Coksa India’s latest collection of Ajrakh saris is an ode to India’s heritage of slow fashion with ancient block printing technique

The edit has saris with Ajrakh prints infused with natural dyes.
Saris from Ajrakh edit
Saris from Ajrakh edit

If you've been charmed by the handcrafted saris by slow fashion label Coksa India, then you’re not alone. The homegrown label by three women, Shikha Chaurasia, Anukriti Dixit and Poonam Sharma, aims to revive the age-old crafts of India. It specialises in handwoven saris and fabrics made of Mulberry and tissue silk, organza, linen, Pattu silk and cotton.

It has dropped its new collection titled Ajrakh’23 based on the unique hand-block printing technique of the Sindh (modern day Pakistan) that travelled all the way to the Kutch region of Gujarat in India. The geometric textile art form is mastered by a group of craftsmen from Ajrakhpur in the rural Kutchi rural area and Coksa’s team explored the whole of Ajrakhpur in a look-out for artisans for its latest drop. Shikha Chaurasia shares with us, “The blistering heat of Ajrakhpur is unforgiving and ferocious, and the tin workshops only helped increase the mercury to pierce your skin with more heat. But the effort that an artisan puts into creating something inch by inch with impeccable details drove us to dress women in such luxurious, natural, and comfortable drapes. The Ajrakh hand block printing process involves 18 rigorous steps of repetitive dyes and washes. We were inspired by the honesty of the weavers and the ambition to bring the legacy of India to the forefront. ”

The latest collection has linen silk saris with vibrant Ajrakh art in earthy shades of rust, blue and maroon. The timeless drapes look like a souvenir of feminine bond passed down from one generation to another in all its vintage pizzazz. Telling us about the design process, Shikha shares, “What inspired us to use Ajrakh are its beautiful prints infused with natural dyes. To begin with, we were able to achieve prints on handwoven fabric, perfected over days and then dyed painstakingly. The technique yielded results on both sides, making the fabric reversible and unique. Ajrakh hand block print on pure handloom material requires g reat mathematical precision.”

The ensembles from the edit are carefully hand block printed by Coksa’s master artisan Afzal Khatri on hand woven mulberry silk, tissue silk and linen silk by their weavers Sudish Kohli, Anas Ansari and Hafeez Khan. The pieces not only echo the Indian heritage with pride, but also provide drapes that are enlivening. Shikha underscores how the saris are sustainable, “We only produce in small batches, and what our artisans can produce comfortably in their workshops avoiding any wastage. The threads and zari used for weaving our saris are pure and sourced ethically. The dyes used in printing are natural vegetable dyes unearthed consciously.”

Rs. 7,500. Available online.
Twitter: @ranapriyamvada

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