Orissa ropes in top designers to revive handloom sector

Bhubanewswar: Top fashion designers have been roped in by the Orissa government to revive the state“s handloom sector which is facing a crisis.

Fashion designers like Sabyasachi Mukjerjee and Rajesh Pratap Singh have been invited by the state government to work on a project with Orissa State Handloom Weavers“ Cooperative Society and Sambalpuri Bastralaya to improve designs of sarees and other materials to popularise them.

Once in great demand, Orissa handloom has fallen on bad days due to a variety of reasons like rising cost of inputs and materials, prevalence of age-old techniques, lack of proper marketing network and little scope for skill development.

The state government woke up to the challenge after a traditional weaver Uttar Meher and his family members committed suicide unable to cope with grinding poverty in Bargarh district in Western Orissa recently.

"Weavers of Orissa are highly talented and need certain technical and marketing guidance in order to attract customers in international market," the secretary, textiles and handlooms, Arti Ahuja, said.

She said the state government has decided to take the help of experts after drafting a comprehensive handloom policy last month.

The leading fashion designers would work on a project with the state-run Boyanika (Orissa State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society) and Sambalpuri Bastralaya to help improve designs and create a market for Orissa handlooms and textiles, Ahuja said.