Team Chhapa at work
Team Chhapa at work

For anybody that has visited our shop in the past, you will already have seen our range of excellent block print work from Jaipur with the traditional floral and symbolic designs.But on my last trip to India I happened to chance upon a ‘reinvention’ of the block printing craft in one of my favourite shops, White Brick Wall, in Goa’s capital city, Panjim. The hunt was on for a company called Chhapa!

I tracked them down to Gujarat. Five fun guys from non-designer backgrounds started this venture as a vocation and turned it into a self-described “pursuit of happiness”. Team Chhapa say of themselves “We are not designers” – we beg to differ. Now, at the Gallery, we love finding new, small and ethically sourced artisans who can create something different for us. Negotiations commenced… and not only have this alternative collective agreed to create designs for us but they also agreed that we could sell their designs on an exclusive basis in the UK!

Chhapa printing blocks
Chhapa printing blocks

In Gujarat, block printing on clothes is unfortunately a declining art form and the team felt this loss keenly and knew they had to do something radical. The word “chhapa” itself translates as ‘to stamp or to produce an Imprint’, and to revitalise their traditional craft, Brand Chhapa set out to create clothes that left an imprint on the heart of their wearers. To do so, they reduced modern symbols of Indian life to simple quirky icons from which they produced traditional wooden blocks to be printed onto organic cotton garments with natural vegetable dies. How more sustainable can that be? 2015 has been about perfecting the patterns for western shapes, and we love the result!

So look out for auto rickshaws (tuk-tuks) and elephants near you 🙂