We are passionate about promoting and preserving the livelihood of artisans and the traditional techniques they practice.
Our clothing is handcrafted by artisans in India using traditional methods and skills that have been in families for generations. We use natural, biodegradable fabrics that are handwoven and block printed with plant or low impact dyes. These age old processes are inherently sustainable and better for our planet.
India has the largest concentration of craft skills in the world, providing nearly 90 per cent of the world’s handwoven textiles. Throughout the ages, artisans in India have developed unique manual processes to make fabrics from local resources, without electricity or fossil fuel. These age old processes provide work, preserves traditional inter generational skills, empowers women and provides a sustainable livelihood to families and communities.
In 2020, there are 3.5 million handloom workers left, a decline of almost 50 percent in the last 24 years. These living traditions are threatened by mass production and the availability of cheap substitutes.
Supporting artisans provides work, preserves traditional inter-generational skills and helps women be employed in their own homes. Every time we buy a handcrafted garment, we are supporting a wider group of growers and makers like cotton or silk cultivators, farmers, spinners and dyers.
Our clothes are made by people, which is why slight variations in colour and print may be present.
Handcrafted traditions are worth preserving.
There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness. M.Gandhi
We use 100 % pure khadi cotton, silk and linen.
Khadi comes from the word khaddar – a term for hand spun, handwoven fabric made from cotton, silk or wool fibres. Khadi is made from natural fibres like cotton, silk or wool which is spun and woven manually, without electricity or fossil fuel.
In the 1940s in India, weaving khadi became an effective strategy for community action. When millions of weavers across india lost their livelihood as machine-made textiles took over the market, Gandhi united the country to boycott machine made clothes from Britain, spin their own yarn and wear locally made hand spun, handwoven cloth. He encouraged Indians to rediscover pride in their heritage while lending their support to rural people. Through this movement, he was able to bring back self-employment and self-reliance in rural areas. Khadi remains a symbol of autonomy today.
Gandhi also led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability.
Khadi is a versatile fabric that can be worn throughout the year. It is cool in summer and warm in the winter. It breathes and is kind to our skin. It gets better and softer with age, so the longer you wear them and love them, the comfier they get and the more the fabric relaxes into the curves of your body.
Khadi is eco-friendly and sustainable. It represents tradition, self-reliance, freedom and dignity for rural artisans.
HAND BLOCK PRINTING
Block printing is a craft as old as printed textile and has been practiced in the village of Bagru in Rajasthan for around 450 years. The art has been passed down the generations within families and communities. Traditional block printing is done in homes and small workshops to enable the whole family to be a part of the process.
The process involves carving a pattern on a wooden block, dipping the wood block in dye and stamping it onto the fabric. Plant based dyes and mud resist techniques are used to print on cotton, linen and silk. The fabric is soaked in water for 24 – 48 hours to remove impurities and to soften the fibres to absorb the dye. The colors are prepared and poured into a tray with layers of hessian. The fabric is stretched and pinned onto a long padded table. The printer dips the wood block into the dye, places it on the cloth and taps it firmly. This process is repeated until the pattern has completely covered the length of fabric.
We work with families who use a variety of printing methods.
The design is transferred to a smooth block of mango wood. The block maker carves the designs by hand with incredible precision using small chisels and drills. Each color and design requires a separate block. It can take two days to a week to make a block, depending on the intricacy of design. The blocks are soaked in mustard oil to prevent warping before it is ready to be used for printing.
Each region has its own unique motifs and patterns that tell the story of their surroundings.
Our prints are inspired by “a line is a dot going for a walk” and flight.
The colours are dependent on the quality of the plants, the water and skill and knowledge of the master printers. Slight colour variations within print runs occur because they are printed at different times or seasons.
After the printed fabric is dried, it is placed in a large copper pot of water and natural ingredients to complete the process. The block printed colours take on the vibrancy of the dye colour only when they are boiled with these natural ingredients.
Dabu printing is a method of printing with a paste that resists dye. The resist paste used here is a finely sieved mixture of local clay, gum, lime and ground wheat chaff. This mixture is freshly prepared before each printing and poured into a tray that has layers of fabric and hessian. The printer sprinkles sawdust on the printed fabric to prevent smudges. Afterward the hot sun dried printed cloth is dyed in a vat of indigo dye. The mud resists the natural indigo dye. When the dyed cloth is removed from the vat, it turns blue, when the air breathes life into it.
Once the fabric has been dried and washed to remove the resist paste, the result is a white pattern on a coloured ground.
INDIGO is a distinctive deep blue dye obtained from leaves of the indigofera Tinctoria plant. India is one of the oldest centres for indigo dying in the world. The word indigo means from India. The indigo is ground into a powder and soaked with lime, molasses and water and left to ferment in an underground vat for 20 days. When the fabric is dyed in this indigo vat, it appears green in colour. It turns blue only when the air breathes life into it.
The intensity of blue depends on the number of times it is dipped in the deep dye vat. These indigo vats are replenished with stock liquid to help them last longer. Much of the indigo we see today is a synthetic chemical indigo, which is a cheaper and easier to use alternative.