Friday, 27 February 2015

Prints from the roots

Tradition in literal terms means the passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation. It is this connects with the past that compels today’s youth to be so fond of tie-dye suits, leheria pattern kurtis and other traditional ensembles. If it comes to ethnic clothes there are a variety of patterns and design techniques which produce really amazing designs and prints that transform simple clothes into unique ones.

Majority of the prints that can be seen in stores today are basically from Jaipur (Rajasthan) & from the smaller towns & villages around.

Block printing has been a traditional way of enhancing textiles so that it can be used to produce the wonderfully original skirts, jackets and dresses that you see in high street stores.

As a part of betterment in the Indian textile industry, some of the prominent fashion designers have taken up textile printing and started working on reviving the traditional hand block printing techniques.

The basic idea behind this technique is that a carved block is made of wood in a traditional pattern or a distinct design. Later, this block is dipped in an ink or color to print a pattern all over the piece of fabric.

The reason this technique is unique is because depending on the amount of ink used on the block, the pattern will seam into uniformity ensuring that every garment made from the same piece of fabric and yet will be completely individual in its pattern.

The prints are usually printed in a combination of red, black and indigo with highlights in green and yellow. Along with block printing, other beautiful techniques include tie-die and leheria patterns.

Tie-Dye is the process in which basically folding, twisting, pleating, or crumpling fabric or a garment is done and tied with string or rubber bands, and then dye is applied on the fabric. Tie-dye is characterized by the use of vibrant colors and bold patterns which includes the spiral, peace sign and mandala. This tie-dye print is used in sarees, suits, shirt, kurta etc.

One more form of tie-dye is leheria; this form printing technique originated in Rajasthan.  Conventionally seen in bright colors it has a very distinctive striped pattern; truly translating to the term wave-like. Depending on the skill and inventiveness of a worker, every fabric gets a new look, with imperial colors, fresh patterns and exuberant designs.

These days, the leheria pattern is a part of both apparel and accessories. You will find this style on ethnic and casual clothing, bags and sandals, as well as on scarves and cravats. It is very good that trend from an era gone by has become the new fashion lingo.

In fact, to get the best out of one’s wardrobe, a right blend of modern along with contemporary and traditional is always a safe bet. Whilst we can wear the first two on most occasions, it is special occasions like marriages where the traditional printing techniques really come to the fore.

Here’s hoping you trying something traditional later this summer!

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