Our new season collection is being handmade as we speak and this month we have captured some of the amazing steps in the slow-fashion process to get them from our hand-drawn designs into your wardrobes.
As part of our transparency policy we are always proud to share the collaborative process that goes into every Dilli Grey design - from the designers who hand-draw our prints, to the block carvers, garment dyers, block printers, tailors and QC team. To develop a single new garment takes 6-8 months of design meetings, sampling, fit checking, development and final production. Because of the handmade nature of every step in the process our pieces take time, skill and patience to create, but I truly believe the wait is worth it....
The very first step when creating our designs is the print. Whether it's a heritage block design that we source from our printer's archive, or a brand-new bespoke print designed by one of the talented young textile designers working with our printer - each is hand-drawn before we play with colour palettes and styles.
Once the print has been created it is then transfered onto the 'block' which will transfer the dye onto the fabric. Each block can take up to a month to carve in indigenous wood.
Our organic cotton fabric is dyed in small batches using gentle eco dyes, making it gentler for our dyers and for the environment.
Our fabrics are then block printed, by hand in the printing room. Each print is layered up, some designs using 7 blocks. Apprentice printers start with simple repeat booti designs, gradually working up to intricate border placement prints which take years to master.
Once the fabric is printed it is dried slowly in the Rajasthani sunshine; it is then passed to the master tailors - each piece is cut by hand by the pattern cutters and, uniquely to the slow fashion process, each dress is then made beginning to end by one tailor, rather than passed down a machine production line where garment workers only work on one element - a hem, or a sleeve - before it is past on to the next person, or machine.
This not only gives the tailors ownership and pride in their execution, it means you are getting a truly handmade, tailored design.
Our embellishments - including our hand-tied tassels and traditional ghungroo bells are all added and finished by hand before each garment is washed, pressed and checked by the quality control team for fit and finish.
Our womenswear and sleepwear are then packed in matching cotton shoppers to allow us to be 100% plastic free in our packaging, before being shipped to us in the UK and on to you!
I hope that brings to life the people and process behind each Dilli Grey dress - I will be visiting our team in Jaipur this spring and will introduce you properly to each of these amazing departments over on Instagram Lives - stay tuned!