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From India’s freedom struggle to international fashion weeks – artistic journey of Indian handlooms


FASHION_Handloom sari

NEW DELHI, August 14,2017 (ANI) – Right from playing a key role in India?s Freedom struggle to making India a treasure chest of fashion, Indian Handlooms have been an integral part of Indian culture and economics.
India, under colonial rule for a little above two hundred years attained its freedom in 1947. And the non-cooperation movement by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 was a major milestone. He urged Indians to wear hand-woven Khadi. Since then, Handlooms have formed an integral part of our Freedom struggle.
Handlooms are the spirit of the nation ? the vibrancy and vividness in their display reflecting the ethos of India, its rich culture and the underlying chord of unity within the diversity.
Weavers, artisans and other ancillary craftsmen are the backbone of the Indian handloom industry which demonstrates the richness and diversity of Indian culture.
With over 4.3 million people directly involved in the production, the handloom industry is the second-largest employment provider for the rural population in India after agriculture. Indian handloom products are known for their unique designs and finesse. The trend is to mix old designs with new techniques and create original products.
The industry has strong infrastructure, with about 2.4 million looms of varied designs and construction, indicating significant production capacity.
Remuneratively handlooms fetch much less as compared to power looms and govt. policies and schemes started favouring this sector and neglected the other. This caused a temporary setback and numbers in the workforce started dwindling seeking fresher pastures to eke out their livelihood.
Handloom day on August 7 every year, the initiative from Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, is an acknowledgement of this ?Hand of the Loom? or the weaving community?s contribution to the nation?s economy and the preservation of India?s rich heritage.
As a move it has many pro-handloom initiatives afresh and given the much needed shot in the arm that promises better things to come for this troubled sector.
As per the official figures from the Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC), the contribution of Handloom sector in Indian exports is quite significant and worthy of applause.
The export of handloom products from India stood at USD 360.02 million in FY2015-16.
In 2015-16, the US was the major importer of Indian handloom products, with estimated purchases of USD 106.13 million, followed by the UK and UAE at USD 22.42 million and USD 19.42 million, respectively. Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Netherlands, and Australia were some other export destinations.
During 2015-16, export of fabrics stood at USD 35.34 million, floor coverings stood at USD 125.27 million, clothing accessories stood at USD 25.54 million, and made-ups stood at USD 173.88 million.
Indian Handlooms have made a deep impact on the Fashion trends. Some of the leading Indian designers like Ritu Kumar, Sabyasachi Mukerjee, Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, Anamika Khanna, Anju Modi extensively incorporate handloom weaves and art work in their collections.
Starting from fabric, right down to designs and motifs, they have given the handloom that fresh boost that has elevated it from a traditional weave to a fashion fabric.
But more heartening is it to see the spread of the handloom in fashion clothing overseas. Some of the biggest designer brands have incorporated designs, patterns, styles, and sometimes even the fabric itself from the Indian range of clothing.
The Hermes Spring-Summer 2008 collection of colorful India-inspired fusion garments include draped sari dresses, tunics, long jackets, reinterpreted ribbon-edged saris, Jodhpurs and safari suits.
McQueen Fall 2008 is inspired by Indian royal costumes and jewellery for this collection. Knee-length draped sari dresses with paisley work at the borders, a voluminous white dress with a red shrug with gathered effect, use of India?s national bird peacock as a motif and the use of maangtikas.
Dior Resort 2008 is a tribute to the Indian colour palette and experiments with shades such as bright greens and pinks in this collection, the use of paisley, temple motifs, embroidery on silk and chiffon to create pencil pants, skirts and dresses is fascinating.

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