Our History

Malabar Trading opened in 2001 in the vibrant market town of Bridport in Dorset. Our aim has always been to provide personally selected, hand crafted items from around the world. We stock items of the finest quality which display the great craft and skill of the world`s artisans. It has taken many years to find suppliers who can provide products of the highest quality whilst maintaining strong ethical standards.

From Kashmir and Northern India we source traditional complex-patterned pure wool throws and shawls displaying the legendary skills of the region’s designers and weavers which have been perfected over many hundreds of years. Another fine example of the weaver’s craft can be seen in our silk ikat cushions from both India and Uzbekistan. The making of ikat fabrics is a skilled and time consuming process with some pieces taking 4-8 weeks to make. The complex patterns are dyed into the threads before they are placed on the loom which creates a wonderful soft-edged effect and our silk ikat cushions are things of shimmering beauty.

From Rajasthan in India we have an extensive range of pure cotton, hand block printed textiles. Hand block printing is a craft which requires focus, skill and diligence at every stage. The intricate patterns are hand-carved into hard wood blocks, then when the fresh daily batch of dye has been expertly mixed, great precision is required to print the cotton, matching and aligning the patterns constantly. Many of our hand block printed textiles are made exclusively for us and our range includes voile curtain panels, quilted bedcovers, cot quilts, cushion covers, bedspreads, napkins, tablecloths and kimonos.

In our shop and on the website you can see our range of quilts made from the softest voile cotton, block printed and generously filled with pure cotton which is the expertly stitched into place. In recent years we have also worked with cotton growers to weave hand-loomed cotton throws, bedcovers and waistcoats.

Our embroidered textiles come from diverse regions of the world which have been perfecting their skills, designs and techniques for centuries. We have a range of ‘chikan-work’ hand embroidered clothes made for us in Lucknow in Northern India. The word ‘chikan’ is derived from the Persian word ‘chakeen’ meaning the rendering of patterns on fabric. It has an exquisite delicacy and is traditionally done using white untwisted yarn on white muslin fabric. Our chikan-work range includes kurtas and curtain panels.

From Uzbekistan we have large embroidered panels known as Suzanis which, depending on their size, can be used as wall hangings or bedspreads. They are hand embroidered using silk thread on cotton or silk and often feature beautiful floral or plant motifs using wonderful rich, natural colours. We also stock a collection of very finely chain-stitched Suzani cushions.

Each year we visit Istanbul to source a number of traditional Turkish and Afghan kilims, traditionally woven in wool using ancient tribal motifs of the region. Due to their relative scarcity and the fact that we only ever wish to sell the highest quality we can find, our stock is limited but always worth a visit to our store to look at.  We also happily send photos to our customers far and wide.

Alongside our range of textiles we also have a varied and ever-changing selection of high quality household items and gifts. There are ceramics from Japan and Morocco, cotton towels from Turkey, silver jewellery from India, fine incense from Japan, ceramic and bone knobs from India, cotton clothing, nightwear and much more.

The single ideal that unites our wide and varied range of stock is that each item should be decorative, useful and expertly made. We aim to provide a range of home furnishings and gifts that bring quality and beauty to everyday life.

Our stock is always changing and we usually only have small quantities of any item so if you are looking for something specific please call or email us. If you are planning a trip to Bridport we hope you find some time to visit us.