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Top 3 Fair Trade Block Print Organizations in India

Updated on November 15, 2010

If you've taken a stab at using wood block stamps to do hand block printing, you're probably wondering how the masters do it. Although block print artisans abound all over India, three major-ish companies can be credited with reviving traditional hand block printing. Before these top dogs came along, artisans used their (sparse) free time to print in tiny broom closets or on old stumps in the front yard. Now Indian textiles (and not just the cheapo screen printed cottons) pop up in d├ęcor blogs and magazines throughout the year.

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1. Anokhi

Anokhi has called "The Pink City" of Jaipur, India home for the last 40 years. For centuries hand block print artisans migrated to Jaipur, and the city is now a "hub" for modern printing. Located about 4 hours south of New Delhi, Jaipur (and the surrounding area) is in a strategic location trading-wise. Thousands of tourists pass through the city each year, although many are duped into buying screen printed textiles.

In addition to producing beautiful block printed textiles, Anokhi has set the bar for socially responsible business practices. The company is committed to providing sustained work for artisans, and provide multiple training opportunities each year. Artisans have excellent working conditions and access to many social outreach projects in the community.

Although Anokhi also produces a line of bedding and home furnishings, they specialize in dreamy block printed tunics, dresses, and jackets. Visit their outlets throughout India, or snag their hand block printed handkerchiefs and airy robes at A Trade For A Trade.

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2. Soma Shop

Soma works in the state of Rajasthan (northern India) with small families of block printers. By providing sustainable income to these artisans, Soma contributes to local village economies. They focus on bedroom and living room furnishings, and have branched out into traditionally embroidered Gujarat mirrored quilts and small furniture items such as stools. Soma's products are (unfortunately) not currently available in the USA.

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3. Fab India

Fab India is the big mac daddy of hand block printing organizations in India. Their products are Craftmark Certified, a designation that recognizes traditional Indian crafts. Craftmark verifies processes and working conditions, which gives this distinction a lot of weight. With the abundance of screen printed textiles flooding the Indian market, it's more important than ever for organizations such as Fab India to distinguish themselves by adhereing to traditional practices.

In the last few years, Fab India's tunics and scarves have popped up in the US market, and we expect to see a lot more in the future. They're much bigger than both Soma and Anokhi, and have been in business for the last 50 years. They now have over 90 stores in India's cities and towns, and employ over 20,000 printers, weavers, and wood block carvers.

The company has also taken an unusual approach to giving back by encouraging artisans to buy reasonably-priced shares in the company. Suppliers (especially the illiterate) are rarely rewarded with a share in a company's profits, which makes Fab India's model stand out even more. Very fab indeed.

Shop Fab India online by choosing their "International shipping" option.

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    • profile image

      rohit 

      3 years ago

      I am a natural dabu and bagru print from Bagru. I have 17 years of experience in dabu and bagru print any want to cantctcantcts me .my mobile number is 9024382711

    • profile image

      ross 

      3 years ago

      Can any one help to find good dyers and block printing units in india

    • profile image

      Krishna Vyas 

      3 years ago

      M running a Company with the name of Virasat Fabrics...Ma company Provide Block Print Matirial In d Best qualities...

    • profile image

      tshewang 

      3 years ago

      Would like to buy all kinds of wood block print ink....natural.....vegetable ink if available,....,.where can i buy from the nearby town of Bhutan....india....for i live in Bhutan.......

    • atradeforatrade profile imageAUTHOR

      atradeforatrade 

      6 years ago

      Hi Neetasahi-

      We haven't seen anything like that available online, but we do offer block print fabric at www.atradeforatrade.com, which you could use to make matching quilt and pillow designs.

      Let us know if you find somewhere that offers what you're looking for! Thanks

    • profile image

      neetasahi 

      6 years ago

      i would like to purchase jaipuriblock print quilt with same print pillows.can i do so online

    • profile image

      neil in england 

      6 years ago

      I would like to employ a/ some wood block carvers for a special joinery project.

    • atradeforatrade profile imageAUTHOR

      atradeforatrade 

      7 years ago

      Hi John, thanks for the comment. We're currently working on getting some of Soma's products at A Trade For A Trade, so check back at our site or sign up for our newsletter (www.atradeforatrade.com/newsletter) to find out when we do.

    • profile image

      John 

      7 years ago

      I have seen Soma products in US and Canada markets.They are the best hand blocked textiles products out of India.

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