This week, we transformed The Assemblage in New York into a block printing workshop in celebration of our upcoming trip to India. In collaboration with Jeremy Fritzhand of Studio Bagru and designer Aimée Wilder, our guests were able to try their hand at block printing, a traditional Indian craft. Through the short-film, Bagru directed by Spencer Byam-Taylor and printing workshop, guest were transported to Bagru — a small Indian town located thirty kilometers outside of Jaipur – the capital of Rajasthan where artisans have been hand-block printing for over 350 years. While many Rajasthani villages have turned to screen-printing as an alternative to block printing, Bagru has remained loyal to its history, culture, and craftsmanship. The outcome is not simply a scarf, napkin, bed sheet or blanket, but instead – a work of art. This 350-year-old tradition has seen little variation since its inception.
Speaking on themes of slow fashion and mindful consumption, Jeremy and Aimée led a brief panel discussion and advocated for a break with fast fashion and a return to appreciation of craftsmanship and support for skilled artisans. Jeremy advocated for mindful consumption practices and ethical fashion and a return to artistry in a world that is often bombarded with a fast fashion mentality. Aimée also shared with us the inspiration behind several of her designs. Having been inspired greatly by her travels to Scotland in recent years, Aimée’s hand-drawn designs have a mystical and eclectic feel — including a psychedelic mushroom print and a Loch Ness-inspired design.
After the discussion, the guests made their way to tables to choose their blocks and begin printing on their own items as well as bandanas and tote bags that were available for purchase. With an array of shapes, patterns, and dye colors, attendees transformed their pieces with their own unique designs.
Today, it is increasingly easy to turn a blind eye to the drawbacks of the fast fashion industry, but it is more important than ever to highlight such downfalls. We were lucky enough to be able to share block printing with our attendees and hope to have sparked an interest in a turn toward mindful consumption habits.