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BharatSthali Handloom Fabrics: Bringing Handlooms Back To Mainstream


06/13/2019

Indian Villages and BharatSthali Handloom fabrics: A befitting reply to fast fashion and ecological damages

This article is a 300-seconds read and by the time, you finish reading it, the equivalent of 300-garbage textile trucks would be burnt or pushed into a landfill- to lie there for maybe an eternity.    

Have you ever wondered where your clothes or shoes go once you have discarded them? If they aren’t recycled or used up by a charity, they end up in landfills. Lying there, waiting endlessly to be degenerated and find a way to redemption. And if it is a synthetic man-made fibre like polyester (looks like pure silk fabric) –you won’t see its decomposition in this lifetime.

Deadly Fashion

The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry globally.  It produces 20 per cent of wastewater and 10 per cent of carbon emission on a global level. To give you some perspective, this is more than the carbon emission of all International flights combined and maritime shipping. And your annual clothing consumption- if you are like a global average consumer and wear an outfit for less than a year- can roughly translate to the water required to fill more than 1,000 bathtubs and carbon emission generated from driving a car for over 6,000 miles.  And as if this was not enough, textile dyeing is the second largest water pollutant.

Even if fast fashion is being pushed as a convenient choice for today’s chaotic schedule, but is it, really? Synthetic fibres like polyester, rayon and viscose are treated with over 2,000 chemicals to give fabrics their much-coveted “USPs” such as wrinkle-free, non-iron and stain-repellant. Besides, polyester and other synthetic fabrics don’t absorb sweat, resulting in skin issues and breakouts. A pair of denim, which is a wardrobe staple and classic choice for all year round, requires around 2,000 gallons of water.

The Love of Handloom

Are fashion trends worth risking the survival of the human race, especially when we have an answer readily available in our villages? Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The soul of India resides in villages.” And maybe he was right because, with our villages and their history of boastful indigenous handloom fabrics, we can counter this epidemic and pave the way for the world.

While sustainable fashion is in the nascent stage for A-list fashion brands, our ideology has never been the take-make-waste. The throwaway and cradle-to-grave concept was never our style. India has the legacy of staying connected to its roots. We don’t seek out Earth as a planet but as a Mother. So we produce pure natural silk fabric.

Our villages might be nondescript, a coloured yet flat landscape, but each one of them is an ecosystem that all of us needs to adapt if we want our kids to grow in a healthier and cleaner India. The harmony with technology might be missing but the rhythmic coordination of their hand and feet on the loom is hard to miss.  Using natural dyes obtained from the trees, pomegranate, indigo, henna, turmeric and mud, they create beautiful patterns that are inspired by the lifelong traditions. This labour-intensive and intricate process brings you the sweet fruit that stands out for its beauty and exclusivity. Each handloom bears the testimony to the magic of human touch that brings life to your outfit and your occasions!

India has villages dedicated to the silk fabric weaving community and the villages being named after the weaves. Nalgonda, Bhujodi, Pollachi, Madhuban, Banaras, Kanchipuram and Ajrakhpur- these are a few tiny dots on the map that are making a global impact and struggling to stay relevant for the modern world while facing debts, distress and decline in demand.

What you can do?

It is time to negate the impact of fashion on the environment. Choose handloom and encourage others to wear it! The skin will thank you and your carbon footprints will reduce considerably!



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