Many of Chandni Chowk’s fair trade products have embroidery work detailing, much of which is stitched by hand. These skilled embroidery techniques date back for generations. Many of our embroiderers work either in small local groups or in their own homes giving them the freedom to manage their own time and working conditions. Below are a few examples of people and techniques we work with.
Crewel Work - Kashmir Crewel stitch work is 100% Wool stitched onto a 100% Cotton base fabric using a variety of different embroidery stitches..The embroidery is done using a crochet hook called a 'Aari'. The technique is at least a thousand years old and is the style used for the Bayeux Tapestry and many Jacobean embroidery works. Our Crewel work collection is produced to a very high standard in Kashmir.
Applique One of our most popular ranges is the Applique collection of cushion covers and curtains. The village that we work with is a fair trade co-operative which specialises in the ancient and skilled art of Appliqueing—stitching shapes of fabric onto a base fabric to form a pattern. The top layer of fabric is cut to shape using a hammer and chisel, and then pasted into position on the main base fabric using a flour and water paste. The edges of the cut fabric are then turned under and stitched into place by hand. The village is in a remote tribal area between India and Pakistan, it is 5 hours drive from Jhodpur (the nearest town) and in a restricted area. As the village is so remote the local people rarely get new customers so continued work with companies such as Chandni Chowk (we have been placing regular orders with them for over 5 years) is vital as a regular source of income.
Barmer Embroidery Many of Chandni Chowks garment collections include hand embroidery work, some of which is made by the Badhai community in the Barmer region of Rajasthan. Working with Anokhi since the 1980's the Badhai community has established a sustainable and all-year round market to help provide a livelihood derived from their traditional embroidery craft. The work is generally distributed amongst the women, who take it home, enabling them to earn a livelihood locally and remain within a family environment.