The Warmth of Handloom textiles ! ( Part 1)
All handcrafted products are precious and involve a good skill set of the artisans, which surely need to be supported and embraced in everyday day life.
7 th of August is marked as The National Handloom Day in India, and a series of activities are planned around the theme, to promote the handloom textiles of India. This year the celebrations are mostly virtual on various online platforms due to social distancing norms.
There are many people who are supporting the #handmadeinindia #vocalforlocal #prebuyhandloom #nationalhandloomday, there is indeed a need for this tribe to grow and the handloom textiles need to be celebrated everyday all-round the year.
While all this is good there is pressing need to understand what differentiates handcrafted from handloom. Handwoven fabric is the base for any other ornamental textile tradition like embroidery, printing and dyeing, therefore more precious. The practice of using an inexpensive mill-made fabric with plain texture requires an add on in form of dye, print, embroidery to make it appealing. Thus, being aware that all handcrafted textiles are not handwoven is crucial. Whereas even an unbleached Kora handloom fabric has a very charming character with appealing natural hues of the fiber be it wool, silk or cotton. Inherent
natural slubs, knots to mend a broken yarn while handloom weaving renders the characteristic unevenness and tactile quality.
Dignity and sustainable livelihoods are two major things on which the Handloom weaver's family and community thrives.
When the weaver community thrives, the villages prosper and the textile crafts sustain. The other allied artisans involved in spinning, finishing, dyeing, printing, embroidery and sewing will get more work. It would be ideal that the makers; Handloom weavers, slow fashion designer continue making and co- creating the clothes and the people inclined to business should take care of selling, while being transparent about the process and educating consumers about quality and workmanship. Therefore middlemen, salesperson, retailers, curators, influencers etc. have a very important role towards promotion and sales of Handloom textiles and garments. They should be paid their mark-up for their services offered and investment, ensuring that the maker has a higher share and is paid timely as soon as the product is ready to leave the makers workshop. Making sure no spurious or fake products and misinformation is propagated to the consumers, this is vital for growth of handloom textiles. Knowing the textile process and authenticity is important for the buyers to make mindful choices and support Handloom.
Lure for luxurious handloom saris with intricate, delicate detailing of silk are inevitable and zari brocades are precious indeed; special occasions are unimaginable without them. They need to be preserved as heirlooms. There are many beautiful, hardy, affordable saris and textiles which are suitable for everyday use in the tropical weather and have good strength to withstand frequent washing and wear; adding a very distinct character to the well-loved
pieces. The soft crinkled surface of the handloom cotton, rustle of handloom silk are indeed precious. Our Slow fashion story is about encouraging more people to embrace Handloom fabrics in their everyday lifestyle and wear contemporary Indian clothes that are made with a lot of love for the maker, wearer and the Earth.
Dr Vaibbhavi Pruthviraj Ranavaade