All of our garments are produced in India, a country with a rich textile history. We chose to work with two factories in New Dehli and Jaipur because of the wide range of fabrics available, the historic and artisanal production processes, and the impressive handiwork techniques like smocking and embroidery that we often use on our clothing.
Amy has always had a love of textiles, and she began collecting antique fabrics when she was very young. After going to college for textiles, she continued to amass a collection of printed cloth from all over the world. As she learned more about printing methods, she began to gravitate towards the beautifully hand-done art of block printing.
New Delhi and Jaipur are home to many of the oldest block printing facilities, and we are committed to the preservation of this ancient printing technique. Through bringing this technique to contemporary women’s wear, we hope to help in some small way with keeping this historic printing method alive.
How it works...
- A block is prepared - A block of soft wood that is at least 2” thick is used. The maximum size for a block is usually around 8” x 8”, and the artisan draws or transfers the design onto the block. The designs are carved with knives and chisels, and for circular impressions a bow-type tool is used to spin the tool, creating perfect spheres.
- Multiple blocks are created for each color - A separate block will need to be carved for each color used in a design. It is most common for designs to include 3-6 colors, but more complex artwork can sometimes use up to 12 colors!
- Prepping the space + blocks - Fabric is stretched onto long, padded tables (the length of the tables determine the yardage that can be printed at one time). The blocks are soaked in water to soften them, and inks are mixed and spread out onto leather trays in thin and even layers. Each tray sits on top of a cart on wheels that can be easily moved throughout the space as the printing progresses.
- Printing - The block is dipped lightly onto the ink tray (similar to patting a stamp on a stamp pad) and then carefully aligned above the fabric. Once the artist is confident the placement is correct, the block is gently set down onto the fabric and tapped to get a good ink impression. Then the block is pulled up off the fabric, carefully so as not to smudge the artwork. This is repeated again and again across the fabric, in either straight or half-drop patterns. Once all of one color layer is completed the fabric is allowed to dry. Then the process is repeated with the next color(s).
Read more about block printing on our blog.
Sewing and Embroidery:
The sewing happens in a spacious factory where the sampling, cutting, and finishing also occur. Workers are provided with ample space and standard working hours, are over the age of 18, and work in a socially-compliant environment.
We utilize different types of sewing work on our garments, like smocking, detailed seamwork, decorative embroidery, and embellishments. Some designs are hand stitched, others are hand guided by a master embroiderer, and others are computerized - depending on the style of the artwork. Sometimes we combine different techniques together for a unique look.
In addition to block printing, we also utilize screen printing. This method is done by transferring our print designs onto a mesh. Pigment is then squeegeed through the mesh to transfer each color of the pattern onto the fabric to create yards of continuous designs.
Tie Dye and Dip Dye:
Many of our designs are hand dyed through tie-dyeing or dip-dyeing. Tie-dyeing is done by tying the fabric in different ways and then hand applying dye or placing into a vat of dye.
Dip-dyeing is a way for us to create an ombre (color transition from light to dark) look to some of our tops and dresses. This is done by lowering a garment by hand into a vat of dye and slowly raising up so that a pigment gradient is created.
These hand dyeing techniques help us create interesting patterns on the fabric and each hand-dyed piece is a little different from the next.
We choose to work with natural fibers because they are a renewable resource that can be replenished over time. Natural fibers are also biodegradable, as opposed to synthetically-produced fibers that are difficult to dispose of and often require incineration.
To increase our focus on sustainability, we also chose to use only organic materials created without the use of chemicals in our latest collections. Organic fabrics use less water, help soil maintain its fertility, and avoid pesticides that could negatively impact farmers, workers and the community in which it’s grown.
You can read more about our decision to use organic, natural fabrics and our dedication to sustainability on our Mission page.