After months of obscure winter days and dressing in layers of clothing, we wait in eager anticipation for summer jaunts to the beach, draped in light breezy cotton clothing adorned with prints that boast nomadic worldly inspiration. For textiles collectors with an eclectic taste, shopping for indigenous and hand woven natural fabrics in Asia is a must do adventure. In this issue Bijoux Closet explores the markets and fabrics of Asia where weavers discovered how to make intricate patterns with hand-spun yarns and natural color fast dyes centuries ago. With so much variety, putting outfits together by mixing fabrics and patterns becomes a serious occupation for women who regularly scour the fabric shops.
Cotton fabric is very popular in tropical countries due to its breathable nature. Knowing how fabrics are constructed allows us to appreciate the skill and mastery of artisans who produce one-of-a-kind-pieces that end up in our wardrobe.
Indigo-dyed cottons, Ikat, Block print, Tie-dye and “Ajrak” print fabrics all tell an artisanal story of designs and processes that are rooted in traditional printing and dyeing techniques.
Among the cotton fabrics Khadi is a simple 100 percent natural hand spun cloth.The interlacing of threads provides maximum passage of air to the body creating a cooling effect, making Khadi an ideal summer wear.
Our first stop for textile shopping was Karachi where we visited two of the most popular places for cotton fabric.
To purchase Khadi cotton fabric a visit to its namesake store in Karachi is a must. Khaadi first made its name specializing in hand-loomed Khadi fabric for “Kurtas” (tunics). Established with the intent of reviving the age old heritage of hand spun fabrics, the store has quintessentially earthy wooden interiors and is packed with eager customers on any given day. Vibrant printed fabric hangs invitingly on wooden racks while the home interior line emulate the vivacious prints and traditional patterns that defined the khaadi brand.
A visit to atelier KOEL is also a must for textile enthusiasts. KOEL not only delights the visitors with a treasure trove of block printed fabrics, hand spun yarns and "Ajrak" prints, but provides an unexpected retreat with a tranquil spa like environment. KOEL wad established by its founder Noorjehan Bilgrami with a vision of reviving the dying art of hand block printing and to re-introduce fabric produced from hand looms.
Visitors enter into an open space with its calming aqua features, Frangipani trees, white washed seating and simple architecture that brings a feeling of serenity to its visitors. The KOEL enclave is also home to a cafe and exhibition space.
With so much variety it is difficult to be satisfied with just a few pieces and if you don't keep your shopping under control chances are you will return with a suitcase filled only with beautiful fabrics.