How My Unique Prints Are Brought to Life…
In a World Increasingly Made By Machines, Handmade is The ultimate Luxury!
You can take a look at that blog here if you haven’t seen it yet. I want to talk not only about my prints and designs, but why I choose to have everything handmade. So, let’s explore that for a minute.
Handmade is Still The Ultimate Luxury…
A person will ensure quality control at every stage of production. The human eye notices things in a split second, where a machine usually won’t. And the personal touch is far greater, the detail more precise. Every garment is handled with care and attention, the people that are making it, really want it to turn out. Otherwise, that’s a lot of their effort wasted.
You just don’t get that input with a machine alone.
This is why I go halfway around the world to have my prints made.
How Are My Prints Created?
I’ve got a great set of designers in Europe that work closely with my ideas. They disassemble my designs and uncover each layer and piece of it to come up with the best color palette to compliment the shapes. And they’ll switch up the composition to see if it works better for a repeat pattern e.g., should it have one flower or two, should the lines be horizontal or vertical.
There’s a lot of artistry that goes into creating something new and unique. It’s an exciting process but can be a very time consuming one.
In fact, it can take up to a year to have a print ready. And once it is, off it goes to India.
Step 1 - Carving My Designs Into Print Blocks. We’re Off To India!
I love the effect that comes off a block print. It’s not computer generated or printed, so it usually has softer edges, a slight but attractive variation in the print impression. It just looks more bespoke.
“Why go all the way to India, surely people block print in the US?”
Well, India has been doing block printing for centuries and they are considered the very best at it. And nowhere else do they replicate this exact same process. It’s a true skill and art form that has been passed down for generations. It’s really special, at least we think so…
When I met Ankit and his team at a fashion trade show in Delhi back in 2017, I was over the moon. Their amazing blocks used for printing traditional Indian patterns were truly incredible.
Of course, I had to ask, “Can you create blocks for my style of print, will that work?”
Ankit had no reservations. He was completely confident in the skill of his team. So, we set about getting a sample print made – just to make sure this traditional process would produce the look I was hoping for.
And boy did it! I love the organic look to block prints. None of this super precise computer-generated work that lacks personality and a human touch.
For me, and my brand, it’s handmade artistry all the way…
Ankit’s team are fabulous at creating intricate details within both wooden blocks and screen printing. (We currently use both techniques for printing.)
However, it’s the block printing that is truly astounding to see in action. So, let me share a great video showing you this technique in real life, so you can see just how much skill goes into it.
Step 2 - Getting My Designs Printed Perfectly, By Hand!
Because this is all done by a human, rather than machines, every print will be slightly different to the next. Very minor unique differences such as color tone, transfer pressure etc.
There’s a huge amount of skill involved here too. And it can be a time-consuming process. Most of my prints take around 6 different blocks to achieve the final design. That’s a lot of carving and stamping, but mostly a lot of love gone into it! Take a look at the next video to see my prints come to life in color…
Keep an eye out for products sporting this beautiful new print on our website or sign up to make sure you are kept up to date.
Step 3 - Turning The Printed Fabric Into Finished Pieces.
It’s amazing really, if you fly over Jaipur, or even stay somewhere high enough to look down across the vibrant city, you can spot an array of gorgeous patterns and colors reflecting the sunshine. We love it!
After the fabric has dried, a pattern cutter creates the pieces that will be sewn together to make each garment. Part of that comes with cutting out the scalloped edges. The shapes are hand drawn using a template to ensure preciseness, and then carefully cut out with a handheld cutting machine.
From here, the seamstresses, and seamsters take over and do what they do best! This is where the incredible skill of scalloping continues. Though a machine is used, it takes a huge amount of dexterity and finesse to get the scalloping just right.
Many fashion houses choose to let a machine do all the work without human intervention. It works, but the quality just isn’t the same. The scalloping loses its form and becomes more of a wave – it’s just not what I would want with my designs. Have a look at the scalloping and finishing process in the clip below.
What’s Your Favorite Print?
Every print tells a story, and that to me is such a wonderful thing – I hope you’ll agree.
I love that my collection is handmade, from the printing to the highly skilled scalloping. It may mean that each item is that little bit more exclusive, but I think that’s a plus.
Wearing something that has received a high level of attention throughout its production, beats buying a cheaper quality that a machine has pulled together.
I would love to know, what’s your favorite print of my collection so far?
Let me know via Email, Facebook or Instagram – I look forward to hearing from you 🙂