Homegrown brands and designers urge patrons to support local products to recharge the pandemic-affected fashion industry
Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought multiple industries to a standstill. Possibly, the worst affected are the small-scale artists and self-sustaining designers, who cannot restart work until things go back to whatever becomes the new normal. While the Government is yet to officially announce support for this segment, a volunteer-run non-profit NGO in Chennai, called the Crafts Council of India, has launched a digital campaign called “#HandmadeInIndia”. The message for this initiative urges everyone to, “Stand in solidarity with the skillful hands of millions of crafts-people that form the second largest workforce in India after agriculture. To support and respect the craft traditions of India which is essential in contributing to a sustainable and green future. (sic)”
The aim is to spread awareness about Indian handmade fashion. Joining the bandwagon are some of established names in the fashion and design industry, who’ve started promoting this ideology.
Read on about how they plan to add to it.
Hello, new world!
Employment-wise in India, textile is the second-largest business, the livelihood for many. The use of more eco-friendly products, organic fabrics and natural processes may become the strongest trends in the market. This will bring forward a chance for the industry to bring back a lot of processes that have been neglected. This is our Bella Ciao moment, when we will all get up and create a revolution in design, fabric, processes and our style of marketing and working.
Creative Director, Shanti Banaras
Sustainability in the fore
India is the only country in the world, which has maximum artisans involved in handmade fashion. Our aesthetics, interpretations and design language may vary, but our resources are the same. I believe post lockdown, consumption will change. For us, handmade will always have a strong presence in the fashion world.
Gautam Gupta, Designer
Benefitting from the past
We work closely with traditional artisans for all our products and projects in India. At a time when export and imports will become an issue, there is a bigger chance for all of us to rely on the ‘HandMadeInIndia’ philosophy. In the past, some designers have even used them to create contemporary products. I believe in the changing world, mass production will be a problem. I see an opportunity for the fashion and design industry to benefit from our age-old practices.
Sachin Gupta, Interior designer
Bring back slow fashion
The present lockdown is raising important questions: What is the purpose of fashion and does it add value? As India is a land of craftsmen and heritage skills passed down from generations, the time has come to work with only sustainable, ethical, conscious and slow fashion.
Anuradha Ramam, Designer
Support local brands
This campaign can be renamed as #buymadeinindia, so that people start supporting local brands and start-ups instead of spending on foreign goods. As a consumer, I will buy only made-in-India products, be it grocery, clothes or any other item. As a designer, I plan to introduce some changes in my work strategy — will be focusing on festive wear as people would now look for local brands to wear for special occasions.
Jenjum Gadi, Designer
We are facing a very challenging time in history. There will be a lot of changes in terms of buying and business patterns after this pandemic. I feel people will take a lot of time to deal with the situation and adapt to the new world. Despite a potential different situation after the lockdown, as a designer, I feel that together we can support local brands and overcome the current situation.
Ranna Gill, Designer
In the long run I think Indian fashion will move more towards being environment friendly and organic. I think even our population will become more sensitive towards supporting small businesses/brands. We have already planned our next two eco-friendly collections to be launched after the COVID-19 lockdown ends.
Aakansha Agrawal, Designer