IIM Shillong hosts meet on handlooms in North East

IIM shillong

Rama Krishna Sangem

A one-day strategic meeting on handloom promotion of the North Eastern Region was organised by the APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research and Analysis, IIM Shillong, on January 23, 2024, with the support from the Development Commissioner (Handloom), Ministry of Textile, Government of India and National Institute of Fashion Technology, Shillong as knowledge partner.

The event was inaugurated by Atul C. Kulkarni, Member Board of Governors, IIM Shillong as the guest of honour with the presence of Prof. D. P. Goyal, Director, IIM Shillong. Informing the audience, Dr. Sanjeev Ningombam, the Centre Coordinator of the Kalam Centre, stated that the purpose of the strategic meeting on handloom promotion is to address stakeholder concerns while concentrating on the agenda item of "Textiles as Driver NER Economy

Sessions including "Innovation and Design Intervention," "Marketing Integration of Handloom Products," "Business Strategy," and "Cluster Development" were scheduled for the event. There was an exclusive session on Idea Exchange where stakeholders presented their ideas and best practises.

Participating in the day-long discussion were resource persons and representatives from the business world, governmental organisations, educational institutions, training centres, and about 150 students.


Culture and modern designs

Several prominent figures from the region's handloom industry were powerfully represented in the discussion, including Smt. Lovely Baruah, Mrs. Jesmina Zeliang, Mitrani Kakti, Koijan Mantri, Shri Yangoijam Maxwell, Zosangliana Hangzo, James Evantis Dkhar, and Shri C Lalthlenmawia, to name a few.

Speakers discussed various perspectives on promoting handloom by focusing on the unique identity and culture of specific tribes' weaving traditions. It was discussed at length to integrate culture and tradition with commerce through design intervention and innovation.

This approach aimed to not only preserve the heritage of these tribes but also create sustainable livelihood opportunities for the weavers. By combining traditional techniques with contemporary designs, it was believed that handloom products could appeal to a wider market and ensure the economic empowerment of these communities. The North Eastern Region in India has the highest concentration of handlooms, with 14.6 lakh units in five states.

Despite its rich cultural heritage and traditional craftsmanship, the region faces challenges in commercial production and fabric output. Improving infrastructure, market access, and skill development can help harness the region's potential.

One of the session's main conclusions was that the region needed to develop a market for handwoven goods. The absence of cooperative societies in the area is a problem that requires our collective attention in order to restore cooperative societies capable of advancing production. In order to capture a market, it is imperative to combine modern and traditional components.

The deliberation emphasized sustainable fashion and consumerism, highlighting low investment as a cause for lack of innovation. Changing product lineups can create niche markets. The outcome of the deliberation will be proposed as a recommendations in developing a holistic plan aligned with national mission of Handloom policy,  according to a press release from IIM Shillong

Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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Rama Krishna Sangem

Excel India national news magazine is a media startup founded and piloted by Rama Krishna Sangem, a Hyderabad based senior journalist with over three decade experience in the field of media, mostly in print journalism. His rich experience in reporting for both Telugu and English newspapers and heading a TV news channel and some online outfits will be of immense use to this venture. Excel India English news magazine seeks to fill the gap of analytical understanding to our readers who today are confronted with myriad media platforms. Our online version not only offers regular updates and commentary on happenings around us, but also gives larger stories not limited by space constraints of a print magazine. Excel India is ably run by a team of senior journalists committed to values and quality standards in the profession. We urge you all to support and guide us in this endeavour. Reach us at excelindiaweb123@gmail.com