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Nagaland

Expo showcases potential for Naga weaves

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By EMN Updated: Aug 12, 2013 12:39 am
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EMN
DIMAPUR, AUGUST 11

The handloom industry is one of the earliest industries in India , occupying a unique place in our country. It is also the second largest employment generator after agriculture. In the context of the states in northeast India the potential of the handloom industry The Handloom sector also contributes in a major way to the struggling economy of the state. A sneak look at the ongoing National Handloom Expo under ‘Theme Pavilion’, funded by Development Commissioner (Handloom) Ministry of Textiles at Super market Dimapur shows how this annual exhibition has become a platform to showcase new talents and entrants into the handloom industry.
The Aqokivi Self Help Group is making it maiden appearance at the Expo and its member Aghatoli V. Aye,is ecstatic with the response their group has received from the public. The SHG specializes in making only traditional garments and not diversifying her weaves to modern styles. She says “despite the appeal for modern clothes amongst the youth, there is still a section of people out there who want the traditional garments and I am catering to those customers.”
The same can be said of the Bendilar Handloom & Handicraft proprietor, Abenla.
Her ‘mekhlas” or popularly knowns as ‘naga skirts’ or ‘sarongs’ are also finding a market at the expo.
Both she and Lipongchum Sangtam, a craftsman and proprietor of a handicraft stall have been making brisk sales. Sagtam specilaises in carvimg wooden spoons
Talking to Eastern Mirror he said “my first customer was a foreigner who bought my items worth Rs. 2000”.
The experience has encouraged both the artisans to develop more wares and focus on showcasing the ethnic goods and designs outside the state. They say “the ethnic designs will attract customers outside the state than within the state or the North eastern region.
But the Expo also had its fair share of disgruntled and unhappy customers.
Thos e who wanted to see new products and new designs.One customer lamented the fact that , though the prices are reasonable, the designs does not show any creativity as almost all the stalls and they all appear to have the same pattern already familiar to the local people.
Its been difficult for entrepreneurs at the Expo to figure out the taste of the public.
At “Leejen” the first of its brand in Nagaland bringing a fusion of ethnic and modern wear the experience at the Expo has been disappointing. The stall has a range of cotton ethnic wear ranging from kurtas, tops to dress in different ethnic print; however there are no buyers laments the salesperson.
She said the taste is solely geared towards modern with modern print.
While the Handloom expo continues to encourage small entrepreneurs what it also needs to do is to educate the public in the rich tradition of weaving which is fast dying. To develop modern designs that can support the traditional weaving techniques.
Most products on sale are made on the shuttle or pith loom and the unique ‘loin loom’ or ‘back strap loom’ weaves are few and far in between.

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By EMN Updated: Aug 12, 2013 12:39:55 am