The Traditional Art of Block Printing


Block printing began in India in the 1500’s, often inspired by the ancient abstract art of that time, and a way to exude elegance and beauty on fabric, that has since never gone out of fashion. These complex techniques were highly appreciated by the Mughal Empire (the royal family) giving them the recognition they deserve.

This process begins with a hand-carved block made from wood, in whichever pattern the artisan chooses, resting in natural dye. The fabric is laid across a table evenly, at which point each wooden block is pressed firmly onto the fabric, the consistency achieved by the pressure applied by the palm of the hand. The process is repeated until each fabric panel is complete. This art and skill has been passed down through families for generations, creating beautiful fabrics we all know and use today, including here at Rooh Collective.

The expression of art is a way for our artisans to preserve tradition behind their craft and bring inspiration and joy into their workplace.


To uphold and display this beautiful long standing craft, we have launched two limited edition dresses, the Esha III in Tan and Marigold. Each dress has been made from block printed fabric and has been inspired by the floral beauty found outside in our everyday world. We wanted to express nature and sunshine in these pieces and block printing has helped achieve that.

These dresses have been made using only natural materials; each one has been block printed with natural dyes on 100% organic Khadi cotton, meaning each dress is more durable, soft, odourless, and has a high absorbency for the natural dyes than standard, non-organic cotton. 

The blocks for the print have been hand-carved from teak wood with the natural dyes made by hand, including organic indigo dye vat and others made with flowers, bark and roots, local to the streets of Mumbai.

Our inspiration behind the traditional art of block printing represents our love for nature in all its glory and affirms our passion to showcase traditional craftsmanship whilst maintaining the Rooh aesthetic.

Our block prints preserve the natural tradition of being printed by hand, with each press measured by eye only, and so a great amount of care and precision has taken place to ensure the designs are consistent and uniform. All imperfections, if any, give the deign a sense of exclusivity and uniqueness, and are considered a beauty of the craft.

After each piece of fabric has been printed, they are left to dry in the sunshine meaning we also see some natural variations fo the prints as the light changes throughout the day. After the fabric is dried, the colour is set through a round of washing and drying once again, where they finally come into our studio for inspection and are sewn into our beautiful limited edition pieces.