Above: Deepak, Lizzie and Claudia wash samples, revealing the print fully for the first time since steaming
Chhipa makes block printed clothing and accessories, with a modern aesthetic - softly tailored for unisex wear, in functional designs that are built to last. Our products are made in a community in Rajasthan committed to sustaining the ancient craft of block printing.
On a trip to Rajasthan, India in January 2015, founders Claudia Borfiga and Lizzie Lock came across the ancient craft of block printing in a town called Bagru. We were excited by the process and the beautiful printed fabrics it produced, but after speaking with many of the printing families we heard about the crafts steady decline. On our return to London we set about designing products with a contemporary direction that showcased this unique craft. Two months later we arrived back in Rajasthan to begin sampling and Chhipa was born!
The name ‘Chhipa’ is borrowed from the printers we work with, it’s the name of their caste, which has a rich heritage of block printing and natural dyeing. We asked if they were happy to let us use it, they said “yes” but they still laugh at us for choosing it.
Our Shirts are made in a mid-weight cotton twill, reminiscent of denim in it’s durability, but smooth to the touch. Specifically tailored for unisex wear, they come in two different styles; the ‘English’ based on an Oxford button-down, with a secret pocket, or the ‘Indian’ based on a Kurta, with workerman pockets.
Our Kaparas are pieces of cloth, made from a blend of silk and cotton, making them lightweight and strong, with a subtle lustre. They have been block printed using a mud resist process called Dabu and then naturally dyed. They’re our best friends for travelling, we use them as scarves, neckerchiefs, sun shades, beach cover-ups and modesty shields.
We have a few principles we try to follow…
- We only make functional products, that people can use and love, year after year
- Each product is hand-made in a limited edition to reflect the craftsmanship that goes into them
- Each customer receives a completely unique product, because our processes mean no two are ever exactly alike
- We endeavour to have a low environmental product, to be nature positive and sustainable
- We document and share our design and manufacturing processes, so that our customers can understand the craft of our product
- We don’t work to fashion seasons; our printers can only manufacture when ambient weather permits, we share it with you as soon as we can
- We’re open to collaboration, we want to grow the craft of block printing and if we can do that alongside others there’s no better way!
The Makers Shop
Over the past couple of years we've been lucky enough to make some great friends, so in December 2016 we got everyone together and started The Makers Shop, a pop-up store celebrating craft and design, with workshops and events. Thirty different makers, working in a range of different mediums took part and we look forward to planning more events like this in the future. If you'd like to collaborate please get in touch!
Above: Rekaji, who assists in the print workshop and taught us to make the best chai, holds Baby (the puppy)