For more than 350 years artisans in Bagru, India have been using natural dyes to produce incredible block-printed textiles, and now Block Shop – a company founded by US sisters Lily and Hopie Stockman – is bringing that rich history to a new clientele. Working directly with a cooperative of carvers, mixers, printers and seamstresses, Block Shop gives an online platform to a community with a generational tradition of artistry – ensuring their craft isn’t lost in today’s mass-produced, ethically-questionable textile industry. (Illustrating that commitment is the flower at the centre of the Block Shop logo – taken from a block that’s been in the Chhipa family of printers for over 100 years.)
Using natural, non-toxic dyes that incorporate dried onion skins, pomegranate and old horseshoes no less, these block-printed beauties are brought to life entirely by the surest of hands (those patterns align in a way that results from some serious experience and skill). Dried in the sun for three days in the village’s central drying field, the scarves then have a lovely bath of alum and flowers before meeting their new owners all freshly washed and pressed (and even the waste water’s recycled). The very best thing about these silk/cotton swathes of heaven? A portion of money from each sale is invested back into the Bagru community, and in January this year Block Shop sponsored Bagru’s first mobile health clinic. That’s feel-good fashion right there.