Is the Indian Handicrafts industry being revived?
Revised 02 Mar 2014
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Most people nowadays prefer to wear machine made clothes as their quality is superior and they are cheap. The trend started in India with the advent of the British who introduced machine made clothing here. The superior quality of machine made clothing and their cheapness caused Indian handicrafts to die out. During the British era itself, several thriving Indian handicrafts were wiped out due to lack of demand and sponsorship. Handcrafted materials are usually considered to be more expensive because a lot of labour and effort goes into them. Indian artisans are becoming unemployed because of steady decline of such crafts.
In such a scenario, a revival movement has started in the country for art and handicrafts.
Governmental efforts to sustain Indian crafts
The Indian government along with state governments are trying to revive the cottage industry that is rich in various states of India. Rajasthan is one of the states where the tie and dye bandhi print salwar kurtas and sarees are very popular. Other popular prints in India include Kalamkari, Batik etc. Batik is indigenous to the region of Bengal and the government is putting in a lot of effort to promote the craft. Every state has its own tourism development centre which sells goods that are produced by artisans of the state. The goods are priced fair and there are various incentives offered to buyers as well. The tourism development centres offer to buy back the goods sold buy it in any part of the country at fifty percent the selling price, even if the good is used. Moreover, if you are short of money, then they have the provisions of mailing you the goods to your residence if you can pay at least 40% of the selling price up front.
Fashion designers using Indian arts
These efforts by the Indian government have helped to keep the cottage industry in various states functioning. Moreover, Indian fashion designers are also trying their level best to incorporate Indian handicrafts. For example, the Bagalkot silk has been used by many designers in their creations. Bangladeshi designer Bibi Russell used the “gamcha” (a kind of cotton towel) in her creations which were showcased in Paris. The outfits started selling like hot cakes and the entire “gamcha” making industry of Bangladesh was saved from imminent doom.
Sales and Distribution
Handicrafts fairs and trade fairs are regularly organized. Agra and other tier II cities have space allotted called the Shilpgram where fairs are held regularly to boost the handicrafts industries. Artisans from all over the countries come to these places to sell their goods. Salwar Kameez, chikan work churidaars, cushion covers etc. in kitschy patterns and colours stand out and a lot of buyers pick up stuffs from here.
The government not only promotes village craft through sales and distribution but also supports artisans in the form of credits to continue their art. Sub-prime lending is carried out by the nationalized banks and microfinance companies. A lot of Self Help Groups or SHGs are signing up for these loans which provide them with the money to cover production costs.
A lot of websites also stock clothes which bear traditional Indian designs. You can buy them from here at an affordable rate.
Even though the handicrafts industry is in a better shape than it used to be in, much more improvement is needed to make it independent.
A popular fashion website that supplies Indian clothes and accessories to men, women and childrenfashionequation has a website at www.fashionequation.com
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