Traditional crafts are making a comeback in a big way. We’re seeing them everywhere from the catwalk to home interiors, high street brands to luxury brands. Traditional crafts like block printing and hand knitting are improving the quality and uniqueness of 21st-century products and none more than the clothing in Gudrun Sjödén’s new spring collection. Incorporating these beautiful ancient techniques into their modern clothing has given their collection an extra edge as well as a respect for tradition.
Since we’re such big fans of traditional crafts, here’s five traditional crafts and techniques that are being used more and more by brands like Gudrun Sjödén. Have a read, pick your favourite and let Gudrun Sjödén know which one you’ll be working into your wardrobe over on Instagram using #gudrunsjoden.
Five Traditional Crafts
Block printing is an ancient technique for printing text, images or patterns. Sometimes known as woodblock printing, this technique was first used in China for printing on textiles and later cloth. This traditional craft dates back to before 220 AD but is still used widely by many different cultures in many different countries. Creating repeating patterns, block-printing creates earthy, textured designs, each one slightly different because of being handmade printed.
In Japiur, India, block printing is still a popular method of creating patterned fabric. Gudrun Sjödén travelled to the alleyways of India to see this tradition for herself and was so inspired she decided to support these ancient methods by ordering and buying the beautiful textiles created. You can see these throughout the spring collection, especially in the Aditi reversible coat (above).
Natural dyeing or eco-dyeing is becoming increasingly popular as we move away from the chemical modern dyeing which was introduced in the 1850s. We’ve seen natural dyeing methods being used again by home crafters and big brands alike. From avocado pits to onion skins, natural dyeing is a traditional craft used in ancient times by women who used household items to create colour. The process has gained traction because it’s much more eco-friendly and results in soft, natural hues that mimic the world around us.
After seeing how dyes were made using plants, minerals and oxidised iron in India, Gudrun Sjödén decided to use environmentally-friendly methods of dyeing in her collections with the colours inspired by the natural world. Reds inspired by Indian spices, greens inspired by the oasis in Morocco and blues inspired by the bluebells, violets and lupins of Stockholm. The ecru and natural white colourways in the collection don’t require any bleach or dye at all! They come in their natural hues so you truly return to the ways of traditional craft.
Traditional crafts don’t go far without their traditional patterns. Abstract, circular patterns of aboriginal tribes and bold, bright patterns from Africa are being recognised by the craft community and embraced for the beautiful, traditional designs they are. Rich in history and steeped in culture, these traditional patterns being a deeper meaning to the items we create. We’re also seeing lots of traditional tapestry patterns which are inspired by Indigenous tribes.
Gudrun Sjödén has embraced the traditional patterns, taking inspiration from the fantastic rugs of Morocco for their “Berber” sweater. There’s also traditional floral embroidery used on their “Majorelle” dress that have been found on women’s clothing throughout history. By using these traditional patterns in modern styles and shapes they’re creating timeless pieces you can wear forever.
Hand knitting is trending at the moment for is sustainability, quality and uniqueness. We’re seeing more and more crafters pick up hand knitting and creating their own handmade sweaters, cardigans and accessories. It’s a traditional craft that along with crochet (its modern counterpart), is being chosen over mass-produced, industrial methods. Featured by major homeware and fashion brands, hand knitting guarantees high quality and combats the fast fashion industry.
This beautiful cardigan is hand-knitted and in the spring Gudrun Sjödén collection. It comes a blue, red and an undyed version which uses the natural shade of the wool. No bleach or chemicals used in this create a spring staple.
Finally, raw materials are being used to create all kinds of crafts, praised for their natural durability and breathability. We’re seeing more vegan yarns, organic cotton and quality silk used in crafts to make items that will stand the test of time. Traditional crafts are nothing without their traditional patterns and materials!
Gudrun Sjödén use natural materials in every aspect of their clothing. From organic cotton and water-retted linen to coconut shell buttons, even the smallest details are made from raw materials found in the natural world. As well as sourcing these organic materials they also save old materials from landfill. Trainers are created from recycled polyester and all cotton used is reclaimed from the textile industry and respun into new fibres – saving it from landfill.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these traditional crafts and how they’re being used in the 21st century.