“Fashion is the ‘tail end’ of the work that handlooms have achieved”, says designer Ritu Kumar. India has the most diverse handwoven textile tradition. Compared to cheaper, mass-produced, mill-made textiles, handloom sarees are affordable luxury that adds premium value. The textural and design distinction differentiates hand woven fabrics from power-loom textiles.
The reason good enough for renowned designers like Tarun Tahiliani, J.J. Valaya or Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla of the senior cadre to Nachiket Barve, Rimzim Dadu and Swati Kalsi among the younger brigade to work with crafts, creating beautiful embroideries and reinventing traditional embellishment, dyeing and printing techniques on handlooms.
In fact, the world today is entering a phase where the hand woven textile is being appreciated by discerning clients. Moving away from the initial Gandhian ideal of spinning at low cost, today artisanship of the loom is treated as a luxury commodity.
“As our Prime Minister has expressed, ‘Handlooms are ‘diwan-e-khas’ and power-loom is ‘diwan-e-aam’. Handlooms are going to be the strongest foundation for future luxury. Eventually, luxury is going to boil down to slow, organic production, community-building, and marketing stories around the power of the human hand. Nothing will remain tantamount to luxury other than handlooms,” says Sabyasachi.
As the world moves towards industrial fashion, the idea that only India can nurture, through handlooms, the most natural lifestyle, given the environmental situation in the globe which makes world moves towards industrial fashion, the idea that only India can nurture, through handlooms, the most natural lifestyle, given the environmental situation in the globe which makes handlooms not just a decorative piece of art but a necessity, puts in that added responsibility on our shoulders to sustain handlooms.