Our previous blog was all about the mystical place Bagru, Jaipur and the sustainable “Chhipa” community that has been working on traditional techniques like “Dabu” printing and “Indigo” dyeing. These prints have traveled the world today in forms of fashion and home décor trends. My sister spent a day at the Fabindia center in Bagru seeing how this technique is carried out and how the brand is supporting the community build a better future for themselves. She called me later and said, “This is so inspiring Summi! I want to do this too! When I retire I would love to adopt a village and turn into a sustainable community and make fabrics and prints that will travel everywhere.” Well, cheers to that thought sis! I am sure we can make that happen someday! 🙂
That’s what some brands do – they inspire many! Be it the community or be it my sister witnessing the tradition – we all learn and grow! 🙂
You guys will be surprised to know that till date the community practices it the very same way as it was done 400 years ago. The use of machines is limited and it’s the hands of the artisans that produce some of the best pieces. And no matter what machine you make, the work of human hands for designing is irreplaceable! So that’s a living proof of how machines can replace everything but not art! It feels good to see a modern day brand like Fabindia believing in the skills of a community and boosting the much needed confidence to produce more of this wonderful technique.
So here is a sneak peek of what happens at the Fabindia center in Bagru –
Part 1 of the process – Dabu Printing
Dabu printing is a mud-resistant technique for attaining a specific design in one part of the cloth.
- The desired design is either block printed or handmade on the cloth by the artisans.
- Once the artisan can see the design in all desired regions of the cloth, he/she will apply clay on those regions and leave it to dry. Later, sawdust is sprinkled on the clay area so as to stick to the cloth.
Part 2 of the process – Indigo dyeing
The amazing fact about indigo is that this color is the king of all shades of blue! The only “blue” color known to a man until the early 20th century and till date, the only “blue” color that will withstand any considerable amount of time.
The plant of Indigo continues to be the base of centuries’ old dyes for color blue along with dried covers of pomegranate for the colour red and turmeric for yellow. In Bagru, the purest form of indigo is achieved from a single supplier since forever. The community doesn’t compromise on the quality of these dyes.
So where were we, yes now your cloth is just printed and has the clay/sawdust sticking to the designed areas –
- This cloth is then dipped multiple times in a 14-feet long well or “tanki” which is filled with the Indigo dye.
- After taking out, the first color achieved is green which later turns into a perfect indigo shade. The sun’s heat is enough to dry it and make it ready.
- This cloth then goes through the final step of refining, ironing, and packaging; ready to be styled into all these beautiful indigo garments and home textiles which you see at Fabindia stores.
Isn’t the process truly amazing!!! For those who have been following us for a while, know that we are Fabindia fans! Every piece of clothing we ever bought continues to be in our closet as our treasured clothes. Our dyed Fabindia clothes never lost the color or feel – and that has been possible only because the honesty of traditions and purity of its elements used.
The community is very welcoming and loving to all those who visit Bagru to know about the process. They ensure you are taken through each and every step of centuries’ old Indian printing and dyeing techniques. 🙂
Hey there 🙂
Have you landed on our blog for the first time? Well in that case, welcome aboard and thanks a ton for reading these beautiful Indian tales of ethnic fashion! 😀
We are two sisters who are in love with ethnic and indo-contemporary fashion and what better way than to write about it! 🙂
So here’s lots of “desi” love coming your way! Stay tuned for more! 🙂 ❤
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Ankita and Suvarna