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India has a rich handloom tradition that reflects its diversity of culture, geography, and history. Here are 11 knowledgeable women who promote handloom on insta.
The origin of handloom traces back to the Indus Valley Civilisation where wool and cotton were woven along with the use of natural dyes and embroidered work. From the Mughals to the British, all have left an indelible impression on the hand crafted art of India.
Creating a masterpiece takes hard work and skill, and the fabric depends upon the type of weaves that go into the apparel. The weave also varies depending upon the environment and working conditions of the workers of a particular region.
As the power looms came into the industry, hand looms began losing their significance. Work is faster on power looms, and the price of fabric or sarees is much lower as compared to the handloom ones. Also the unending layers of the supply chain meant that middlemen, or ‘mahajans’ as they are called, pushed the price up sky high while very little of it went to the weavers, and also made it difficult for the customers to recognise an original make.
Enter some enterprising people, many of them women, who have used the power of their knowledge of handloom to revive them, often sourcing directly from the weavers, which benefits both the craftsmen and the clients.
Here is a list of women who promote handloom on insta, striving hard towards reversing the trend of mass market products of questionable value, and getting handloom products win back Indian and international markets.
Anupriya Mridha, Vanivrtti
A textile designer by profession, Anupriya started her venture as a home based studio in Koraput, Odisha, and is now in Bengaluru. The motto of this social enterprise flashes boldly on their website which says that they work – for the craftsmen, by the craftsmen, creating purely hand-crafted and hand-woven products that are made with natural fibre, without harmful dyes.
Vanivrtti holds an expertise in beautiful and vivacious sarees.
Vinti Goenka, Vermilion by Vinti
Vinti Goenka has worked as a fashion curator for many years. She is a Singapore based designer who brings a ravishing collection of hand-woven fabrics from the states of Varanasi, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. The fabrics which they primarily use for their products are silk, tussar, georgette, kora and linen.
The specialty of Vermillion is the fact that it never ever repeats its designs.
Their collections of Patan Patola, Bandhani, Lucknowi, Nilambari and Rakhtambari sarees is out of the box and totally trendy.
Rama Rrebbapragada, founder of Studio Rama
Born and brought up in an upper middle class family, Rama is a commerce graduate by degree, but later picked up the area of her interest in textile designing to pursue her dream.
The seeds for this venture were sown with a small shop called Threads and Needles, later Srishtie, and finally came to be known by the current brand name ‘Studio Rama’.
The brand is known for its exclusive handmade clothes. It showcases a wide range of sarees, kurtas, duppattas, blouses.
Kakoli B, The Silk Chamber
Popularly known as TSC, the business began in the living room of Kakoli. She worked single handedly as the designer, sales and production in the early years of the venture. The Silk Chamber works to create and promote the hand loom designs from the north-east India.
They call weaving a traditional occupation in the north eastern states of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. The loom majorly used in this region is loin loom, which is quite different in function from the looms used in other parts of India. This occupation is performed by the women of this region.
TSC has an exclusive collection of Mekhela Sador, Sarees (Eri silk, Paat silk, Kesa paat silk and Muga), Shawls and Stoles.
Arati Baandal, founder of Only Paithani
Paithani is a type of exclusive saree named after Paithan town in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. These sarees are made of the finest quality fabric and takes almost 10-12 days to complete.
Arati, an electronics engineer by education realised the lack of variety in Paithani in Mumbai shops during her wedding shopping. Married into a family which encouraged achievements, her in-laws motivated her to start an online saree business, and of course it was the Paithani. The rest, as they say, is history.
OnlyPaithani has majority of the products hand-woven on their own looms. They use the traditional peacock, elephant, and mango motifs, and also add their innovations to create a fabulous collection of rare Paithani sarees.
Tholi Sandhya, Inde’ Loom
Inde’ Loom is a maker-to-market fair trade startup. It helps the weavers and artisans from rural India by trading their creations in the urban and global markets at fair prices.
Sandhya had begun this startup along with Suren Chowdhary with their vision – The Real Fashion Revolution.
The ethnic and western fashion apparels created by their brand are handmade and come straight out of the hand looms crafted by the artisans. They do not work on factories or machines.
Their collection includes works like Organza, Jamdani, Pen Kalamkari, Kantha, etc.
Suparna Som, SS Range
Like most of the other founders mentioned here, Suparna also took an oath to make sure that the middlemen or Mahajans were nowhere involved in the supply chain of her enterprise, and that artisans should be paid appropriately for their hard work to bring out the best of their work.
It is her firm belief that simple living should be the way of life, and in today’s fast running world simple living has actually become a luxury.
Being a Bengali herself, Suparna’s latest collection reflects her interest in flowers close to that culture – Jasmine and Hibiscus.
Smita Rangesh Embar, Tarang Weaves
The saree collection at Tarang Weaves comprises Bandhani, Kanjivaram, Gadwals, Ajrakh and Ikat Silk, and their vibrant, handcrafted sarees help you make a unique fashion statement on wearing them.
This is a budding business in the textile industry which promotes traditional and region-specific handcrafted sarees of India. The brand looks forward to supporting more and more women from rural India to become self-sufficient, by organising a platform to sell their products.
They have a wide collection of Chanderis, Gadhwals, Maheshwaris and other beautifully crafted works by the rural artisans of the country.
Shubha Mutneja, Hathkargha
Hathkargha means Handloom.
Shubha is a law graduate and later studied textile merchandising at NIFT. She established her brand Hathkargha in the year 2015, and sells saris, unstitched fabric, and silver jewellery.
Her clientele hails from the states of Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Bengaluru and a few from Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai and the US.
Sugandha Kedia, DusalaKashmir
With 13.5k followers on their insta handle, this brand boasts of its finest and rare Pashmina collection, even as they are priced slightly on the higher side, segueing into the designer market.
Founded by Sugandha Kedia, a journalist/anchor turned fashion designer, she is on a mission to revive the lost Kashmiri craft. Sugandha wishes to serve the national and international markets with her Kashmiri fabric collection.
The attractive collection of shawls, mufflers and woollen apparels from DusalaKashmir will persuade any customer to go ahead and click that Buy Now button.
Be it from the state of Banaras or Manipur, Indian handloom products have a special place in the hearts of all Indians. They are irreplaceable and a complete trendsetter in the field of fashion.
These women who promote handloom on insta are doing an amazing job of supporting the weavers, artisans and craftsmen by helping them showcase their talent in the national and international markets. The products which they bring to us as customers are at decent and at mostly affordable prices, and at the same time the craftsmen behind these masterpieces also get a fair share of their work.
Being Indian citizens, let us all support them by making the correct choices while we go fabric shopping.
Thank you to freelancer Smriti Lamech too, for her valuable inputs for this piece.
Images source: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
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I run an online handloom saree story since 2015. We handpick our sarees and also have some signature sarees that are based on handlooms. The sarees are made from superior quality material and come directly from the master skilled weavers.
You can check out their Facebook page right here.