Traditional hand weavers and textile printers, engaged in churning out a wealth of fabrics ranging from khadi to chanderi to kalamkari among others that take the shape of saris, dupattas and other garments, are now mulling marketing themselves as stand alone brands.
At Kairi 2016, a 3-day exhibition here scores of pan-India traditional hand weavers and printers have brought the best of their products not only to sell but to market themselves as brands.
52-year-old Mohamed Yasim, who is taking forward the fourth-generation of traditional prints created from soil, also got his son Naushad, a MBA degree holder involved to expand his business with fresh ideas and techniques. He had with him his classic ‘Prints from Jaipur’ for Kairi. Yasim said,
We are in business with Fabindia for past 27 years, but now is the time when we start marketing ourselves as a brand. I asked my son to join our traditional business so that he could help in creating a brand name of our own. We will name it Dabu Prints.
They have tied up with National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) to create a flavour of Dabu or mud-resist handblock printing predominant in Rajasthan, among future generation designers.
Among other artists is Amrita Chaudhary, a tough woman who started exploring Bandhis and Shibori craft after she decided to stand-up against the domestic abuse she faced.
“I am from a small village in Rajasthan where despite education domestic abuse is very common. I am a graduate and I decided to step out of it to create a life for myself. This is where I started with this craft,” says Amrita who began her business with five women in 2011.
From a turnover of Rs 22,000 in 2013 to over Rs 3 lakh in just one day this year, Amrita’s business employs over 400 women now.
When I started I didn’t know the difference between peach and pink, I have learnt it over the years. We make huge profits here, but what if we start using technology for creating our own website and catalogues, we will be able to sell our product at much cheaper rate than we do while in collaboration with bigger brands. And considering the exposure artists get at exhibitions, a lot of areas can be explored.
The exhibition has brought together wide range of tie and dye, khadi, ajrakh, bagru and dabu prints, laheriya, ikats and weaves in sarees, dupattas and fabrics. With a foot-fall of around 300 people on the first day, Kamayani Jalan, Treasurer of organiser Delhi Crafts Council, says that she is happy that artists from remotest areas are getting an opportunity to have an one-to-one interaction with their buyers.