Are you one of those who feel the price of handloom doesn’t match its look? Blame it on the lack of education in the country about the toil that goes into handspun fabric, says designer Rakesh Thakore.
“Handloom is very specific to numbers, unlike power-looms. It is very important to realize the importance of handloom because it is very special. Mass production is not possible. Every sari will have a different texture depending on the fabric and the color. It is an extraordinary skill that we can achieve through handloom,” the designer, part of the famed Abraham-Thakore duo, told IANS in an interview.
“It all depends on how you market the product. In terms of handloom, everybody perceives it as expensive. (But) because it is special, we have to appreciate how people do it. That understanding is very low I think, in many ways.
“People say that it looks so cheap, so why is it expensive? They have be educated about it. It is rare now… There are many weavers who are not willing to continue. I appreciate the ones that are continuing, and that is a step forward as one sees it,” he added.
Thakore, who promotes sustainable fashion, presented a collection titled Back To Work with his partner David Abraham at the Amazon India Fashion Week (AIWF) Autumn-Winter 2017 here earlier this month.
Highlighting a major plus point of handloom as a perfect fabric, Thakore says it is breathes, especially in the summer season when the scorching heat takes a toll on people.
“To save the craft, you have to be able to create awareness of what people go through. Look at grandmothers and that generation — they always wore handloom… There was no other option. Handloom was for India, weather-wise, the best fabric.
“Any kind of polyester… it doesn’t breathe. People wash and wear it because it is much easier… But it is the most uncomfortable fabric to breathe in especially in the summers when it is 45 degrees… Handloom fabrics are far more superior in that sense. For me, that is what it is,” added Thakore, who looks after handloom weaving development and oversees the retail operations for brand A&T.
Major fashion galas in India are making strides towards promotion of indigenous handloom. AIFW, for example, dedicated a whole day to handloom and textiles in its last edition.
The designer says promoting handloom at fashion weeks has helped as it has made young designers look more into the craft and understand the importance of weavers even more.
“Everybody has now begun to see the importance of handloom and appreciate what we are, what we did traditionally. It is so remarkable. India is one of the countries that produce handwoven and handspun textiles. It’s a delight to know that a lot of youngsters are now working with weavers directly,” he said.
“There is so much of hope that one can get there. That is coming from the young contributions of the designers who are keen on working in the handloom sector. Not because it is fashion, but because they have begun to understand that this is also an area that we can work with.
“It is not difficult and the accessibility is there. So, people travel, go there or the weavers themselves come to big cities… I think it is fantastic there are a lot of bazaars that keep happening like Dilli Haat and Nature Bazaar,” Thakore added.