Supporting Handloom Textiles
The mass global production of textiles allowed most countries exceptional convenience. We are hooked on to buying cheap clothes, constantly. This leaves no scope for indigenous textile innovation as it cannot compete with fast fashion garments in terms of speed of production or price. However, we are slowly but surely coming to understand that the convenience of fast fashion comes at a big cost, especially for the factory workers & the environment. It is becoming increasingly evident that mass production units pose serious threats to the environment. Local textile sectors such as handloom, are facing a series of problems today ranging from unorganised nature of their business to threat from such cheap imports. These problems have multiplied in the recent times and have thus led to closure of many handloom units resulting in unemployment. The current global systems in the textile industry aren’t going to be sustainable in the long run.
So how can we as individuals, as nations & as global citizens, help lift the burden that all the negative effects of mass production has brought?
Local textile production such as handloom textiles, should be encouraged.
We can begin by changing our mind-set about how we buy and by supporting local crafts, weavers and artisans who source as well as produce locally and ethically. This would start an upward spiral that might have a huge positive impact on the global textile industry.
Handloom sectors are a source of livelihood for lakhs of weavers and artisans in India. Handlooms have been recognised by the unique creativity and skill of the weavers, their comprehension of colour, texture and function, their capacity for to rapidly adapt and produce small yardage in a variety of designs. The handloom industries are an environmentally friendly, energy saving form of artistry within the textile sector which makes this a sustainable practise. The relevance of the handloom sector in an agriculture based economy such as India is also huge because of its connection with crucial sectors like agriculture. It uses agricultural products as raw materials, providing a market for agricultural produce. So in an economy where most of the population relies on the agricultural sector for their livelihood, the significance of handloom is well understood. It also gives employment to a lot of women, playing a crucial role in women empowerment in the rural sectors.
Textile arts naturally reflect the cultures and customs of the ethnic groups in which they are created. Tradition and cultural practice is intrinsically intertwined in even the smallest details of production, such as the weaving techniques. This can provide us with unique and fascinating insights into how life is lived and what is important to the people in whose communities they are produced.
Supporting the production of local & handloom textiles is a way to preserve a sense of uniqueness & cultural identity, while generating employment and maintaining a sustainable and environment friendly practise.
We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up in the morning.
- Henry Ward Beecher