A consumer’s delight and the artisan’s pride, Chikankari forms an integral part of the Indian Ethnic Wear. Be it Ladies Chikan Work or Ethnic Wear for men, Lucknow Chikan is adorned equally by both men and women. Since time immemorial, Chikan has been accredited as a masterpiece not only in India but in other parts of the world as well. Chikan Embroidery has been famous as Indian Embroidery in different countries. Chikankari has registered and witnessed global acknowledgment and this has proved as a catalyst for the export of not only Embroidered Apparel but also Embroidered Bed Sheets, Embroidered Table Cloth, and Embroidered Cushion Covers.
Lucknow is the birthplace as well as the largest exporter of this unique Hand Embroidery. Although the charm of the city might have pined away recently but a global celebrity like Madonna donning Chikan apparel is a clear indication of the popularity the Lucknow Chikan has outside the country. MLK Exports is the leading export company that is famous for exporting product of this Hand Embroidery. Since 1975, this company has exported Chikan Embroidery products like Dresses to global brands like Amina (Japan), Fashion Fuse (United States), Ghora Tabela (Uruguay), Jackpot (Copenhagen), Betina Gers (Argentina), HHG (Spain), Coline (French), etc. Many more such brands including the aforementioned have ordered stocks worth crores of Rupees and this indicates about the reach and the global appeal of this unique hand crafted artistry. Internationally acclaimed designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla have been using Chikan Embroidery in their designs for 20 years now. What makes their contribution even more uplifting for the image of this beautiful Embroidery is that the duo got an actress of James Bond series fame, Judi Dench, to wear one of their magnificent Chikan embroidery creations to receiver an Oscar in 2004. Calvin-Klein, one of the most respected and famous fashion brands of the world once gave an order of 1000 pieces to a vendor in the Chowk area of Lucknow and nobody even got as to such a high profile brand ordered the shipment until the last stock was delivered. Such anonymous and large demands for Chikan kari by famous international brands are common in Chowk area not only for garments but also for bed linen.
SEWA, an NGO to uplift the livelihood of Lucknow Chikan artisans, had Comitato, an Italian Company, as a major client for 10 years and the artisans supplied 2000-2500 pieces of Chikankari in a year. All these examples of global recognition of this unique and indigenous embroidery provide a clear picture of the exports and the popularity of Chikan products ranging from Lucknow Kurtas and kids kurta payjamas to girls salwaar kameez, throughout the globe. Through movies and fashion industry alike, this masterpiece from the bag of Indian artistry has influenced the choices of not only the common masses but also has grabbed the attention of celebrities and stars from around the planet.