Welcome to Pink City – our new collection of contemporary patterns. Inspired by a recent trip to India, the designs for Pink City were what I would have liked to have been wearing – pretty, practical garments for travelling and exploring. This mini-collection is not so much Indian in style, as a response to the journey, the abundant colour and the craftsmanship that I saw while I was there.
The markets of Jaipur are an absolute treasure trove with an incredible range of fabrics, embellishments and embroidery. Each market has its own distinct character and specialty. They are busy and the narrow lanes are a riot of colour and texture. You are surrounded by fabric after fabric, ranging from fine cottons and silks to rich brocades, intricate embroideries and hand blockprinted fabrics. Seeing people sewing on the street is a common sight.
In recent years, there has been a massive revival of hand block printing in India. (Possibly due to a growing appreciation for traditional craftsmanship in a world that is becoming dominated by AI.) This revival is once again providing a sustainable livelihood for skilled artisans and maintaining designs and culture that are centuries old.
It was amazing to see the number of woodblocks being handmade in the street as we walked past. Many are hand carved, although this one shown here is a wooden base with metal bands hammered into its surface.
The beauty of these handprinted fabrics is the uniqueness – I never saw the same design in the same colourway twice. Most of these fabrics are one-offs that come in short lengths.
My garments for the Pink City collection are designed to be made in the lightweight Indian cotton that was abundant in the shops and markets. They will, of course, work in many other light weight fabrics such as linen and viscose.
The square necklines and pintucks that are prevalent in my collection are inspired by some of the details I saw in more traditional Indian garments.
The Mahal Dress is the ultimate everyday dress for travelling in India. It is a loose and floaty midi-length with gathered side panels. It has a square neckline with inset sleeves, and the cuffs are gathered to echo the side gathers. There is a single, through pocket integrated into the front panel seams. It slips on over the head with no need for a zip.
The Arya Pleat Dress is a festival of little pleats inspired by the many pintuck details I saw in garments in Jaipur. It has a voluminous hourglass shape, without being super-fitted. There are twelve darts at the front and twelve at the back giving it a cinched in waist with a full skirt. The grown-on sleeves have darts for a slight bubble shape. There is an optional zip in the side seam.
The Tuk Tuk Wrap Dress is a comfortable square neck dress that wraps around the back, and then to the front with skinny ties. It’s side ‘wings’ create flattering diagonal lines and the central panel gives you the option for using a contrasting fabric. There are three quarter length sleeves with three little pintucks and gently flared cuffs. There are no other fastenings or zips.
This dress was designed for our more glamorous nights out (visiting the Bissau Palace for dinner) when we treated ourselves to a tuk tuk rather than walking.
The Joti Duster Jacket is a lightweight, wafting coverup – perfect for protection from the sun or for chilly evenings. Pair it with jeans and sandals for a comfortable everyday feel. Or make it to co-ordinate with a dress for an evening outfit.
The Joti Duster Jacket has gathered diagonal style lines to the front and the drop-shoulder sleeves are full and are gathered onto a slim cuff. The neck trim, that runs the full length of the coat, works well in a contrasting fabric. The back has a gathered yoke and there are, of course, in-seam pockets.
Our Traveller’s Pouch is a little pocket on a string, just big enough to fit your passport and your phone. It is designed to be worn under your clothing. Carrying your passport with you is really recommended in India and this is the safest way of keeping it on you. It’s a perfect way to use up your fabric scraps. And who doesn’t love a co-ordinating bag?
Many of the fabrics that are shown in this photoshoot, I brought back from India myself. The others are from www.clothatelier.com who source their fabrics directly from a 4th generation master printer based in Jaipur.