Rs. 4-cr. NIFT plan to give boost to weavers' products

HYDERABAD MAY 9. The Hyderabad branch of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) has taken up the task of making the State weavers' products commercially viable by bringing them to the top fashion outlets like Life Style, Shoppers' Stop and Pantaloons.

The NIFT has signed a Rs. 4-crore design development project with the State Department of Handlooms under which it would provide commercially viable designs to 332 selected Cooperative Handloom Societies.

So far, it had developed 3,000 designs based on fashion and colour forecast and these designs will be manufactured by the weavers after approval from the fashion outlets based on their customers' needs and commercial aspects.

``The efforts is to make the weavers manufacture as per the needs of the market rather than dumping their own designs into the market,'' says, N.V.R. Nathan, Director, NIFT, Hyderabad. However, he made it clear that the weavers do not have to upgrade their machinery and they can be manufactured on the existing looms.

He said the NIFT had already completed a survey of weavers and their capabilities deploying 185 students and staff.

These students split into 12 groups have covered 352 Handloom Cooperative Societies and 3,800 weavers in the State.

The identified weavers have been trained in the new designs and the commercial manufacturing would be done based on the orders from the outlets.

So far, NIFT had entered into a tie-up three outlets - Pantaloons, Shopper's Stop and Life Style while talks were on with Bombay Stores which has 12 outlets nation wide.

This project is linked to the Rs. 40 crore APCO revival project evolved by the NIFT involving the both the Central and the State Governments which would bear the cost equally.

To be implemented from this financial year, the revival project envisages improving the financial condition of APCO and also extend its expertise to the handloom weavers in the State.

Mr. Nathan said with the implementation of the revival package the annual sales of APCO were likely to go up to Rs. 70 crores this year and Rs. 100 crores in the next financial year. APCO sales, incidentally dipped to Rs. 20 crores from Rs. 170 crores in 1995.

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