India has a rich history of weaving and handloom techniques, along with a community that has worked tirelessly through generations to preserve these ancient art forms. In fact, the second-largest employment sector in the country after agriculture is handloom. A different technique and style of weaves and handlooms originates from different parts of the country, and each of them hold a significant place in the culture it originated within. And we’re sure that your wardrobe also features at least one or two handloom items that you inherited from your family.
Despite all this, artisans and craftspeople are striving hard to keep the art form alive. Factors like the boom of the fast fashion industry and then the pandemic have made it even more difficult for artisans to reach Indian consumers easily. For this reason, in 2015, August 7 was declared as National Handlooms Day to promote the interests of this large community, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Vocal For Local agenda.
Over the years, there has been an emergence of labels that are championing handlooms. Designers like Anavila and Vaishali S are making hand-woven fabrics embellished with their contemporary designs that are accessible to mindful consumers. Along with these labels, there are many in the country who are promoting different weaving techniques of India and bringing them forward with their modern creations. No longer is handloom only associated with your grandmother’s saris or your father’s kurta collection.
Indian Designers and Labels That Are Modernising Handloom
This National Handloom Day, we decided to round up some of our favourite homegrown labels that are making handlooms cool again…