Exploring Shibori ft. Nupura Dang

I have a fascination for the Traditional Indian textile design techniques and specifically tie &dye.  Tie and Dye is an ancient method of embellishing fabric. It is a technique that has been practiced all over the world, with every culture contributing its little quirks and traditional symbolism to the designs and motifs created almost magically by tying, folding or rolling fabric in a variety of patterns and then dyeing it with mostly vegetable dyes.   The famous tie and dye technique of India include  Bandhani,which is the process of plucking and binding cloth in small points and Leheriya, which can be distinguished by the natural, ripple effect in mesmerizing colours, using a colour resist dyeing technique. These are tie and dye designs that are commonly found in every Indian’s wardrobe.

2017-07-22-19-37-33As I walked into Nupura Dang’s La Rouge and saw this Shibori Gown, I knew it that I had to pick it and decided to first research upon this traditional ‘Indian’ technique of tie and dye. So, my misconception was, that Shibori is traditionally Indian and is exclusively made in India . As I started working on this blog and reading up on Shibori, the very first link on Google was the Wikipedia link about Shibori which said “Shibori(しぼり / 絞り) is a Japanese manual resist dyeing technique, which produces patterns on fabric”.  Damn!

And the realisation struck, that textile history is far more inter-connected than we assume. The Shibori is traditionally a Japanese technique and we can actually say that tie and dye like the rest of the textile industry just bring the world closer.  The Sanskrit word Banda to tie’, is the root of bandhani while shibori uses the stitching’ technique of resisting. Both the bandhani and shibori  techniques might superficially look similar but aren’t exactly the same. Similarly,as I read ahead, I found – Plangi is a Malay-Indonesian word for the process of gathering and binding cloth. Turns out –

Many different types of shibori techniques have existed in the world. The oldest examples: pre-Columbian shibori alpaca found in Peru and silk found in 4th c. tombs along the Silk Road in China. Shibori traditions existed for centuries in the Middle East and in the Indian subcontinent. Presently, active production continues in western Africa, in southern China by minority people, and in the western regions of India. A lesser degree of production continues in northern Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, and in the Himalayan region.(https://shibori.org/traditions/)

2017-07-22-19-30-08Shibori, as practiced in Japan, is a 1300 year old technique which evolved following its introduction from China. Given its age, it’s surprising that the methods that are used today to create shibori are very similar to traditional methods used in Japan. Supposedly having been introduced from China, along with the Chinese style of dress, Shibori was adapted in a unique way by the Japanese and is one of the oldest indigo dying techniques in Japan. It was among the goods donated by the Emperor Shoumu to the Toudai-ji Buddhist temple in Nara in the 8th century.

Shibori in Japanese means a variety of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. The word comes from the verb root shiboru, “to wring, squeeze, and press.” Although shibori is used to designate a particular group of resist-dyed textiles, the verb root of the word emphasizes the action performed on cloth, the process of manipulating fabric. Rather than treating cloth as a two-dimensional surface, with shibori it is given a three-dimensional form by folding, crumpling, stitching, plaiting, or plucking and twisting. Cloth shaped by these methods is secured in a number of ways, such as binding and knotting.


In Japan, since many people could not afford to buy expensive fabrics like cotton or silk, clothes were often made of cheap hemp fabrics and shibori came up as an art for the poor. People could not afford to replace clothes regularly either, so they would repair and redye them, and the art of Shibori evolved as a means of making old clothes look new. Under the Tokugawa peace, many different arts flourished, and many different techniques and local forms of Shibori emerged. Shibori developed along two separate paths: as the method of decorating the silk used for producing kimonos for the aristocracy of Japan, and as a folk art differing from region to region.

I realised that textile has been spreading love and a borderless world exists for centuries now in the world of textile!

Know the Designer: Nupura Dang has her own fashion label – La Rouge. She is a trained fashion designer and has done not only her graduation but also post-graduation in Fashion Designing. She started commercial fashion designing in 2013.She is a fan of Indian textiles mostly the traditional prints and tie -dye fabrics and this gown is an example of the same.

The thing that she likes about being a fashion designer is that getting to know about different choices that clients make and expect from her which in return helps her in gaining more knowledge and it increases her scope of creativity

She is of the opinion that the fashion industry is blatantly not achieving in making designer fashion as accessible and available as fast fashion. Every time there is a show, and samples are to be made, it adds to the overall cost of the product. So, the more designer fashion tries to ape fast fashion, the more expensive and out of reach it becomes .She strongly opines,on the economic level alone, speeding designer fashion is a spectacularly self-defeating failure. Designer fashion is never going to beat fast fashion at its own game.

All photos clicked by: Shailendra Pardesi 

You can follow him on Instagram and Facebook!


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