Anokhi’s roots lie in Jaipur, a city whose founders were enlightened patrons of the arts and crafts. Skilled artisans practicing myriad craft forms – block carving and printing amongst them – were invited to settle here and were ensured a secure livelihood.
Founded by John and Faith Singh in 1970, ANOKHI began when Jaipur’s block printing industry was at a very low ebb. Modern manufacturing processes had already marginalized handmade practices, the local patronage system was effectively lost and customers were steadily diminishing.
To help revitalise these age-old skills, ANOKHI started working with craftspeople in and around Jaipur: block carvers and printers, dyers, embroiderers and bead workers. Listening to their concerns, the Singhs aimed to maintain an open & honest relationship with the artisans while committing to provide sustained work throughout the year.
ANOKHI began with small clothing collections. In the studio, designers developed striking ranges around the traditional techniques and skilled work of artisans, while infusing pieces with a contemporary twist for the modern-day user. Traditional prints with elaborate layouts were re-imagined as stylish evening dresses, bolero jackets and kaftans, and sold through boutiques across England. Decorative soft furnishing collections followed, inspired by Jaipur’s traditional quilts and bedcovers. Their introduction expanded the block printed range and generated orders. At a similar time, ANOKHI began offering creative internships and projects to design schools to foster a better understanding of the potential dynamic between craft and design.
ANOKHI became known as an alternative role model for good business practices and its ongoing commitment to the revival of traditional textile skills. Unique hand-made pieces could now be found in small independent shops dotted around the UK and across the craft – loving world – from Paris to Kyoto, San Francisco to Bogota.
In the mid-90s, ANOKHI and its future was placed in the hands of the next generation. Underpinned by the same ideals as its creators, the new custodians continued to find inventive ways to sustain a secure livelihood for its many employees and numerous artisanal relationships. In doing so, ANOKHI gradually established shops across India to reach a wider audience.
ANOKHI went on to found Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing in 2005. Dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of block printed fabric, exhibitions put emphasis on contemporary design and the present status of the craft while also exploring its historic roots.
ANOKHI remains deeply committed to supporting traditional craftsmanship and its continued revival.