From the Valley to Your Closet

You’re heading out for work, and you need something that says you’re to be taken seriously because you are the boss okay? You naturally grab this shalwar qameez from the Jugnoo line because today you’re going for clean cuts and classic shapes adorned with colourful motifs hitting a new level of chic and practically screaming ‘I have my life together, do you?’ Heading back home, it hits you. There is a dinner party you need to go tomorrow and need to absolutely look wonderful while staying true to your indigenous fashion sense. You head on over to Generation and your eye immediately fall on this devil-may-care-but-I-know I still look hip shirt from the Madame Gayatri line; an inspired silhouette with layered shirt and playful string tie details running down the side while staying true to the traditional block printing motifs and colours. It’s perfect! You’re fabulous, it is fabulous. It’s a match made in heaven. The two dissimilar lines show that block printing has transcended all levels of homogeneity and has quietly made a permanent home in our closets, whether it’s something casual or something fancy it has this amazing knack to gracefully blend in and enhance an eclectic mix of silhouettes.
(Image Credit: Deviant Art)
So who do you thank for this miracle in your life, which makes everything simpler yet more elegant? You thank the people of the Indus Valley Civilisation, who took advantage of the indigo and cotton growing alongside the river and gave rise to Ajrak, one of the oldest forms of block printing. The crimson red and blue, coupled with geometric patterns has seeped into the everyday lives of Sindhi people, from men to children to women. We know this because a bust that was draped in something like Ajrak was found in Mohenjo-daro, isn’t that fascinating? That beautiful familiar patterned cloth that you see in Daachi, and readily buy so that it becomes a staple in your closet, has survived and retained its identity for almost 4000 years and still going strong.
(Image Credit: Harappa)
It’s not only resilient but has absorbed the inspiration of more floral designs, adopted during the Mughal Empire and muted tones that took over during the British rule. The art of block printing has gradually evolved and infiltrated in our everyday clothes. Next time you mindlessly grab a block printed ensemble and marvel at how amazing you look in it, while your family screams at you that they’re getting late and you were supposed to leave 30 minutes ago, make them wait some more and revel in this piece of history you have just doned.

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