Dr Ela Dedhia, Head Department of Textiles & Fashion Technology, College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan, Affiliated to University of Mumbai

A National webinar on Technology And Design Collaboration For Future Innovation In Medical And Protective Textiles, was held on 5th June, 2020 by the Department of Textile and Fashion Technology of College Home Science, Nirmala Niketan, Affiliated to University of Mumbai, NAAC Accredited A Grade Delegates included students, teachers, professionals, and others related to this field at National and International level.

The webinar was inaugurated by Dr Geeta Ibrahim, Principal of the college where she appreciated the department for initiating such a timely theme.

Dr. Ela Dedhia, Head of Department of Textile and Fashion Technology, gave an overview of the theme. During this tough period of pandemic the medical textiles are commonly used in the field of medical treatment and protection. It is an upcoming new field of research as well as it is also playing an important role in the lives of common man for protection against virus. Technically the products have to be appropriate at the same time design aesthetics also important so this webinar addressed that.

In India due to huge population there is a huge need for medical textiles and protective clothing. Due to this there is high scope of development in this field. an increase in usage of masks, gloves, PPEs, coveralls, shoe covers, head gears and so on due to pandemic. So, this webinar was held to further understand these and the opportunities and challenges they present.

Dr Dedhia moderated the panel discussion including the questions raised by participants on Youtube.

Mrs Geeta Castelino, an educationist, consulting psychologist, CSR consultant, Fashion and Textile Industry advisor, Executive board member of the Kala Ghoda Association also co moderated the session along with Dr Ela Dedhia.

Along with Dr Dedhia on the organizing committee included Dr Pratima Goyal and Dr Anjali Srivastav, both of them presented a brief introduction of the panelist and Dr Pratima Goyal also proposed the vote of thanks. Edfly was the Technical partner and Textile Value Chain was the Media Partner. The webinar was conducted through online video platform and telecasted on Youtube for the audience. The Video is available on YouTube.com/TFTNN.

There were three esteemed panellists during the webinar.

Dr.Anup Rakshit, an executive director at Indian Technical Textile Association, with vast experience. He spoke about the benefits of textile industry and medical field working hand in hand during the pandemic corona virus. Today India is much more prepared and ranks second in manufacture of PPE kits. He spoke about the non-surgical requirements mainly for health workers and common man. He spoke about the wide scope for these textiles and apparel and that technical specifications are important but eventually aesthetics will also become important once the people start moving out of their homes.

The second panellist Mr.Karan Berry a dynamic person who appreciates design and is a fashion consultant. He’s a director for retail brands in India and overseas. He’s the co-owner of the brand Karleo, dealing with wedding gowns and an educationist for various institutions. He explained about his brand Karleo which manufactures wedding gowns and other garments and products which do utilize waste left over fabric and other materials and thus contribute to a sustainable environment. He spoke about his current project on Mask for Humanity with BMC, which was their contribution to the Nation during the current pandemic situation. He also gave a live demonstration of a mask having zipper at the mouth area for eating or breathing. It was an example of technology and creativity.

The third panellist Mrs. Pooja Kamath, Project Manager Karleo, is an integral part of design team at Karleo brand for last 5 years. She works for Special projects and Masks for humanity. She shared her experience of production and distribution of reusable masks for the BMC employees and other essential workers during the lockdown period.

The fourth panellist Ms. Meenal Mandlik, director of Self Esteem foundation for disabled. Ms. Mandlik shared a video on GODS (groups of disabled) foundation MBA foundation which is involved in rehabilitation work, vocational, early intervention, life with care, day-care facilities. Currently can accommodate 25 and later wish to invite applications from disabled who wish to stay here and work. She also spoke of the  Self Esteem foundation where apps and websites are used for marketing. The foundation not only sells products made by MBA foundation (Mutually Beneficial Activities) but also made by many other NGOs. Marketing is also done by a group of differently abled. Mission of both the organizations is the same- Life with Self Esteem and dignity for persons with disabilities. In Self Esteem Foundation seminars are arranged for parents.

The fifth panellist Mrs. Bhavini Parikh a designer and entrepreneur of the brand BUNKO JUNKO where Bunko means art decoration and Junko means from the junk. She has started  since past 3 years making home furnishing and accessories etc. out of unused waste textiles. Explaining about her brand she highlights that the brand strongly supports women empowerment. The brand uses textile waste for garments. The vision of the brand is to take lead into sustainability. She has provided work from home to more than 3000 women in the past. She also displayed some pictures of the women working. The ladies are taught how to make masks and till today 1000’s of masks are made and supplied to community. Training sessions are held for the ladies on how to stitch. Ms. Parikh ends her session by saying, “We have only one world, it is up to us, to make it better, however we can”.

There was discussion with panellists on questions from YouTube and some general discussion on collaboration of technical experts and designers to cater to future needs of the consumers for protection and aesthetics. It was concluded that there is immense scope for research and development in the area of collaboration of technical and design aspects for medical textiles and protective clothing.