National Handloom Day Fashion

Earthica to celebrate National Handloom Day with eight artisans

KVS Sudhamshu and Priyanka Kondaveeti   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Social entrepreneur Priyanka Kondaveeti and her brother KVS Sudhamshu, a marketing specialist, invited eight artisans from different parts of the country to celebrate National Handloom Day, on August 7.

The brother-sister duo is excited about having the master craftsmen at their store — Earthica. “We have invited the artisans so that they can tell their story to our visitors. We want buyers to understand handloom and why we need to support weavers. A craft is best explained by an artisan or master craftsmen who can explain the technique and labour that goes into the unique handloom profile of our country. Artisans representing various regions will be here to talk about their work. A few NGOs will also highlight the importance of sustainable fashion,” says Priyanka.

An artisan at work

An artisan at work   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

At Earthica in Banjara Hills, a riot of colours and prints welcome you. One could easily dub it as another Indian store retailing garments, furnishings, fabrics and handmade ethnic products from rural India.

Priyanka begs to differ: “We do not deal with suppliers for our products and collection, every piece in the store has been commissioned by us. We also don’t work on a credit basis with the artisans to help them meet their financial needs. It took me six years to put this store in place as I was looking at working directly with craftsmen and weavers,” she says. They are assisted by their mother Manjula Reddy, an organic farmer and textile enthusiast.

They have so far worked with artisans and NGOs from the clusters of Pochampally in Telangana, Mangalagiri in Andhra Pradesh, Kutch in Gujarat, Jamdani and Kantha clusters of West Bengal, block printers in Jaipur and Kota in Rajasthan and the Sandur Lambani embroidery group in Karnataka. Everything at the store, from dresses to accessories, has an Indo-western appeal.

Unsung heroes

    What prompted Priyanka and Sudhamshu to think on the lines of sustainable fashion store is their experiences of travelling to the hinterlands to discover craft forms and work with artisans to co-create unique pieces of handcrafted items. “We are a social enterprise that is committed to working towards bringing a positive change in both the supply and demand sides of the ‘handcrafted’ market,” explains Sudhamshu.

    They aim to make the store a transparent place where artisans are happy with what they make both in terms of the product and wages, handcrafted genuine products. “As a social enterprise, we are also committed to documenting crafts and sharing this knowledge not only with our customers but also with a wider interested audience. Every craft cluster we visit, we start by studying the craft form and share the same through interesting bits of information,” adds Priyanka.

    She, however, does have concerns about the term ‘sustainable fashion’, “I realised when we say sustainable fashion we are not doing justice to it. If the products are 100% organic what about the carbon footprint? I think instead of putting the entire burden on weavers, we as buyers should work on making it an attractive prospect for them, as well as for ourselves.”

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    Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 7:24:50 AM |

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