Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the weaving and spinning community which is the second largest employer in the country, after farming, has been heavily hit. As per Fourth Govt. of India Handloom census 2019-2020, currently there are at least about 25.3 lakh weaver households (more than 73% being women). This number is likely to be about 40 lakhs, if we include the other artisans who are directly or indirectly employed in the Cotton Value Chain, like spinners, tailors, tie & dye artisans etc. Although these artisans were heavily hit and they struggled, they never ceased their activities. This has led to massive amounts of stockpiling and the impending monsoons add a sense of urgency to liquidate these stocks. Added to the above, the fact that the customer walk-ins have dwindled to almost zero, has compounded their plight.
The beauty of handspun, handwoven textiles is in the texture and inherent inequality. It is like each piece is almost customized.
As the first steps to mitigate the hardship of these artisans, we formed India HandMade Collective, to unify and bring all these artisans onto a common platform. By doing this we are able to introduce products that are genuine Handloom, from different parts of the country to the conscious customer. We also intend to educate the consumer about our rich heritage of handlooms and anything handcrafted. Currently, we represent a few set of member organisations, working with around 2500 rural artisans showcasing their products and we hope that with active patronage, these numbers can be increased multifold.
Our aim of this initiative is to help encourage the indigenous weavers, spinners and ethical small textile producers to continue their work in this space and make their ends meet sustainably, by giving their business a boost through this common platform. To expand the market for handmade clothing and creating awareness amongst consumers about the situation of the grassroot stakeholders. We are looking to contribute in some way to bring balance to our natural ecosystem that maintains the quality of life in a sustainable and holistic way through good clothing habits with minimum creation of wastage.
IHMC currently conducts Exhibitions (Please look at Events) at various centers for its group of representing organizations at various places across India. The link to the pages of each of the organizations is also provided for our visitors to purchase the products.
It should matter to us how we impact the world in which we live, especially post the pandemic. Clothes that are hand made are being brought to customers without middlemen or aggregators but through a “By-Them-For-Them” market place. The end products could be Khaddar/Khadi, just handloom or could be made from organic cotton - hand spun, hand woven and coloured with natural dyes or a combination of the above (Please look at Ethosquadrant)
The proceeds from such small-scale, locally made Products sale will directly benefit farmers, weavers and spinners, the primary producers of our value chain (50 to 70% or more in some cases, on any product, goes to the primary producers). Through this small step in the right direction, we hope to have a positive impact on the effects of climate change as Khaddar (Khadi) is free from the use of fossil fuels and energy, which makes it truly the sustainable fabric of the present and future.