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Savehandloom.org is a nonprofit community group to revive, restore, and restructure the handloom industry in India. An open forum of individuals with a deep sense of pride in the handmade working towards preserving our arts and crafts. We stand with the Weavers & Artisans across India for Protecting their age-old Handmade Crafts!
We stand for supporting the right and wellbeing of the handloom sector in every possible way. We work hand in hand to identify areas that need attention, bring necessary inputs to nurture and revive the handloom sector. Also make the Handmade in India tag a luxury product, place it in global markets, and upscale the value chain.
Also our main motto is Promoting Sustainability for a Better World !
History of Indian Textiles
For a century during 1680-1780, Indian cloth was the most sought-after fabric in Europe, surging past even spices as the biggest export commodity. The English and Dutch imported a million pieces of cloth a year, and the French about 300,000.
Before the British Raj, weavers as a community commanded considerable bargaining power with merchants. The East India Company passed laws that forbade weavers from buying raw material and enforced selling finished products only to the Company. The Indian weaving industry was systematically dismantled. In 1834, the Governor General reported: “The bones of hand-weavers are bleaching the plains of India.”
The value of textile exports from India fell by 98% between 1800 and 1860 and the value of textile Imports increased by 6300% in the same period.
The Indian Textile Industry Today
Textiles are the biggest employment generator in India after agriculture. While this is reflected in the GDP and export figures, it has not effectively led to bettering the lives of the farmers, the hand spinners and handloom weavers.
India is home to over 136 unique weaves and scores of hand-dyeing and printing techniques. Of these, around 55 weaves are on the verge of extinction. Although India has a large share in world trade of cotton yarn, its trade in garments is only 4% of the world’s total. Handloom contributes nearly 15% of cloth production in the country, and India accounts for 95% of the world’s hand-woven fabrics.
Although the share of handloom in textile production is small in terms of percentage and revenue at present, it provides employment to 4.4 million weaver families including women in rural areas. If the handmade textile market is expanded globally and nationally, it has the capacity to provide employment to millions more and become an active participant in the $900 billion global textile/garment industry.
Save handloom is a movement to bring awareness globally and in India about the need to shift to natural fibres as well.
India is home to more than 136 unique weaves, mostly in the form of sarees. Traditionally woven in cotton and silk, sarees are the backbone of the Indian Handloom sector that is rapidly being replaced by machines and synthetic fibres.
The current generation of skilled weavers could be the last ones engaged in the handloom sector with the younger generation having moved on to newer industries. The techniques of cultivating organic cotton, preparatory processes for weaving, the intricacy of weaving styles, use of natural dyes in dyeing fabric and printing techniques are all inspired by culture and region. This art form needs to be preserved so that the traditional knowledge is not lost. Traditionally, these sustainable methods have created their own ecosystems for empowerment of local communities, especially women.
Global Consumption of synthetic fibre clothing is a huge concern today, impacting not only the environment but also people’s health.
Also, Save handloom will create a platform for connecting weaver products directly to the market through our ecommerce website Handlooom.com. It will also connect resources in design, natural dye interventions, market access, technical support and skill development.
History of Indian Handloom
We are associated with a number of handloom weaving societies across India and also source products from Master Weavers and Self Help Groups exclusively made for us. We are helping the weavers & artisans across India to become micro-entrepreneurs.