H for Handloom - Part 2

H for Handloom - Part 2

In the last article, we promised we will talk about some of the best places for you to buy authentic Indian handloom products.

Handloom fabrics have a charm of their own! One needs to experience it for themselves. It's also an investment, since handlooms are heritage pieces of art that can be passed down to the next generation.

Take a look at a few places from where you could pick up some authentic, absolutely gorgeous handloom fabric:

Co-optex - Tamil Nadu Handloom Weavers Cooperative society, or popularly known as ‘Co-optex’, is one place where we can pick up some rich Tamil Nadu handloom products like Kancheepuram silk, Salem silk, Madurai tie-dye and more.

Biswa Bangla - The government of West Bengal has promoted Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation (BBMC) to support the livelihoods of handloom weavers. One can purchase beautiful Jamdani, Tangail, Bengal Muslin, Baluchari and linen saris from here.

Go Coop - A global online marketplace for handlooms and handicrafts. You will get to buy fabrics from across the country. Also, check out their special edition called the Good Loom.

Saudamini Handloom - a store based out of Pune, which has looms in their stores. You can also shop from them online. They weave and sell authentic Paithanis.

Gopinath Silk and Sarees (Tamil Nadu) - He is a weaver who we have personally interacted with and sells wedding silk sarees. He can be reached at +91 9894665297.

Prem Koli is another weaver from Chanderi who we have personally purchased from and he can be reached at +91 7974183726.

Amounee is an online platform that works with artisans. One can buy sarees and fabrics from a bunch of states in India from here. A special mention must be made for their range of Tangalia weaves and Ashawali brocade sarees which are rare to come across.

Another noteworthy brand for pure Benarasi sarees is TILFI; they also do some beautiful lehenga options in handwoven brocade.

Boyanika is the Odisha state handloom weavers co-operative society. You must look for their Bomkai sarees and Sambalpuri ikats.

Antaran Artisan Connect - A key intervention of the Tata Trust's craft-based livelihood programme. We can literally make a purchase directly from the artisan since the number of the artisan is listed with the product. They work with unique craft clusters such as the following:

  • Nagaland, which is popular for making products on the loin loom

  • Venkatagiri, a cluster that does jamdani weaving in brocade

  • Kamrup, which works with eri silk (Ahimsa Silk)

  • Nalbari, which works with muga silk

  • Maniabandha, which does single weft ikat

  • Gopalpur, which works with tussar silk

Another weaver family who we have met along our journey is Chenetha Ikats. You can buy Pochampally sarees directly from this entrepreneurial weaver family. They can be reached at +91 7032435565.

Patan Patola is a very intricate craft, and Rahul Vinayak Salvi's family has been preserving the tradition for 900 years. Just run an internet search and there is enough information as to how to purchase from them.

India literally has at least one weave from each state and the respective state governments have their state emporiums promoting the crafts of their state. These state emporiums are a good place to purchase and the price is reasonable.

Another thing you must look out for is artisan sales that come to town. They often come to the city with subsidies given by the government and are a good place to make handloom purchases.

Also, handloom fabrics majorly are created by natural materials like cotton, silk and wool. These natural fabrics allow our skin to breathe and are great for the Indian climate. The clothes and products we invest in, can make a difference to the people around us, the environment and to the country’s growth. By simply investing in handlooms and hand made we can make our small contribution towards these objectives.

And as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, it is not only important for us to buy local, but be vocal about local! If and when you flaunt in any of these handlooms, do create some awareness about it. Read up a bit about the artisans and the art. And share if possible, within your networks. Because really, anyone can be #HappyInHandloom.

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Chinmaya Udghosh