April 30 2019 – Mercantile London
Working closely with artisans in India to create beautiful hand-made women's wear which celebrates the beauty of craft and sustainable fashion, Glasgow School of art graduate, Molly Russell lives in Jaipur and works along-side block-printers, indigo dyers, embroiderers and weavers overseeing the whole process from start to finish.
Sofia Dress - block printed on organic cotton (sun stripes).
“India has such an immensely rich culture of craft forms I’m constantly finding new processes to work with. It’s so inspirational, my senses are alive and I find beauty everywhere but craft is dying out, we must do all we can to use and promote them. “
Molly Russell – Pink City Prints.
Sofia Dress - block-printed on organic cotton (summer blue).
Each workshop has been vetted. The employees are treated with care, working eight hour days with three breaks and earning more than double the minimum wage. Each has an open door policy and Molly can visit whenever she likes. In addition Molly is working with a women's centre to teach skills so the women can embroider the dresses and earn money for themselves.
Nomad Botanics Blouse - block printed on organic cotton.
Block-printing is an ancient traditional craft unique to the Chhipa caste in Jaipur and surrounding areas. A design is drawn directly onto a slab of wood and the pattern etched out using a metal cutter. Some of Indian motifs are amazingly intricate, reflecting the level of skill involved. Lengths of fabric are rolled out and pinned on long trestle tables, ready for printing. The wood block is dipped into the colour tray, carefully applied to the fabric and then repeated. Each stroke requires extreme precision and requires a steady, practiced eye to achieve uniformity. The colours are applied one at a time.
Indigo Prairie Dress - indigo dyed organic cotton, with block-printed stripes.
Indigo dying is a lengthy process which is carried out by families on their indigo farms on the outskirts of the Pink City. They make a mud paste from their limestone soil and wood block print using this mud instead of pigments or dyes. When the mud is still wet, fine sawdust shavings are sprinkled over it, sealing the mud as it dries and hardens in the sun. The printed fabric is then dipped into a purpose built vat, filled with indigo dye and then left to dry in the sun. Once dry, the fabric is rinsed and then washed with soap. This process is repeated as many times as necessary to achieve the desired intensity of colour. It is a slow, organic process using natural elements and materials.
An embroidered dress takes three days to complete. Block-printing is a little quicker but the crafts people can only print during certain times of the year due to the weather. Only natural fibres including cotton, hand-loomed khadi cotton and silk are used. Each piece has been worked on by hand whether hand-spun, printed or embroidered. This hand-work brings life and a unique quality to the clothing.
Sun Folk Dress - blanket stitched neckline done by hand.
Pink City’s hand loom fabrics are made by a women’s co-op in central India. The women are taught skills in hand-looming, accountancy and management which gives them financial independence in a very traditional, rural area. They weave using organic cotton which is dyed using local vegetables and plants.
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