The story behind your block print dress

The story behind your block print dress

A block print dress never goes out of style - but do you know what actually goes into making one in the first place? From the centuries-old block printing process to garden sketches and small production runs, there’s a huge amount of time, effort and inspiration behind each and every dress. So next time you slip on your favourite summer frock, take a moment to appreciate the artisans and traditions that have made such a beautiful garment possible!

A tale as old as time

All of Hollyblocks’ garments are made using hand block printing, which is a process that dates back as early as the third century. Before mechanical printing processes came to be, text, images and patterns were hand-carved into wooden blocks to produce multiple copies of an item - typically books and images.

These days much of our modern fashion is mass-produced, which means fabric is often screen printed or digitally printed in highly automated ways. However, there are still parts of the world where hand block printing thrives. In Rajasthan, India, where Hollyblocks’ artisans live and work, block printing is alive and well. Our team uses a technique handed down from generation to generation, which involves transferring our hand-drawn patterns onto tracing paper and then carving them into blocks of wood. These blocks become stamps which are painted with dye and hand-pressed into patterns on the fabric which becomes your dress.

Want to know more about our block printing process? Read our blog here.

Prints charming

A block print dress isn’t a block print dress without the perfect pattern! We’re proud to design our prints ourselves, taking inspiration from Norfolk’s breathtaking countryside. From plum blossoms and poppies to periwinkles and daisies, our hand-drawn illustrations capture the ever-changing landscapes of this beautiful part of England. Once we’ve nailed down the drawings, we’ll try out different colour combinations and garment styles until we settle on the perfect form for our new pieces. You’ll often see the same print used across a small collection of garments, making it easy to go for a co-ord look or simply to stock up on your favourite print.

Substance AND style

At Hollyblocks, we believe you shouldn’t have to choose between style and substance. Why shouldn’t you be able to select a fashionable, stylish garment without compromising on sustainability? That’s why our collections are fashion-focused as well as friendly to the planet. 

Whether you’re looking for a romantic ruffled summer skirt, a deep red autumnal dress or a flirty flamenco-style frock, you’ll find it in our range. Best of all, these garments have been made with love, in small runs, from organic cotton and non-toxic dyes. It’s a much gentler, small-scale process that supports makers and reduces our overall impact on the planet. So when you wear a block print dress, you can look good and feel good too!

More bang for your buck

Sustainable clothing should be long-lasting, and to truly make more ethical fashion choices you should consider how many new garments you buy. So that means you need to make your block print dresses work harder and last season after season! 

Luckily, many of our dresses look as fabulous in winter as they do in summer. It’s all about the layers and the accessories. For example, our Avebury Poppy Wrap Dress is a beautiful summer style, but it can also be gorgeous in winter with a bright red turtleneck underneath and a pair of knee-high boots. Meanwhile, our Daisy Dress can be unbuttoned all the way down the front to transform it into a lightweight beach cover-up, or it can be transformed into a whimsical autumn outfit with a cable neck jumper or cardigan and a bobble hat to top things off. 

Stay stylish and sustainable with Hollyblocks

If you’re ready to add a new block print dress to your year-round wardrobe, our collection could have just what you’re looking for! Our print and production runs are small, so not only will you feel unique when you wear one of our dresses but you’ll be supporting local craftspeople as well. 

Shop the collection here or find more inspiration in our blog.


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