus back on the dying craft of Guledgudd or Khunn.

If you are in North Karnataka, there is a bright hued fabric that is typically used in the saree blouse or choli that the women here wear. However, unfortunately this fabric is fast disappearing as looms are shutting down and demand is reducing. This is the Guledgudd or Khunn, a fabric that Janhavi Kulkarni knew about growing up in Dharwad.

Janhavi Hanchinmani Kulkarni
Janhavi Hanchinmani Kulkarni

Naturally for Janhavi her calling was always textiles and delicate embroideries, intricate patterns, vibrant hues always excited her and made her happy. “I had noticed the vibrancy of the fabric when the vegetable vendors and house help used to wear them.” Armed with a textile degree from SNDT Mumbai, she started her career at an export house in Mumbai that created high end products using Linen and Silk. In the summer of her college days, she decided to look for the fabric but drew blank. “I found just one store that had one realm of the fabric and one of the older salesmen told me to head to the old stores in the vegetable market. I went there and found a few pieces.” The fabric was only 31 inches long and comes with a 6 inch border on either side making it more challenging for use. Post her marriage she moved to Bangalore and had one of a fruitful association with the furnishing brand Yamini. “I headed their Product Development. At Yamini, we were able to explore the richness of Indian textiles. The bright cottons of Cannanore, the elegance of Maheshwari, the mesmerizing Ikats of Orissa and Andhra, the rustic tribal weaves of the North East and the joy of Kutch was presented to contemporary India. Yamini taught me much more than design. It showed me that the success of a retail organization depended on how it managed its supply chain and its costs. I learnt the importance of visual merchandize, marketing, promotions and the need to constantly innovate and strive to always be a market leader.” She then worked with a close associate who had setup a home furnishing workshop giving inputs on design, sourcing, execution, management and marketing, an experience that gave her the confidence to start something of her own. 

Read the full story that first appeared in The New Indian Express dated June 7, 2020 here:

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