Fabrics and traditional prints are most directly associated with India: colourful, bright and beautiful. Though, many people do not know that, behind every Indian print, there is a story.
Yes, it is about a tradition born thousands of years ago, handed over from generation to generation until today's artisans, who still exhibit their creativity manually with natural raw materials. Now, big brands have started to incorporate these prints in their latest Summer'22 collection. Intriguing, right?
So, let's jump straight into this guide to the 8 beautiful traditional Indian prints every modern closet should have.
It is an ancient hand-block printing technique that found its roots in the present-day Sindh, along with the adjoining Western Indian regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Ajrakh prints are made using natural dyes, in indigo blue and deep red colours most commonly, along with symmetrical geometric elements and black or white outlines to define the designs clearly.
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Ajrakh Print Cotton Top
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Ikat is a traditional Indian print, created by tying and dyeing sections of the yarn before weaving the fabric. This leads to the apparent blurring of lines, commonly found in Ikat prints. To create an Ikat print, artisans use the resist-dyeing process, which involves covering the fabric in a way that certain areas remain protected against the colour. The making of the unique pattern of a particular fabric is dependent on the way the yarn was bound initially.
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Cotton Ikat Jumpsuit
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Batik print first originated in Indonesia and subsequently spread to various parts of South Asia, including India. The resurgence of Batik's relevance in modern textiles is often associated with a course introduced at the Shantiniketan University in Kolkata. Batik prints are created with a resistance-dying technique that uses molten wax to print the fabric. Bits of the fabric are first covered in wax, followed by dying the cloth. This leads to the waxed bits retaining their original colour and forming patterns around the dyed areas. The print is repetitive and often intricate with floral and ornamental motifs.
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The word Bandhani literally translates to "tye", which is indicative of this splash of print. Bandhani is a tie-dye textile created by tightly tying a cloth into several small knots with a sealed thread, followed by dyeing it. This intricate process of weaving and dyeing leads to the tiny dotted or line patterns most commonly spotted in the Bandhani print. Bandhani is widely touted to be one of the oldest forms of tie-dye techniques, brought to India first by the Khatri community of Gujarat.
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RANGMANCH Bandhani Print Red Dress
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Bagh is a hand-block printing technique, which uses naturally sourced dyes and pigments to create a repetitive set of patterns. Bagh prints typically consist of floral, paisley or geometric motifs in black, white and red colours making the most prominent appearance. The paintings of the Taj Mahal, flowers and mushrooms heavily inspire the Bagh print designs, and the process of creating the print can be incorporated on a variety of fabrics, including cotton, silk and chiffon.
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Another traditional print that originated from certain pockets of Rajasthan is created with a mud-resist hand-block printing technique. A muddy mixture of gum, lime and beaten wheat chaff blocks out the areas prior to and during an indigo bath, thus resulting in a unique pattern. Despite the laborious process, Dabu print has re-emerged as a trending ethnic print over recent years. You're most likely to find this print in earthy tones of blue and indigo, with plant or floral motifs in white or the original colour of the fabric.
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Utsa Indigo Chevron-Printed Straight Kurta
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With the literal translation of the word "Kalamkari" being "pen art", this traditional print first emerged in parts of Iran and spread to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. One of the most beautiful and intricate techniques of textile printing in India, Kalamkari involves block printing or hand printing using organic dyes. This print is heavily inspired by elements of Indian mythology, with motifs centred around Ramayana and Mahabharata amongst the most commonly found ones.
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Kami Kubi Kalamkari Printed Cotton Womens Ethnic Set
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You must have come across dupattas splashed with this beautiful, wavy print in the recent past. Leheriya is a traditional tie and dye printing technique that hails from Rajasthan. With the help of resist-dyeing, artisans create flickering striped patterns on an array of bright fabrics. The name stands for the structure of patterns typically created in the Leheriya print, diagonal or chevron waves. Leheriya sarees are extremely popular in Rajasthani ethnic wear, but you can incorporate this print in your wardrobe in the form of dupattas, dresses, sarees or kurtis.
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Leheriya Dark Pink Ethnic Motifs Fit & Flare Dress
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So, before summer rolls around, breathe new life into your closet with these gorgeous Indian prints!