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Fabric is perhaps the most important component when assessing the quality of clothing. Yet, if you’re like most consumers, you probably have a hard time identifying true quality vs. crap. By mastering the basics of discerning high quality from low-quality fabric, you can shop with confidence, select exceptional wardrobe pieces, and never be fooled into buying crap clothes again.
Silk, cashmere, leather, and linen have long been highly renowned, sought after, and expensively priced in the fashion world; and for good reasons. Although these high-end, natural materials typically come with a price tag, when building a solid, timelessly elegant wardrobe, these fabrics are worth the investment. Not only do these materials look expensive, but they also feel luxurious, and will stand the test of time.
Ajrak fabrics are famously worn by women in Pakistan, but not many know about the origin and history of this traditional ethnic craft. Researchers inform that Ajrak art belongs to the ‘Khatri’ community which resided near the river Sindh in Pakistan.
It was in the 16th century that numerous Ajrak craftsmen moved to the Kutch region after they were invited by the King of Kutch who was absolutely smitten by the art! In fact, he also invited printers, dyers, embroiders and potters to the region in order to encourage the Ajrak craft. Ajrak flourished in Kutch and began to be associated with the Maldharis in the region.
The craft remained unchanged till the Industrial Revolution began to penetrate the villages. The 1940s saw the sudden bombardment of the market with synthetic fabrics and vibrant chemical colours and this led to the fading away of Ajrak’s popularity for nearly 15 years. Fortunately, the persistent efforts of some patrons and craftsmen helped revive the craft in the 1960s.
 ‘Ajrak’ is a word that has its origins in the Arabic language and comes from “azrak”, meaning ‘blue’. The word actually describes a cloth that stretches for about 2.5 to 3 meters and is highlighted primarily with dark indigo and beautiful crimson (red) colours. But one can also notice hints of black and white on the fabric as these are used for highlighting the classic geometric patterns. Ajrak is a very common printing technique used in Sindh and you will find several men adorning Ajrak turbans and women wearing Ajrak shawls in this region.
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