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The Artless Way

From the back doors of history: Muslin

From the back doors of history: Muslin

The lighter-than-air Muslin that clings around the body like a second skin has a glorifying past of sustainability and is slowly rising from the ashes. Keep scrolling to track its journey. 

In a world full of fancy vegan fabrics, be a muslin! 

Muslin or Mulmul clings around the body like a dream whilst transporting you to decades past, filled with nostalgia. Dated hundreds of years ago, muslin has always been associated with royalty not just because of its luxe touch-feel but because it inspired poetry for many.


Via: Wikipedia Commons

Exhibit A: Sufi poet, Amir Khusrau describes muslin as: 

The 'Bengal cloth' whose texture was so fine that the body was visible through it. One could fold a whole piece of this cloth inside one’s nail yet it was large enough to cover the world when unfolded. 

While literature took its shot at romanticizing the fabric with many Greek and Roman writers weaving beauty around the fabric, it slowly found its way into pop culture too with- 'Hawa mein udta jaye mera laal dupatta Mulmul ka.' And these artists cannot be blamed for such is the eye-blinding beauty of muslin. 

How the “woven wind” came to be 

The birthplace of muslin was Dhaka in Bangladesh which was part of undivided India and Bengali weavers are the messiahs who weaved the fabric into life. A priced export of India, the commercial value of the fine fabric was evident as soon as it hit the shelves, and boy, did it go on multiple world tours- Europe, England, you name it! 


Via: Flickr

While the Indian textile effloresced, colonialism tried to squeeze its throat in full power to create an uptick of sales in the imported fabrics of England. Myth has it that the British officials stooped so low as to lacerate the thumbs of the gifted artisans who hoarded magic in their hands. A classic Shah Jaan move. Even though the fabric had an immense role to play in the Swadeshi Movement, being called the Freedom Fabric along with khadi, it suffered a choking under the British Raj. A revival revolution for muslin is much needed!

In the sustainable club or not?

Bringing the limelight to muslin though is more than just about revival. It’s also about sustainability. Muslin is made from fine cotton yarn so it’s a plant-based fabric and eco-friendly if it is grown and made organically without chemicals. The organic cotton muslin is also biodegradable, drinks up less water in the manufacturing so basically, a win-win. While muslin has been left behind in the textile race, thanks to colonialism, it is slowly catching up with making guest appearances on the runway, raising the bar pretty high for couture.

With the shift towards sustainability, muslin can flawlessly shoulder the conscious movement with its beauty with brains persona.