Delhi Textile Trail

One of India’s most versatile landscapes, the textile industry has countless narratives to unveil for the culture buff. The intriguing connection of the entire textile value chain–from farm to fabric, from garments to made-ups, is engineered by an astonishing range of techniques which continue to evolve over the decades. Delhi, as one of Northern India’s most lucrative markets attracts a fabulous range of textiles from all at round the country.

Breakaway ventures into the stories and traditions that have created the fabric of contemporary India and provided the world with some of the finest threads and most sought after textiles.

A textile trail that channels the diversity of Indian culture, captivates the designs characteristic of Indian history, and shares the stories from the traditions that have brought us the most exquisite, intricate textiles for many centuries. 

In-depth interactions with local artisans who create magic with their hands, a laborious process of hand block printing, hand weaving and colouring.

  • Making interesting discoveries about hand-spun khadi cotton fabric and its rich associations with India’s Freedom Struggle
  • Visiting museums that will steal your heart with their amazing collections of textiles
  • Learning all about the wonderful skill of block printing/ and the unique link between India textile traditions and Shibori, the Japanese manual resist dyeing technique–and the fabulous results thereof.
  • Being mentored on this tour facilitated by textile expert whose over 30 years of experiences in the handcrafted textiles space of India for over 30 years have been honed by her skills as a designer, researcher, writer and curator of exhibitions

You will tour the unique Charkha Museum, which will revive memories of the use of the Charkha in homes in the India of yesteryears. The spinning of the humble charkha produced khadi, a cotton fabric that was perfect for India’s hot climate and also an intrinsic symbol of Indian textile heritage and centuries-old traditions.

You will discover too the iconic connection between India rejecting western textiles in the British era to favour its own home-grown textiles–in this case the humble khadi cotton fabric, the wearing of which became symbolic of India’s freedom struggle against British rule.

While visiting the KVIC store, you will get acquainted with the astonishing range of khadi fabric; you will see first-hand how khadi transforms into popular apparel for men, women and kids of all age groups.

At the Craft Museum you will apply your mind to the superb collection of textiles, sculptures, paintings, and a smattering of arts and crafts set up in a lavish display. A delicious lunch at a contemporary regional Indian café introduces you to the amazing variety of India’s culinary traditions.

You can look forward to lively interactions with an artisan who has been in the profession of creating exquisite hand-block prints for clients in India and abroad for over decades. Discover the complications of block printing and how printed textile- based apparel comes alive with handmade blocks.

Alternately, one can also visit a rather unique set up, whose label specializes in the marriage of Indian and Japanese traditions. You will discover how Shibori, the Japanese manual tie-dyeing technique–is recast in Indian hues of indigo on exquisite cotton, silk and woolen textiles. You will learn all about the astonishing number of ways one can bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress cloth for Shibori, with each technique resulting in fresh patterns. Though each technique is cast to achieve a certain result, each method is also used to work in harmony with the type of cloth it is worked upon. What you’ll find interesting is that Shibori as a technique for dying cloth is different from ikat, which Indians are more familiar with; in Ikat, the thread is dyed before the fabric is woven;  Shibori also differs from techniques like batik, ajrakh and mud cloth, which make use of resists and mordants painted onto the cloth, such as wax, mud or rice-paste. Over the last decade or so, the label has established itself as a signature Shibori specialist with a dream-team composed mostly of women.

Please note this is an indicative listing of interactions; the final schedule depends on the availability of artisans, at the time of your breakaway.

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