#Iwearhandloom – Reinventing Handlooms for a new generation
Indian hand woven fabrics have been known since time immemorial. Poets of the Mughal durbar likened our muslins to baft hawa (woven air), abe rawan (running water) and shabnam (morning dew). A tale runs that Emperor Aurangzeb had a fit of rage when he saw his daughter princess Zeb-un-Nissa clad in almost nothing. On being severely rebuked, the princess explained that she had not one but seven jamahs (dresses) on her body. Such was the fineness of the hand woven fabrics.
Handlooms are an important craft product and comprise the largest cottage industry of the country. Millions of looms across the country are engaged in weaving cotton, silk and other natural fibers. There is hardly a village where weavers do not exist, each weaving out the traditional beauty of India's own precious heritage.
Ikat from Gujrat
Yarn Dyed Checks from Andhra Pradesh
Weaver from Bengal weaving Dakai
In the world of handlooms, there are Madras checks from Tamil Nadu, ikats from Andhra and Orissa, Chanderi and Maheshwari from Madhya Pradesh, brocades from Banaras, jacquards from Uttar Pradesh, Daccai from West Bengal, and many many other distinctive regional weaves. Yet, despite this regional distinction there has been a great deal of technical and stylistic exchange.
The handmade process for heritage textiles doesn’t end with the weaving of the fabric. Often the fabrics are dyed, printed or painted to create rich unique fabrics like Ajrak, Kalamkari, Bandhini etc which accounted for most of India’s trade with the outside world. Sadly, those days came to an end with the coming of the British and the move towards mill-made fabrics. Now handloom fabrics are worn by a very select niche which understands and appreciates the craft skills and workmanship behind the fabrics.
The Govt. of India hopes to change this by bringing handmade textiles under the ambit of Make in India and by popularising the use of handloom amongst the younger generation. #Iwearhandloom is a great initiative endorsed by Laila Tayabji on the eve of Handloom Day (7th August) which has generated a lot of buzz with the Ministers of Industry and Textiles also taking to social media with the hashtag.
At Loom Tree we have been working with weavers in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal in conjunction with Dastkar Andhra, Sasha and SEWA and we have taken the #Iwearhandloom tag further by creating modern products that celebrate our ancient heritage while being in synch with our contemporary tatstes. Here is a small sample of some of our amazing garments using handlooms – come join the #Iwearhandloom movement!
Trapeze Shirt in Handwoven Cotton Dobby from Phulia, West Bengal
Embroidered top made in handwoven cotton fabric from Andhra Pradesh
Khadi Top with metal bead embroidery
Easy Top with folkloric embroidery in a yarn dyed handwoven cotton from Andhra Pradesh.
Easy Joggers in Handwoven Indigo fabric from Bhagalpur, Bihar