This handloom day, celebrated every year on August 7 to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement, comes with a twist with country’s leading fashion experts talking about going beyond one specific day for handloom products and celebrating handloom every day. This sentiment was echoed at the discussion held at the Crafts Museum was organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) and Ministry of Textiles.
FDCI has also curated a temporary exhibition of handloom crafts of many Indian states at the Crafts Museum.
While giving a clarion call for greater adoption of handloom products, celebrated designer Ritu Kumar said that India’s rich heritage of handloom differentiates us from rest of the fashion world. The fashion icon and Padma Shri recipient, known for blending age-old crafts with a contemporary vocabulary, also said that “we can’t wish away 16 million handloom weavers or their skills” and while master-weavers struggle to make ends meet, handloom sector needs solid commerce backing.
Textile designer David Abraham, who is part of the fashion brand Abraham & Thakore, brought in a different element in the discourse to environment. “Textile industry is the second largest polluter in the world. Every garment factory is getting larger and more mechanised. The handloom weaver has the smallest environmental footprint. Speaking of fashion, handicrafts are the greatest form of luxury because it’s handmade and has limited pieces,” he said.
The event also had another Padma Shri recipient, Ram Kishore Chippa Derawala who is a master-printer in the Dabu and Bagru prints of Rajasthan, speak about reduction of taxes on the handloom products since they are anyway more expensive to produce.
Designers Madhu Jain, Sunil Sethi and Rita Kapur Chishti also shared their views on how Indians need to relook at their handloom heritage and preserve it with the same deal as monuments.