Ministry of Textiles has undertaken many new initiatives to promote Handlooms in a big way. One of these is to set up 10 more Handloom Design Resource Centres with the objective to build and create design-oriented excellence in the Handloom Sector and to facilitate weavers, exporters, manufacturers and designers access design repositories for sample/product improvisation and development.
The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) is in the process of setting up 10 more Design Resource Centres (DRCs) at Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs) of Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kannur, Indore, Nagpur, Meerut, Bhagalpur and Panipat.
Ministry of textiles has roped in NIFT keeping in view the fact that it is an in-house organization of Ministry of Textiles, of which Handloom also is a part, and also the expertise of NIFT in fashion and design trends which can be utilized by Handloom Sector for greater market linkage.
DRCs are being established by NIFT in all WSCs in a phased manner, wherein vast inventory of designs and resources will be available for use by exporters, Manufacturers, Designers, Weavers and other stake holders.
DRCs have been set up and inaugurated in WSCs of Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Guwahati, Jaipur and Varanasi. The eighth DRC at Kancheepuram was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Minister of Textiles on National Handloom Day, August 07 2021.
Initially, Handloom Design Centres at Mumbai, Chennai and Varanasi were set up in 1956. Activities of these Design Centres later expanded to cover other aspects of handloom textiles, which were then Re-designated as the Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs).
Over a period of time each of the Weavers’ Service Centres accumulated a large number of handloom designs and samples. Meanwhile efforts were made to engage designers of repute and attach them to individual weaver clusters to contribute towards design innovation, training and improve marketability of the handloom products. MoUs were signed with several designers.
But the effort met with limited success and after some time fully lost impetus. This led to the concept of having an inhouse design repository where both contributors and beneficiaries can have a common place to share designs, even though in an indirect fashion. NIFT was entrusted with the responsibility of setting up DRCs in all the WSCs in a phased manner.
Set up in 1986, NIFT is the pioneering institute of fashion education in the country and has been in the frontline of providing professional human resource to the textile and apparel industry. Over the years NIFT, with its 17 campuses in different parts of the country has been working as a knowledge service provider in the area of design development and positioning of handlooms and handicrafts.