Artisan – Handloomed Double Ikat Fabrics – The crafting of our PORCELAIN Transeasonal 2021 Collection

Artisan – Handloomed Double Ikat Fabrics – The crafting of our PORCELAIN Transeasonal 2021 Collection

At the very start of the year, I was surprised to be sent some beautiful handloomed double Ikat fabric swatches from our team in India. They were not fabrics I had asked to be sourced but knowing of my love of all things artisanal I was delighted to discover them.

The Ikat fabrics that compose our Porcelain Transeasonal 21 collection are existing designs handloomed on traditional wooden looms by the traditional methods and procedures in Telangana State India by “very good” people I am told.

Whilst many of the fabrics we offer, we design exclusively ourselves, not these. These are timeless traditional designs which in my mind will always look modern. That is what I love most about Indian Textiles; they are so beautifully designed and crafted that they are truly timeless.

Ikat is a traditional resist dyeing technique where the pattern is woven into the fabric. The word itself derives from the Malay-Indonesian ‘mengikat’, meaning to tie or bind. Ikat is classified into single (warp or weft) and double ikat styles.

Warp Ikat fabric is the simplest of the three styles and is created by weaving plain colour yarns into the resist dyed warp yarns on the loom.  Weft Ikat is a more sophisticated process as the resist dyed weft yarns are carefully woven into plain warp yarns to form the design. Double Ikat is the most complex process of them all as it involves the process of resist dyeing both warp and weft yarns and then the weaver must pull each of the dyed weft yarns to match and form intricate yet well composed designs. The yarns are bundled, bound with string as a resist, then dyed in the form of the pattern. 

Dyed yarn for ikat

Washed and dried in shade, the dyed yarns are laid out on the loom and the weft on small spindles is used to interweave along the warp threads to create the intricate design.

I believe in supporting and celebrating these traditional crafts that are being threatened by the cost advantages of power looms. If not supported, these tradition skills are at risk of not being passed onto the next generation and therefore the intricate techniques are at risk of being lost forever.

Our Transeasonal 2021 fabrics are all Double Ikat, a complex process requiring great precision and skill to craft these intricate fabrics. Ikat fabrics are characterised for their haziness and every hand loomed fabric is unique with imperfect yet beautiful variations in the design composition.

Black and white ikat fabrics

These are the Ikat fabrics in their final form, which we have used in different variations to create unique yet timeless garments for our Transeasonal 2021 Collection. The garments have been designed, patternmade and sampled in our Haberfield Studio in Sydney then they are meticulously made in New Delhi India with a small company run by a husband and wife, Vageesh and Sheetal, and their diligent team.

Brigid McLaughlin
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