India is planning to open handloom stores abroad and is in the process of pooling artisans to work on contemporary and export—oriented designs, a top government official said.
“As far as the exports market is concerned, we are trying to explore new markets and look for some of the franchise model over there...also to open our own stores and we are working on that. It will take some time before we can put it into operation,” Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles, Dinesh Kumar told PTI.
Handicrafts and Handloom Exports Corporation of India as well as Handloom Export Promotion Council are working in that direction, he said.
“So, we are trying to put designers into clusters so as to make different kinds of designs which are contemporary and acceptable in the export market. Things are taking place. But growth rate... I think over a period of time we should see some upswing,” Kumar said.
Referring to the Indian market, he said though the number of looms has declined over the years, the amount of cloth that has been weaved has increased.
“There is a reduction in domestic looms much more than commercial looms. People are now spending more number of days per annum on the loom and it is getting slightly commercialised. Value addition is taking place and perhaps it is moving in the direction where it can become sustainable and we should be able to see that the number stays and then it takes off from there,” he added.
The official also stressed the need for handloom sector to go in for more and more diversified products and contemporary designs with focus on colour consciousness.
“There is lot of demand in the domestic market as well as in the export market provided we are able to provide right kind of design and right kind of fashion,” Kumar said.
He added: “We are trying to highlight that handloom is eco—friendly...as well as skin—friendly. It also takes care of our tradition, culture and heritage.”