About Our Artisan Partner
Nappa Dori is an intimate fashion house in Delhi, India, where the emphasis on quality is matched by the commitment to social justice. The boutique's artisans create exquisite, handmade leather products. Nappa Dori provides its artisans with interest-free loans and also donates a portion of its profits to Harmony House, a community center for the women and children of the Delhi slums that provides free food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care.
Some of our favorite items at The Little Market are decorated with a beautiful pattern called ikat – a dyeing technique that has been used to pattern textiles around the world for centuries. The word ikat comes from a Malaysian word, “mengikat” meaning “to tie,” because the technique involves tying loose threads into bundles, then dyeing them to create beautiful patterns. This technique developed independently on many different continents; it has been seen in Southeast Asia, India, China, Japan, Turkey and South America.
To create ikat, artisans tie a water-resistant material around small bundles of fibers, creating intricate patterns that the dye can’t touch.
After tying the bundles, they must be dyed, a process that can vary widely between cultures. Traditionally, ikat is treated with natural dyes, a time-consuming process that can require up to 20 dye baths. Finally, the bundles are untied and the threads are carefully placed on the loom, preserving the pattern of the ikat. The threads are woven tightly together, and the ikat is finally complete.