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Article: Handwoven

Handwoven loom


Handloom Vs Powerloom

Imagine your mom feeding you your favourite food with her own hands

Feels good right?? Something that words can’t explain

Now just change your moms hand to a robots’ and everything else remains the same

How does that feel now????

Ok but not as good, stomach is still full but something is missing..that feeling of warmth, love, affection.

It’s the same difference between handloom and powerloom both are techniques to make clothes but one has character and history and real effort behind it, while the other is doing the job but still doesn’t touch the heart.

The textile industry in India is the 2nd largest one, agriculture being the first, and thus helps to create a lot of employment opportunities too for the artisans and weavers community, but this industry has been witnessing only downfall since the advent of power looms

Given its rich heritage and culture, when it comes to textiles India has always been at the forefront. The handloom industry in India provides employment to almost 13 million weavers, unfortunately this number has only reduced due to the high demand of clothes made by powerloom.

Handloom and Powerloom

A fabric that is weaved with the help of hands and loom, without any mechanical or electrical source is a handloom. Loom is a device used to weave patterns on the fabric.

A fabric that is weaved with the help of electrical and mechanical sources is a powerloom.

Looms are of different types based on the set up, Pit looms, Frame looms etc.

Powerloom took over the handloom industry only because of the mass production at a cheaper cost. Powerloom products were produced abundantly and made available to the market in. No time fat unbelievable prices this trend completely blinded the consumer and thus came the trend of “Gast Fashion” where repetition of clothes was discouraged, people were seen shopping like there is no tomorrow and there was no end to this fury, the bling was maddening. The cost of this was heavily paid by our planet, the low quality products that came out of powerloom ended up in landfills.

Advantages of a handloom

  1. You can depend on a handloom for its versatility, flexibility and scope for innovation which a power loom can never give
  2. Less capital investment, eco friendly and less use of power resources
  3. With handloom as the investment is lesser, lesser production is possible and market demands can be met accordingly
  4. Personalised, as it’s a weavers imagination that you get to see on the fabric
  5. Intricacy is unmatched
  6. There are certain weaving techniques that can only be applied via a handloom
  7. Supporting handloom means supporting the weaker section of the society, the weavers who are dependent on this craft only for their livelihood
        Characteristic features of a handloom
        1. Rugged and uneven surfaces
        2. Knots and threads at the end of the border
        3. Soft texture and always drapes well
        4. Extra threads that lead to tassels, a common feature in all handloom sarees
        5. Both sides are the same
        6. Handlooms feel heavier as the thread maintains its weight and isn’t strained and thinned by a machine
        7. Breathable fabric is one the best feature of a handloom
        8. Fabric is stronger and durable

        Threats to the handloom industry

        Once at the peak of it’s glory handloom is know as the “sunset industry” and rightly so as it has been struggling to get a strong foothold back like before.

        With the influx of powerloom products that are available for one- fourth of the price of a handloom this factor has been the biggest blow for this industry. The time that one handloom takes, 10 or more power looms will be made and delivered in that.

        Presence of fake handlooms- consumers are being fooled in the name of handlooms and as they lack awareness, they end up buying the cheap and fake quality of handlooms.

        Consumer mindset- We expect only perfection and handlooms have character but not perfection, thus many people perceive these as imperfections and avoid buying handlooms

        Lack of equal opportunities- The weavers struggle to keep up with the powerloom products in terms of aesthetics, finishing etc and thus end up with less than half of the opportunities that market has to offer

        Powerlooms have blinded the consumer with uncountable options and thus have created an insatiable desire for more and more

        Save this gold mine

        It will be a sad day for us as Indian citizens if we are unable to protect our ancestral legacy. Where on one hand the international labels are taking inspiration from Indian textiles and heritage we are just not ready to look beyond the glitz and glamor of the changing trends that the textile industry is now full of. We all need to educate ourselves b our younger generation about the significance of handloom and the benefits of adopting handlooms over power looms.

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