“The handloom industry in the state plays an important role in improving the economic conditions of the rural sector by employing about 2.44 lakh weaver households. Our focus would be to ensure sustainability and longevity for artisans at the grassroots to create an ethical eco-system for them. These weavers can offer limitless potential as resources for innovation to designers, but they have to be given the dignity and recognition that they deserve. We are planning to adopt artisans and work with them to create a sustainable model. What’s happening is that most of the weavers and artisans aren’t aware of the market demands. So we have to educate and make them ready to create products that are in line with the current market demand through design intervention workshops. The council plans to build strong and self-sustained clusters of the weavers. It has identified various clusters across Tamil Nadu -- each cluster would be adopted and trained by them in creating a strong, transparent supply-chain process and fair-trade practices to benefit the weaver community,” says Thasneem Masood, President of WICCI Handlooms, Tamil Nadu Council.
To create awareness about the weaver community and to develop the pride of handloom among people, the council is also starting the #handtheloom campaign.
“It is a reference to handholding the handloom community and the passing of these unique techniques and pieces of garment to the next generation. The campaign focuses both on the maker and the consumer through bringing the emotions that people especially women associate with their handloom garment, like an heirloom saree passed on to a woman by her mother. The campaign will be spread across three months and will have multiple micro-campaigns and awareness programs under this,” she explains about the immediate plan of the council.