Handloom textiles and crafts have always been imperative to India’s cultural heritage and economy, after all, there’s nowhere else you can find such sheer diversity of indigenous crafts than in India. But the ongoing Coronavirus crisis has hit the fashion hard, just like the sudden disruption of businesses and industries across the spectrum. And amongst those severely affected are the artisans and craft communities who really truly form the backbone of our fashion industry. Therefore, now more than ever, it’s essential to celebrate and support the hands that weave magic.
And one such initiative that contributes to the welfare of craft communities is TANT – a saree and textile revival project by Pranay Baidya to shed the spotlight on West Bengal’s handlooms. Under this homegrown initiative, he hosts regular workshops with the weaving communities of the Santipur, Phulia, Nadia, and Dhanikhali districts of West Bengal (currently via video calls) offering creative direction and textile design expertise in developing an ongoing collection of modern-day Tant (refers to the handlooms in West Bengal) sarees and textiles. Though a quintessential six-yard Tant saree is woven using fine cotton yarn with a variety of floral, paisley, half-moon, and other artistic motifs, Pranay Baidya is working on several improvisations of mercerized cotton and silk interweaves to impart lustrous finish and nimble drape to sarees and textiles.
To propel his idea of reviving endangered weaves and communities further, the collection will be cataloged at his Kolkata atelier with the sarees starting from Rs. 1000 and textiles from Rs. 250. They will retail through leading multi-designer stores across the country and several e-commerce portals that sell clothes worldwide, along with a nationwide calendar of experiential pop-ups. But most importantly, all the funds will go back directly to the weavers.
Well, to be honest, for the fashion to have a widespread impact and sustain artisanal livelihoods, its absolutely necessary for brands and consumer alike to support and promote crafts and weaves with an unclouded dedication towards the artisans. You know, be vocal for local!
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