IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section

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How will business dynamics change post lockdown?

Social media critical in regeneration of businesses
India is the largest contributor of handloom fabrics in the world, with over 95 per cent of the world’s handwoven fabric coming from here.  With more than 40 lakh people directly and indirectly involved in production, the handloom industry is the second-largest employment provider for the rural population in India after agriculture. Set to take a major hit following the Covid19-triggered lockdown, Fibre2Fashion spoke to crafts designers to find out how they are dealing with the crisis.

 

Things are not going to remain the same. But if one works on things which never go out of fashion and are constantly challenging us, it’s going to be positive. I am very hopeful. My worry is about the low-skilled people who might not have a great market; we may create something to encourage them.

As the lockdown is lifted and life comes back to normal, it won’t be an immediate transformation but I’m sure as demand rises my loyal clients will find their way back home. As a matter of fact, certain clients—both old and a few new—are in regular touch with me. So, that shouldn’t be a problem. What will be a problem are the tailors and labourers. Will they return? That’s a million-dollar question. I am already working on different variants in terms of time saving techniques, designs and colourways; but weaving and production will not be in high volume because the artisans are a moody lot. To get them back on the loom will be tricky because some may even find other avenues to work to survive. Also, demand may not be so high due to the economic recession, which is a global phenomenon.

Going forward, it will take me almost a year to get back on my feet. Mine is a small production house—a niche market, and such markets suffer the most. The parallel powerloom industry that churns out fake ‘handlooms’ by the dozen will make a quicker recovery.

I have a loyal band of discerning and caring clients who I’m sure will continue to patronise handloom textiles and weaves once things look up. Social media should play an important part in the regeneration of businesses. Hopefully, my new project will create a resurgence of interest in India’s traditional crafts. As the weaving will take up to six months, weavers will have a secured livelihood through this humanitarian crisis, which is a personal relief to me as I have worked with them for years and they are like family to me.

Sustainability will be big as people are financially and emotionally exhausted and will spend on timeless luxury and indulge in mindful buying. So, crafts and weaves will be important as people are aware that they need to support the local economy. The situation might be tricky because the period of lockdown is uncertain, and many craftsmen might stumble. I will continue to create restrained, timeless clothes which are contemporary with an Indian soul.

We are aware that orders may slow down; we may explore the possibility of developing capsule collections from the stock to ensure a steady cashflow. We will look at new developments as our garment stock moves and enough revenue is generated. As an emerging label, we look forward to strengthening our business model and ensuring that all our weavers get continuous work.

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Published on: 13/05/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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