Promoting an almost-extinct form of embroideryin India - Tepchi Chikankari embroidery
He is not just a fashion designer, he is a craftsman and embroider himself and has come up the hard way, working on designs, embroidery and embellishments with his own hands over the last ten years. And this hands-on experience of about 10 years was very apparent when veteran bollywood actress Rati Agnihotri saw Umair Zafar's outfits and was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the costumes designed by Mumbai fashion designer Umair Zafar for her film.
Speaking to Newz66.com, Umair Zafar said, "We all know about Lucknowi chikankari work and its various forms. But not many people have heard of Lucknowi tepchi work on Kota fabric. Tepchi is one of thirty-two kinds of chikankari embroidery and is one of the most delicate and intricate forms of embroidery. It is single-thread hand-work which looks good with medium sized floral designs. The delicate, very thin cotton thread work is done is such a way that it gives the impression of print on fabric. The beauty of the work is such that the same kind of stitching pattern runs on flowers, leaves and stems - in fact over the entire design and looks really amazing. It is difficult to make out the right and wrong side of the embroidery by just looking at it and hence it is also known as magic work. Every stitch is similar to the other and uses a very thin type of thread."
Actress Rati Agnihotri is being styled by Umair Zafar for her upcoming film Tere Aane Se and most of her costumes feature this tepchi chikankari work. "This is a dying tradition and art-form or art work and we hope this film Tere Aane Se and Rati Agnihotri wearing outfits with tepchi chikankari designs on them brings this artistic expertise to the fore and puts this forgotten art on the fashion map of the world," said Umair Zafar.
Umair Zafar's new collection of long and short kurtis to suit women of all sizes and age-groups uses a lot of tepchi chikankari on Kota fabric which is very traditional to Lucknow. This effort has provided employment and a source of livelihood to about 50 artisans and craftsmenwho were otherwise out-of-work due a lack of demand for this intricate-yet-delicate and exquisite hand work which is very time consuming, tedious and difficult.