The clothing and fabric patterns of Rajasthan are as colourful and vibrant as the state and its people. When in Rajasthan, one can see beautiful bright-coloured clothes with pattern of tiny white dots running all over them, hanging in any garment stalls. These are the versatile tie and dye textile prints. Tie and dye textile has been a tradition in Rajasthan for 5000 years, making it one of the oldest forms of textile art. Be it the occasion to dress up for an Indian festival or to decorate a pooja room, the tie and dye pattern has remained a quintessential choice of Indians. Maybe it is because they are considered auspicious, or maybe it is because they look stunning. Whatever be the reason, using a tie and dye print for any occasion can immensely accentuate the beauty of the bearer.
Dyeing is an age-old process in India and forms an integral part of the textile industry. Tieing is a way to keep a certain part of a piece of fabric from getting dyed. And as the name suggests, a tie and dye pattern is created by meticulously tying smaller parts of the fabric and dipping them in the dye. Leheriya and bandhani are two of the most popular tie-dye prints.
The tie and dye pattern might look simple, but it is a very time-consuming process. Though with modern machinery, the process of tie and dye has become convenient, there are many workers in parts of Rajasthan and Kutch who still follow the traditional method. This method involves planning a pattern on the fabric and tying the places that shouldn’t be dyed. A nylon thread is used to tie the cloth at certain places and then dipped in dye. After a repeated process of dying, the folds are pulled apart in a gentle manner to get rid of the knots, revealing the final beautiful pattern.
The grace and beauty of the tie and dye pattern are ageless and timeless. But what about the lives of the workers who put their heart and soul into keeping this tradition alive? Are their lives as colourful as the pattern they create?
Tying and dying is a natural process, and years of direct exposure to dyes and chemicals take a toll on the health of tie and dye textile workers. They get skin diseases and allergies from the strong chemicals they use, particularly acids, alkalies, oxidising and reducing agents, detergents, and solvents.
According to a survey report, in western Rajasthan, all the members of the family get involved in the process of tie and dye textile making. The work is done manually in the courtyards of small residential houses, with poor working conditions. Those working in the mills are in a much better position than traditional artisans. Very often, they don’t even receive their due share for the hard work they do. Not all can be left to the government and the factory owners to improve the lives of tie and dye textile workers. A lot lies in the hands of the consumer.
Millennials prefer fast fashion, and our traditional weaving and pattern-making methods are time-consuming. If people don't know how valuable a handwoven saree or a hand-printed suit is, it's hard to give the weavers, who work hard to keep the tradition alive, the credit they deserve.
So, next time you are in Rajasthan, here is a small bit you can do to show your love and appreciation to the tie and dye textile workers. Make a trip to western Rajasthan. Look for an authentic handmade tie and dye suit or saree. Try to meet and interact with the workers and explain to them the need to wear gloves while working with chemicals.
And if you have no plans to visit Rajasthan in the near future, order an authentic tie and dye suit from Ethnic Elements. Ethnic Element is an exclusive online store for handloom clothing that brings you the perfect blend of art and modern clothing. We have a wide collection of fabrics sourced from some of the best weavers in India. We also have a wide collection of rainbow natural clamp dye suits in beautiful patterns that can be used both as party wear and office We aim to provide our customers with the best experience of wearing an authentic handloom, designed to suit modern needs and style. Check out our latest collection of Ajrakh suits, Kalamkari suits, Ikkat print casual wear, Jamdani sarees and many more on Ethnic Elements. Don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for tips and tricks to style your handloom.