We are staring at livelihood crisis for weavers
The handloom sector consisting of 4.33 million weavers has been on a downslide for a while and the pandemic has only worsened matters. The big question now is - can it survive the pandemic? Fashion designers from the industry discuss the challenges
More than the lockdown, it is the shutdown of all export channels which is worrisome. Whether or not Gudi Mudi will be able to function with the earlier level of self-reliance depends on two factors: resumption of exports and the related logistic services and the recovery of the global economy, more importantly the global sustainable fashion industry, to restore demand for handloom textiles to earlier levels. So, unless Gudi Mudi Khadi is able to find alternative marketing avenues, especially boosting domestic sales, it will be difficult for it to sustain the livelihoods of 245 artisans throughout the year.
Our production has come to a standstill. We stopped operations a week before the lockdown was officially announced, as the circumstances that arose from covid-19 already had an effect. We are currently unable to make or cater to the timelines planned, not just for our retail customers but also towards our wholesale orders. We have fabrics that were dispatched to us prior to the lockdown that have been withheld by the courier services as well as garments that were out on delivery in the week before the lockdown officially went under way.
The handloom and handicraft sectors have been hardest hit. With the lockdown, the weaving and crafts communities have been left with looming uncertainties and anxieties. The abrupt halt to their economic activities has threatened their livelihoods.
The pandemic will continue to affect us for some time from every angle possible. As everything is shut, business and cashflow as well as liquidity are at an all-time low. Revenues are nil, but not the expenses. I have a team of 26 people in Ahmedabad and at our company-owned stores in Mumbai and Delhi. Almost the same number of artisans and weavers in various clusters rely on us directly or indirectly. To support them is the utmost priority, but the big question is for how long I can go on without revenues.
Published on: 15/07/2020
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.