Mumbai – To further strengthen the handlooms and textiles sector of India, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India is presenting “Artisan Speak”, a unique event which will showcase the rich handloom and textile tradition of India. The event is being held at UNESCO World Heritage site, Elephanta Caves near Mumbai, on January 28, 2019. The Union Minister for Textiles, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani will be present on the occasion. Former Indian cricketer Shri Sachin Tendulkar will also grace the occasion, on behalf of M/s Arvind True Blue Limited.

The historic occasion will mark a new beginning of major commitments by the private sector towards the development of India’s handlooms. Handloom promotion will get a boost due to the signing of collaborative arrangements between the Government and leading retailers and textile brands. Under the agreements to be signed between Office of Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles and textile companies, Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs) under O/o DC (Handlooms) will act as a facilitator, linking textile companies and handloom clusters. The WSCs will enable textile firms to directly source their requirements from handloom clusters, as per defined quality, cost and time constraints. This will also result in better price realization and improved market understanding for weavers.

The following textiles companies will sign agreements with the Ministry of Textiles on the occasion:

  • Arvind True Blue Limited (Shri Kulin Lalbhai, Executive Director)
  • Raymond Ltd. (Shri Gaurav Mahajan, President – Group Apparels)
  • Welspun India Limited (Shri Anil Channa, Executive Director (Operations))
  • Titan Co. Ltd. (Shri Ajoy Chawla, Sr. Vice President)
  • Reliance Retail Limited (Shri Akhilesh Prasad, President & Chief Executive)

The strategic partnership between big brands and handloom clusters is aimed at establishing long-term market linkages between key industry players on the one hand and handloom weavers on the other; this will ensure sustainable development of the sector, resulting also in sustainable and enhanced income opportunities for weavers.

The event will also include a grand showcase of Indian textiles, through a curated cultural show, with participation of leading designers. The presentation by established and emerging designers along with artisans will be based on GI (Geographical Indication) textiles drawn from various regions across India.  This will display the potential of GI textiles, so as to promote and build awareness of such products and to strengthen skills and supply chain capacity of grassroots stakeholders.

Some of the key designers and artisans participating in the presentation are:

  • Designer Rahul Mishra showcasing Chikankari
  • Designer Payal Khandwala showcasing Banarasi brocades
  • Master-weaver Shantilal Bhangade showcasing Paithani
  • Designer Gaurang showcasing Kancheepuram silks
  • Dr. Ushadevi Balakrishnan from Kerala presenting Balaramapuram sarees through Anka
  • Designer Karishma Shahani Khan showcasing Kota Doria/Chanderi textiles
  • Designer Meera Muzaffar Ali showcasing Chikankari
  • Designer Padmaja showcasing Maheshwari textiles
  • Artisan Rajib Debnath (Burdwan) showcasing Jamdani sarees
  • Designer Abraham & Thakore showcasing hand-block prints on handloom cotton

The event will also be marked by a cultural programme, with music and dance performances.

The first-of-its-kind event at Elephanta Caves is being organized by the Ministry of Textiles, in partnership with IMG Reliance.

Background

India’s handlooms are a generational legacy closely associated with the cultural tradition and rich history of our country. The tradition is kept alive by our highly skilled weavers and artisans against all odds and uneven competition from machine-made products.  Kancheepuram of Tamil Nadu, Baluchari and Jamdani of West Bengal, Paithani of Maharashtra, Chanderi and Maheswari of Madhya Pradesh, Muga of Assam, Patola of Gujarat, Kani of Kashmir, Tie & Dye, Vichitrapuri and Bomkai of Orissa, Brocades of Varanasi, Balarampuram of Kerala and Pochampally of Andhra Pradesh are a few examples of our precious handloom tradition.

The Government has taken various steps to preserve this legacy and to unlock the commercial potential and huge possibility for rural employment through revival of these age-old crafts. Patenting exclusive crafts with GI registration is one such step which holds great promise for economic and social upliftment of weavers and artisans. About 168 handlooms and handicrafts products have been registered under GI. Artisan Speak will mark another step in this direction, wherein GI textiles will be showcased and private sector will enter into collaboration with the Government in promoting India’s handlooms.