The technique of fabric printing is a significant surface adornment technique. The technique is widely used in the textile industry as a medium to boost the style and value of the fabric. Fabric printing is a process of imprinting patterns and designs onto a fabric with the help of colors. By hand or by machines, the textile industry is using several ways to print the fabric. One of these printing technique is hand block printing.

With its origin roots in the regions of China, Japan and India, hand block printing has a diverse history dating back to the 5th century BC. India has been celebrating its block printing techniques in varied forms from a long period of time. Distinct techniques like discharge, resist and direct style of printing are practised by various printing communities in different parts of the country. The traditional block printing techniques have been passed down to family generations to practice and promote it further. Sanganeri print, Kalamkari print, Bagh print, Dabu print are some of the printing techniques that have been originated in India. These techniques and their designs differentiate from other based on several factors- climate, cultural beliefs, availability of materials etc.

Hand block printing is a slow- moving but a tedious process wherein wood block designs along with colours are printed on to the fabric. It starts with carving out the designs into the wooden blocks which are later covered with colors. These colour dipped blocks are then pressed on the fabrics in a repeated manner. While these design blocks can be of metal too, wooden blocks are widely chosen because of its organic results. The colors used for block printing were originally obtained from various natural resources, but with the change in time and unavailability of resources, natural ingredients have been replaced by chemical colors in the industry.

With the increasing rates of exploitation in the handicraft sector, it is very essential to support and sustain the craftsmen to be able to keep the traditional crafts alive. Dhãran provides such a support platform to the local block makers, dyers, printers and tailors by providing them fair employment opportunities and an opportunity to showcase their skills.

Sustainable industry broadly creates a combination of supply chain transparency, ethical business practices, uncomplicated accountability, minimum environmental impacts, favourable policies and promoting long- lasting materials. The prime goal of developing a sustainable industry is to create a system which can be supported forever in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. Sustainable materials in the fashion industry refers to fibres that have the lowest negative impact on the planet.

The choice of fibres determine how much environmental degradation is ends up causing. Think of an example of a polyester t-shirt – the affects it has on the resources, the material processing, the use phase and the end phase. The amount of impact it puts on the environment by consuming water, realising micro plastics, green house gas emissions and adding up to landfill waste is negatively massive. But, on a positive note, there are a lot of fibres that creates much less impact on the planet and are proven to be good. These fibres can become a good alternative to wasteful fibres used in the industry.

While is no single fibre that can do all, but comparing to others, these fibres create the lowest environmental impact. Here’s a quick introduction to several environment friendly fabrics:

  • 100% Natural Fabrics: Organic Cotton, Organic Hemp, Organic Bamboo, Organic Linen, Cork, Ramie, Banana, Jute & Nettle
  • Recycled Fabrics: Recycled Cotton, Recycled Wool, Recycled Polyester, Recycled Nylon
  • Responsible Animal Fibres: Sheep Wool, Merino Wool, Alpaca Wool, Yak Wool, Silk, Cashmere
  • Semi- Synthetic Fabrics: Lyocell, Orange Fibre, Pineapple Fibre, Cupro

A proud hub of exquisite hand craftsmanship, India is truly a myriad of wonderment. Being one of the oldest civilisations, India is known for its diversity- visibly distinguished by its people, climate, culture, religions and customs. The diversified history, religions, belief systems, languages, food, clothing, art crafts & music are some valued treasures of India.

One such admirable treasure that India cherish is its handicrafts. From sculptures to weaving, the skilled craftsmen of the country have left their noteworthy marks all across the globe. Handicrafts is a medium to represent culture, heritage and lifestyle of the country. Each state of India has its own one or more significant crafts that has a different flavour than others. From several block printing techniques or multiple bamboo crafts, each region depicts their own version of understanding and craftsmanship.

Handicrafts is a result of manual skills evocative of long- lost traditions, history and standard of lifestyle. A skill, an art form, a hobby, a source of income, a therapy or a discipline, handicrafts comes under a pool of multiple domains. But broadly, they can be said as a representation of beliefs, creativity and hand skills. India is parent to more than 3000 craft forms ranging from tiny basket weaving to huge sculptures making. To name a few, Ajrakh, Dabu, Jamdani, Tangaliya, Pattu, Phulkari, Kasuti, Pashmina, Meenakari, Jadau, Katputli, Blue Pottery, Leheriya, Chikankari, Kanjeeveram, Kantha, Paper Maché, Suzani, Warli, Kalamkari, Dhokra, Pipli, Macramé, Sholapith, Cane, Bamboo & Metal crafts are few of the many valued crafts of India.

