As the hot humid days of summer take over, let your wardrobe undergo an upgrade as well. For this season, we’ve curated a selection of non-traditional garments inspired by the traditional art of hand-block printing. The craft is said to have originated in the villages of Rajasthan and requires skill. Artisans carve a block of hardwood to create the desired design. The blocks are then dipped into dye baths and stamped onto the base fabric with extreme precision. This slow and sustainable process is finding its way to the collections of several homegrown brands who wish to preserve the craftsmanship that goes behind it. Here’s a list of dresses, tops, skirts and co-ords that will have you feeling stylish and cool while promoting this ancient art.
Set of three pieces that can be mixed and matched guarantees you will get bang for your buck. Baise Gaba’s monochrome Jonquilla set of 3 comes with a sleeveless crop top and detailed with bead handwork, loose-fitted Bermuda shorts and peony printed dobby cotton shrug, all in the same lavender shade with yellow accents.
The Bella top and skirt set by Cord is made of 100% cotton and is dotted with a dahlia print. A top with a smocked high neckline and elasticised cuffs is covered with wooden buttons at the back and is paired with a flower-laden block printed midi skirt.
One can’t go wrong with a classic co-ord set. De Castro’s Rosa Roja printed set is cut from rust coloured pure linen and embellished with a handblock print. The crop top with a tie-back detail, and the flared high-waisted pants can be worn together or even treated as separates.
An Indigo handwoven linen top, adorned with a Mandarin collar comes from the house of eka. The shirt is hand block printed in contrasting white, and the printing process required over 30 different blocks that are complemented by hand embroidered buttons down the front.
A maxi made of pure cotton keeps you cool and comfortable all day long. This one by designer Khyati Pande is made in an A-line silhouette dotted with mini sprigs of lavender, an open square neck, and delicate lace straps.
The devil is in the details of this Nicole jumpsuit by Madder Much, as the garment comes together with a cute knot at the back. This ensemble is hand block printed, using eco-friendly dyes from artisan clusters in Jaipur and is lined with a super-soft mul fabric.
Perfect for a trip to the Maldives or a casual lunch in the city, this Lait maxi is made with 100% sustainable cotton in India. Hand block printed in shades of blue and yellow, it features ruffled straps, a fitted bodice, a pleated skirt with a tiered structure. and full length. The brand is inspired by artisanal crafts and is helmed by a New-Delhi- and Copenhagen-based duo.
The PDKF store, also known as the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, is a social outreach initiative that empowers women in Rajasthan. The Patchwork Quilted Jacket is made by the ladies of PDKF using 100% cotton upcycled fabric. Each piece is unique as the placement of fabrics may vary. Pair it with a simple white vest and denims or loose shorts for a relaxed look.
This Rias Jaipur jumpsuit feels and looks like summer. Made from hand spun indigenous cotton, blended with natural bamboo yarn, it keeps you cool, and is also hand block printed with traditional wooden blocks. With strappy sleeves and pockets, it is perfect for a summer day out.
An aqua-green block printed Pacific Horizon dress by Taro is just the buy for a sweltering summer. The bias-cut asymmetrical dress features a tie-up back and is made of hand-woven cotton silk with a rustic peach poppy flower print.