The Real Deal: How to Spot Authentic Chikankari from Fake Machine Made Replicas

The Real Deal: How to Spot Authentic Chikankari from Fake Machine Made Replicas

Chikankari is a traditional style of white flower embroidery that is meticulously designed using a needle and thread. It is primarily centered in Lucknow, the capital of the sizable state of Uttar Pradesh, in the north of India. It is a testament to the craftsmanship and tenacity of the artisans who have passed down this method from one generation to the next. This exquisite type of embroidery is still done the old-fashioned way in and around Lucknow today.

The cheap replica of Chikankari is currently being made with the help of machines, like many other types of art. Due to its ability to be mass produced and its low quality, machine-made Chikankari outfits have been sold in the world market under the name of “Chikankari Embroidery.”

The handcrafted Chikankari offers a wide range of motifs and stitching that the machine-made Chikankari cannot replicate. An ardent admirer of hand-made Chikankari would always choose high-quality handcrafted chikankari over machine made replicas.

In its purest form, chikankari is only a form of hand embroidery; machine embroidery will never be authentic. Over time, a supply of low-cost machine embroidery imitating certain Chikankari stitches has emerged, which is marketed in India and the global market under the guise of authentic “Chikankari embroidery” and deceives the consumer.

This blog will help you in differentiating between genuine hand stitched Chikankari and machine made replicas.

Spot the difference between Handcrafted Chikankari and Machine Work

How to identify original handmade embroidery ?

Turn the stitching over to the back side and look for any imperfections, such as hanging knots of various sizes or threads running at various intervals, which could indicate that the artisan has ended some threads and started weaving from various places. You’ll notice that it feels authentic right away. While the back finishing of a garment with machine-made embroidery will be highly distinct, clean, and symmetrical with no knotting and thread endings hanging around.

Hakoba embroidery is known for its duplicity of Chikankari embroidery. On the left we can see the roughages caused by a handicraft product which are missing in the right image which is a hakoba (duplicate)

How many type of stitches are there in Chikankari ?

Chikankari cannot be accurately replicated by a machine. Handmade work is most likely consists of 32 different types of stitches. Among them, the five basic stitches are Phanda-small circular dot, Jaali, tepchi-the running stitch, murri and bakhia– the most common and popular stitch that gives the shadow effect.

Lucknowi Chikankari , famously regarded as “poetry on clothing,” is a must-have in every Indian wardrobe.

Which type of thread is used for Chikankari Embroidery

Chikankari embroidery is typically made using cotton threads. However even resham threads can be used for super-fine and luxurious finishes. The Chikankari embroidery artisans use a variety of fine threads, including silver zari, silk and golden zari. Machine made imitations often use low-quality cotton and avoid high-quality fabrics.

Chikankari is a beloved art form because of the intricate stitches and detailed embroidery work.

What is the process of Chikankari ?

The work begins with one or more pattern blocks that are used to block-print a pattern on the ground fabrics. Then, the artisans stitch the pattern with minute stitches. Finally, they remove all traces of the printed pattern by washing the embroidered cloth gently.

So, the process ofcan be explained in the following steps:

  • Designing and stitching
  • Block printing
  • Embroidery
  • Washing and finishing
The majority of Chikankari artisans are women who rely on this art to make a living. Their quality of life would be directly impacted if we keep purchasing fake machine made replicas.

Ada Designer Chikan Studio supports over 30,000+ artisans and have successfully delivered Lucknowi handcraft products to over 10,000 pin codes within India and to over 80 countries globally. Hence, if you’re an ardent admirer of Chikankari clothes, you can purchase the finest Chikankari work from us, for men and women, without fretting over the authenticity of its design.

Visit our showrooms:

  68 & 73 Hazratganj Lucknow 226001

  Lucknow Chaudhary Charan Singh Domestic Airport

  Kolkata Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport

  Phoenix Palassio, Amar Shaheed Path Lucknow

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About Author


Commemorate the variety of Indian Handcrafted Artistry and simplify online shopping with Ada Designer Chikan Studio Ada conceptualized the traditional art of Lucknow Chikankari as a timeless fashion statement by bringing together the finest artisans receiving delightful appreciation for the cognoscente over the years. Lucknow Chikan Craft has received a GI Tag by the Government of India, which authenticates the handicraft is made and exported from Lucknow region to provide legal protection for the craft from imitation. ADA is GI registered. +91-97-7500-7500

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