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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

These family members are reviving block printing via Rs1.5cr startup Chhapa

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Chhapa, which means “to make an impact” in Gujarati, is a new company that intends to revitalize and promote the art of block printing. The business now earns close to Rs 1.5 crore each year, with 25% of it going to the around 25 craftspeople it employs. It features an online store that ships to Singapore, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries.

Block printing, an ancient process of stamping cloth using hand-carved wood blocks, is associated with the town of Bagru in Rajasthan. Chhapa is a mindful clothing and accessories start-up that seeks to help artists make a life from their craft. It is  a company dedicated to the long-term revival of block printing.

Chhapa,  which means “to make an impact” in Gujarati, is a group of four dedicated, culturally inspired individuals aiming to resurrect the ancient technique of block printing.

Shipa Patel was looking forward to doing something different on her visit to her village in Gujarat after earning her interior design degree. She has always admired homemade objects for their natural beauty. She was captivated by the method when she stumbled across artists performing hand block art printing in the village of Deesa, near to her homeland.

The approach and the unfinished look of the wooden blocks fascinated her. She began hand-blocking garments as a hobby and gradually fell in love with the entire process. In 2013, she decided to launch the sustainable fashion company Chhapa, named after the Gujarati word for stamp or imprint, with the goal of reviving and promoting hand block printing.

The business now earns close to Rs 1.5 crore each year, with 25% of it going to the around 25 craftspeople it employs. It features an online store that ships to Singapore, the United States, the UAE, and other countries. It has taken a significant amount of effort since then to engage highly skilled craftspeople, generate concepts, and iterate between villages and cities to improve the designs. When family members Hardik, Bimal, and Shital joined the team with their unique ideas, expertise, abilities, and skills, Chhapa became unstoppable. Their purpose is to reintroduce traditional block printing to young people.

Their designs are all printed on cotton, which is far more kind on the skin and the environment than its competitors. Cotton was chosen out of a sincere wish to assist the traditional hand-weaving industry, which is on the verge of extinction.

Employing craftsmen enhances their standard of living and encourages reserve migration. Because cotton cloth is entirely handwoven, it has a low carbon impact. It is long-lasting, gentle on the skin, and incredibly ecologically friendly!

Reclaimed and salvaged wood is used to make the printing blocks. They obtain the wood from local furniture stores and carpentry companies, as well as small-scale farms and woodworks that send us their surplus and undesirable stock. To emerge from the facade, the designs are carved on the surface of the wooden blocks. Wood is preferred over other materials because of the exact carving required.

They employ azo-free dyes, which means they don’t contain any hazardous elements, making them both safe to work with and good to the environment.

The artists’ incredible skill and artistry are on display as they dip the blocks in color and delicately put them on the fabric with faultless precision.

The four-member family team of Shipa, Hardik, Bimal, and Sheetal at Chhapa decides on a collection concept after discussing ideas. Shipa, who is in charge of the company’s design and creative elements, then creates a mood board and color palette. The next step is to start working with the craftspeople, choosing colors and patterns, and planning a collection.

While they attempt to offer customers something new and different, Chhapa’s primary purpose is to empower craftspeople. They seek to improve ancient art forms and ethical design through Chhapa, while also making a difference in the lives of our craftsmen, consumers, and Mother Earth.

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