NIFT training SHG members for making fashion garments

HYDERABAD Nov. 7. It is believed that fashion is generally the prerogative of the rich and the well-heeled, but certainly not for Self Help Groups (SHGs) of women from East Godavari district.

However, in a departure from convention, 1,000 women from SHGs hailing from 52 mandals in East Godavari district are undergoing training in centres set up by the NIFT, Hyderabad, in association with the DRDA in every mandal, as part of a pilot project set up to display their fashion garments for the first time on Monday here as part of NIFT's Fashion Spectrum 2K2.

The NIFT Director, N.V.R.Nathan, disclosed that Big Bazaar had already come forward to market these garments at all its outlets and so had Apco. The readymade garments made from basic fabric sourced from weavers in Sircilla and made fashionable with the inputs given by the trainers as surface ornamentation, designs, colour patterns, would not exceed the price tag of Rs. 200.

But before the products hit the retail outlets, NIFT wants to systematise the procedure in a planned and professional manner. The garments from East Godavari would be given a label that would be registered and five brand names for men's wear, women's wear, ethnic, children and casual wear under the same label to give them an unique identity and enhance their marketing opportunities.

Mr. Nathan said that 52 trainers, who had done their one-year programme with the NIFT, were sent to each of the 52 centres after a three-month intensive programme on how to train the trainers. They in turn had been imparting a three-month training programme that was divided into different modules to teach skills as basic embroidery, tie and dye, batik, block printing and sewing. Each centre has about 15 to 20 members. Some of them were already trained at the Technology Training Development Centres located at Kakinada, Samalkot and Rajahmundry using regular sewing machines but were confined to stitching basic wear like petticoats that did not have commercial value.

Each of the group was given a `juki' , a fully automated sewing machine, to work on. NIFT officials who had been closely monitoring the progress of training groups said the women who were not educated beyond 7th class displayed an acumen that was beyond their expectations. Their spirit and involvement in the work had already gained recognition when they had delivered an order of 5,000 bags ordered for a conference of VSS groups in two days flat. One centre which specialised in men's wear at Thoredu near Rajahmundry impressed the Chief Minister by stitching him a shirt in 30 minutes. The district Collector agreed to sanction a generator to each centre for uninterrupted work.

The training would end on Dec.10 and a common facility centre would be set up and arrangements made for tie-ups with local banks to buy machines for mass production and retail outlets and Government departments for supply, he said. There is also a proposal to stitch readymade garments for Apco from the material procured by it from weavers. Each woman was expected to earn an income of Rs.1,500 to 2,000 which should touch Rs.3,000 by the end of the first year depending on their output. Wholesale buyers from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore were coming to see the garments fashioned by these women at the fashion spectrum.

The pilot project would be implemented next in Anantapur, Chittoor, Mahbubnagar, and Nalgonda as it would not only generate work for the handloom sector but promote self-employment and entrepreneurship among SHGs, Mr. Nathan said.

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