Phulkari, which literally translates into ‘flower work’, has a history etched in the culture of Punjab. Spun from the charkha this spectacular style of embroidery is patterned on odinis, shawls, kurtis and chunris. The main characteristics of this embroidery are the use of darn stitch on the wrong side of cloth with colored silken thread. A face of fashion that finds its first mentions in Punjabi folklore of the romantic protagonists Heer and Ranjha, Phulkari is a dream weaver for every Punjabi girl.

The embroidery took a backseat with the division of India and Pakistan. However, it soon sprang back up like an evergreen style statement. Even though there is an inimitable demand for Phulkari work till date, there are limited credible sources left from where one can purchase a hand-woven Phulkari fabric. With commercialization of the needlework, quicker methods of production were devised. Thread by thread, each motif was created in a geometric grid, which was a peculiar technique for coming up with a curvilinear final output. Long and short darn stitch was put to clever use for creating horizontal, vertical and diagonal thread work, inspired by routine of the artists, flowers, and animals.

The dyeing pigment used at that time, however, was not colour-fast, a problem for which the modern times held a solution. Modern Phulkari is a more serious business. From a leisure activity it has progressed to become one of the major sources of employment for the women in Punjab. The motifs spun out of the untwisted floss of silk, which is known as the pat, are cleverly fitted within the grids, representing the life in the hamlets of Punjab. Different Phulkari designs are reserved for different occasions. While Chope is a gift from the maternal uncle to the bride, the Wari da Bagh represents happiness.

A Phulkari suit or sari mixed and matched with ethnic jewelry in contrast colours looks admirable. Accessorize your Phulakari outfit with oxidized silver jewellery for a complete traditional look. Phulkari work is a trending global wear option. With people from all around the world exhibiting enthusiasm to indulge in Indian culture, Phulkari has easily slipped into the Western countries. Owing to its wearability all around the year, the style rates quite high on the global wearability factor. Depending on the occasion the Phulkari can be customized for occasional or regular dressing.

Phulkari is one of the most detailed and intricate kinds of needlework that needs proper care. A phulkari garment should we washed with delicate hands and should be ironed on the reverse side. Occasionally, getting it dry-cleaned will keep the fabric bright and lively.