Indian handloom industry’s struggle to go green and how BharatSthali is supporting it

Before you toss a ‘purani jeans’ because a brand or influencer told you so– let’s look at how you are adding to the already humongous problem that the fashion industry faces. The fashion industry has been hiding in plain sight. It is responsible for more carbon emissions than maritime shipping and international flights combined.

We have been pointing fingers at celebrities for taking a half-hour private jet trip but we never blame the fashion culture they perpetuate. The never-repeating-the-outfits, being the face of the brands that are known for fast fashion and emphasizing ‘ it is cheap, and it is better to have them as many’- this is where the buck should stop.

Also Read | Gen Z is demanding ethical, environmentally friendly fashion brands; Why and how?

However, as awareness is increasing and conversations are stirring around sustainability and environmental and social costs of fashion, fast fashion brands are forced to take notice. It is another story that H&M facesa class-action lawsuit over greenwashing and sustainability remains merely lip service for major players in the industry.

Indian handlooms, on the other hand, have been conscious and woke– environmentally and socially since one can remember. When was the last time you saw your mother or elder women in the house throw sarees- because they were out of trend? Sarees have always been around and aptly never sorry. They are passed on for generations and stay in the family- loved, lived in and cared for. Made by artisans using natural fibres and material, Indian textiles and drapes don’t pollute a water body or end up in a landfill.

And it is not that the Indian handloom industry had it easy and all sorted out. The mill-made products of the West trump the handloom art that is labour intensive, done in remote villages and creates employment. The pandemic washed out the livelihoods of many artisans. The artisans struggle with the abundance of counterfeit materials and middlemen. But thanks to the Government of India’s #VocalforLocal campaign and platforms like Bharatsthali, Indian sarees and handloom have got a new lease of life. These e-retailers have created a thriving ecosystem for the Indian cottage industry. Spokesperson at Bharatsthali said that they aren’t just bringing Indian textiles to the doorsteps all over the world, they are also creating the much-needed reform to the industry it needs to thrive in the world of fashion where consumers are looking for quick easy to maintain fashion at cheap rates.

Also Read | The myth of sustainable fashion

“We have partnered with artisans and craftspeople from all over India without any middle channel. We deal directly with them and give them a platform to showcase their products and get a price that they deserve – leading to the holistic growth of the sector and human resources alike,” he said.

Besides, contributing to the economy, e-retailer platforms bring aboard flexibility in production, adaptability, innovation, social welfare measures and marketing to the traditional handloom sector. Owing to them, Indian handloom and textile shave created a niche and are in high demand.


About the author


Leave a Comment