Anokhi Kaftans and Beach Wear in Australia: The Anokhi Story
When you wear an Anokhi garment, you're not just wrapping yourself in the most elegant and exotic of fabrics. You're slipping into 4000 years of artistic tradition.
Of all the brands we stock at Sequins and Sand, none has a story like Anokhi. Not only has this unique brand helped to resurrect the ancient art of hand block printing in India, it's done so while supporting rural communities and creating some of the most beautiful and exotic garments known to woman. We're proud to stock Anokhi fabrics – so much so that we just had to share their inspirational story with you.
Harnessing an age old tradition
The tradition of hand block printing in India goes back over 4000 years. Its artisans traditionally hailed from the desert lands of Rajasthan, where Maharajahs were patrons of the arts and fostered a culture of craftsmanship. Artisans were guaranteed a secure livelihood, allowing generation after generation of craftspeople to
hone the skills required to create this most delicate of art forms.
Hand block printing is a laborious and demandingly precise process. Natural dyes are mixed just-so, then layered in exact amounts of colour in just the right place, over and over, to transform a blank sheet of fabric into a work of colourful brilliance.
Fast forward to the 1960's, and this ancient art was on the brink of extinction. With the onslaught of mechanisation and mass production of prints, the demand for hand block printing had significantly declined.
Then Faith Hardy stepped in, and Anokhi was born.
A lifeline to village artists
Desperate to save this ancient art and the communities that depended on it, Hardy recognised an opportunity to take the traditions of the past and bring them into a contemporary context.
Bringing her keen fashion eye to the hand block tradition, she teamed up with a group of printers in a village outside the fabled "Pink City" of Jaipur. Her genius was to introduce subtle changes in order to meld the ancient process with garments that appeal to a Western eye.
"As pioneers of hand block printing for the export market, Anokhi seeks to create an environment in which traditional textiles have their place and value and to build a symbiotic relationship between the market and the design product - between skill and tradition." (Anokhi.com)
She combined this with a strong desire to improve living conditions for the desert artisans, and to create a fair relationship between the craftspeople and the (lucky!) women who get to wear their creations. Today, the Anokhi communities of the Jaipur region receive 2-3 times the average rural wage.
"Anokhi tries to maintain an open and honest relationship with its craftspersons. It helps them to work in conditions of their own choosing and commits itself to providing them with sustained work."
Beautiful, diverse, organic
All cottons in Anokhi's range are organic, as are the vegetable dyes that create those beautiful patterns. Clothing ranges include kaftans, tunics, dresses, tops, pants, jackets and more. They also make stunning table and bed linens.
The Anokhi story is indeed a special story. When you wear an Anokhi, know that you are wearing over 4000 years of artistic knowledge and skill. An organic, hand-crafted garment that sustains a community – and makes any woman that wears it glow like a desert princess.