SUSTAINABILITY AND HANDLOOM

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Deepika Choudhury- Founder of ANTARANG

Sustainability is the most often used term in today’s time. Everyone is talking about it, but how many are really following it? The concept of sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. But the umbrella of sustainability holds more scope than this. At its core, it’s an approach towards balancing different, and quite often competing for needs against the awareness of the environmental, social and economic limitations, etc. Put more simply, it’s about managing People, Planet and Profit, all together. Especially when it comes to fashion because this industry has been identified as a major polluter worldwide. 

 

For people, living a sustainable life is not something that can be easily done. Tough choices are required and dealing with challenges can become mandatory and necessary too. When we come together as a community, we can support each other and make the process easier as well. 

 

As we are suffering from the adverse effects of modernization on earth, ethical and sustainable clothing can actually help address many of these issues in ways you may not expect. Changes in buying habits have the power to make a difference. By switching towards sustainably and ethically sourced clothing, tonnes of fabric can be saved that end up in landfills, every day. Sustainable practice is better for the planet, the farmers, the garment workers and for the animals. When you support small business and home-grown brands, you support a dream. So why not support local businesses, promote local jobs and economy with fair practices, sustainability and curating timeless fashion for ourselves.

 

Weavers /artisans are the ultimate lifelines of our products. We started off by getting associated with weavers who practiced methods with age-old techniques, incorporating motifs inspired by imagination and century-old folklores and whose generations gave been following processes to date which are intrinsically sustainable.

 

Though they do take the help of a few mechanical tools today just to help them with their productivity the core values remain same, and production largely sustainable. Ethical production is also a very integral part of sustainability and we ensure that every single product of ours is ethically made, sourced and the weavers are compensated fairly for their hard work. We also try to make sure that they have a steady stream of work and thus a steady income.

 

One of the best examples of sustainability is our khesh sarees. The old sarees which are not sold in the market are torn into thin strips and are interwoven with a thread during the saree making process to create beautiful 3D stripes within the new saree! The process is fascinating yet simple. And the perfect example of recycling and upcycling, recreating new garments with the old.

The journey has nothing been short of magical so far. We had never thought that we would be traveling far and to the remotest areas of the country to revive these crafted and woven beauties. Our travels have given us so much exposure to the world of craft that we never knew existed. The techniques that artisans use, the way the fabrics are dyed with natural colours, how a piece of wood is finely crafted into a masterpiece called wooden hand-block, to how a bunch of humble yarn is woven into magnificent 6 yards. It’s like a dream that you live when you see them being made on a loom in a tiny hutment with an artisan sitting on a wooden bench with just a modest bulb and table fan. That tic-tock tic-tock of the hand-loom is like music to the ears. The respect grows manifolds for such artists and craftsmen who are far above others in techniques and creativity without any formal training.

Welcome to the world of colours, Antarang: something that you love from your heart. And indeed, Antarang was born out of love for the magic that these handcrafted sarees and fabrics bring with them. Who knew one day those silly childhood games of draping mom’s sarees, to admiring the gorgeous drapes of the teachers in school, will become a full-time passion? Even after a successful career in the advertising industry for almost 12 years, the love for sarees and the countless and varied forms of art and culture across India just kept growing with each passing day. Thus in 2018, the journey of Antarang began, by putting an end to many odds. Today, Antarang is a humble, home-grown brand from Gurgaon, where we celebrate handloom in all its glory while creating and curating finest hand-crafted collections that captures the spirit and essence of India. There is an abundance of weaves, prints, embroideries, and crafts around us, all we need is to do is appreciate the love and effort behind them.

Our handloom sarees are handpicked directly from the weavers across the country who are our true designers with an abundance of heritage and craft knowledge behind them, weaving their magic by pouring life into any saree. The process of weaving is a celebration of centuries of sustainability, tradition and the authenticity of Indian arts that truly shine through. But due to the strong emergence and acceptance of fast fashion, with today’s generation, they are dying slowly. Lack of possibilities and funds are leading the next generation of artisans to move to bigger towns for better work prospects so that they can earn well for their families. We are the bridge between the weavers and patrons so that no middleman pointlessly pilfers the profit and leaves them with something that doesn’t even covers his basic price. And hence it is our duty to support and empower them so that they can continue their craft with pride.

We believe, Sarees are not meant only for special occasions but they have the ability to make an ordinary day into a special one for you. They perfectly bring out the culturally rooted yet stylish personality of the Indian women. We want you to feel nothing short of amazing when draped in a saree and believe in the fact that sarees are still as comfortable and as stylish at the same time like they were in our grandmom’s times. Remember if they could do an all days’ work wearing a saree, you too can.

We want Handloom and Handcrafted products to become a part of your everyday wardrobe. Each product is a reminder that what a pair of hands, dipped in love, using ancient techniques can create, can never be replicated on a machine. Making each one of its kind a treasure forever.

At Antarang, we celebrate and represent the numerous souls who have worked hard on the product before it reaches you.

We truly believe in – Reviving Simplicity!

The article is written by Deepika Choudhury, founder of Antarang

Instagram page of Antarang- https://www.instagram.com/myantarang/