While they are truly treasures of India, they are starting to get exploited due to rise in commercialisation. Exposure to global platform has certainly increased the value of the craftsmanship, but in order to match the market demand, the authenticity of the craft is tremendously decreasing. In order to preserve the originality of the crafts, it is essential for artisanal families to keep practicing the traditional craft, and for market to understand and promote the authenticity of the craft.

The entire phenomenon of conscious consumerism arises from the buying patterns we have developed and how it has affected the world negatively. While the current situation of the world largely depends upon the way we have been manufacturing the goods, it is also the responsibility of the consumers to have a responsible mindset and create demand fairly.

The easy availability of cheaper products has certainly made all of us impulsive buyers. Not even a second thought is given before making a purchase – because it is inexpensive. But, does it really cost this less? Remember, everything that comes cheap costs the environment and the people at a much higher price. We buy quickly and discard it even faster. This is how we have overused our resources and have contributed massively to waste generation.

While there are many people, societies and governments that are working towards betterment of the society by making positive changes, it still requires a lot of individual efforts to sustain this planet. Consuming things consciously means to become more aware of the impact that our purchases are creating. We have already lost a lot of time and resources, and it is the need of the moment to become more thoughtful and responsible for our doings. The changes can’t happen overnight, but it really isn’t that hard to make a switch. Here is a small guide how you can create a positive change in your lifestyle and eventually on the planet:

  • Educate yourself: It is the easiest and essential change you can make. Know what is going around the world, know what impact you are making, know what you can do to create a positive change. You can watch a small documentary, The True Cost, to get an insight of how our impulsive demand leads to exploitation of people and the planet.
  • Know the difference between your needs and wants: A need is a necessity, a want is a desire. The more desires you create, the more it will create an impact.
  • Buy Less: Probably one of the convenient options to not make a negative impact is to buy less. Analyse if you really need new products or is it just a spontaneous decision. Plus, it will save you a lot of money!
  • Make that extra effort: We have lost the resources because we have stopped making extra efforts. Invest your time in purposeful things. Repair your things, reuse your old items, regenerate new products.
  • Reduce your waste: Discarding is the easiest option to get rid of something. But remember your impact. Make the most of your belongings until it doesn’t serve any purpose to you. Share it with somebody else who may find it relevant.
  • Invest in quality: Start choosing quality over quantity. If you are buying something new, look for products that will last you a longer period of time. Avoid cheap and disposable items.
  • Buy Local: Support your local market. Support communities that provide good quality and services. It saves unnecessary transportation, time and money.

In recent times, the term ‘slow fashion’ has become a buzz word in the fashion industry. Since there are endless terms encircled in the sustainable fashion domain, it is easy to get confused. Some say, slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion, but what exactly is it?

Slow fashion may be a rebuke to the ideologies of fast fashion. But to dig deeper, it requires a lot more understanding and thoughtful application. Slow fashion can be said as a movement that challenges the processes of design, manufacturing, marketing and end results to the core. It is a more thoughtful and holistic approach to sustain in the fashion industry. An approach to fashion that benefits the planet and all the people involved.

Today’s society calls us to consume at a much faster rate than before and this pattern has already caused huge harm to the people and planet. We have built a culture of producing largely using cheap materials at a faster pace. Today, the fashion industry generates low-quality garments in order to bring low cost styles to the masses. These overproduced cheaply made clothing have resulted in creating havoc socially and environmentally. Slow fashion is all about putting brakes to these imbalanced patterns of excessive production, unethical practices, complicated supply chains and mindless consumption.

The essential focus of the slow fashion movement revolves around creating a balance with nature and people. Human- friendly production cycles, fair wages, good working conditions, quality materials, less negative impact, better employment opportunities etc. are some key parameters of slow fashion. Instead of chasing trends, pioneers of slow fashion focus more on creating pieces that matter- that lasts long, that are relevant and are ethically developed. The movement encourages producers to design thoughtfully, maintain transparency with the stakeholders and make a positive impact. It advocates consumers to make fairer choices, buy better quality and support ethical treatment of workers.

Dhãran, as a fashion brand, is an ardent follower of the slow fashion movement. We consciously design clothing from quality materials that stay relevant to the market for a longer period of time. We work with numerous local artisans and strictly have an in-house manufacturing team that creates a transparent supply chain and also allows us to not complicate the accountability. Our designs and collections are carefully made in limited quantities as not to burden the market with unnecessary offerings. We provide more nuanced and mindful choices that prioritise people and the planet.