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Weaving a new future for India’s heritage handlooms

IHCL’s Khazana chain of in-hotel boutiques and Tata Trust’s livelihood programme for artisans – Antaran – are collaborating to curate a collection of unique Indian handlooms.

The Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), South Asia’s largest hospitality company’s luxury lifestyle store, Khazana, announced its partnership with Antaran – Transforming Crafts, which is Tata Trust’s craft-based livelihood programme, to offer a platform to weavers of traditional Indian handloom fabrics. The formal launch of this initiative saw actress Shabana Azmi and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar appreciating the exclusive trunk show that was showcased by Khazana.

IHCL, Khazana, Tata Trusts, Taj
Left to right: Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, IHCL; actress Shabana Azmi; cricketer Sachin Tendulkar; N Srinath, CEO, Tata Trusts, at the Khazana store at Taj Lands’ End, Mumbai, where the curated exhibit of handlooms was unveiled. Image: Courtesy IHCL.

The handpicked collection of handloom masterpieces featured traditional art forms such as the Muga of Assam, Loin-loom of Nagaland, Ikat of Odisha, and Zari of Andhra Pradesh. This will soon be available in other cities as well. Khazana, with its wide footprint, operates 17 luxury lifestyle stores across Taj Group hotels in nine cities, with three more stores opening soon in Chennai, Shimla and Bhopal.

For over four decades, the IHCL’s retail space has provided a platform to showcase India’s rich heritage of traditional art, craft and textiles. Antaran works towards strengthening the ecosystem and empowering entrepreneurship and self-employment of artisans from lesser-known craft clusters in the country. This unique collaboration between Khazana and Antaran furthers the intent to impact the livelihood of thousands of handloom weavers across the four states.

Speaking on the occasion, Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IHCL, said, “This partnership is in line with IHCL’s commitment of giving back to the community. Khazana celebrates the boundless creativity of Indian craftsmen and showcases the work of local artisans to a discerning global audience while providing sustainable livelihoods. We are delighted to partner with Antaran in helping to further the cause of supporting traditional crafts of the country.”

At the launch of the showcase, N Srinath, CEO, Tata Trusts, said, “Tata Trusts’ Antaran initiative was established to shine a spotlight on hidden clusters of unique craft-forms across the country. In everything we do, our goal is to empower artisans through education, exposure and access to markets, such that they can build enduring sources of income. This partnership will offer these fine products, the true khazana of Indian heritage and culture, an audience hitherto untapped.”

The famous golden Muga silk being worked by hand in Nagaon, Assam. Image: Shutterstock/Talukdar David.

Initiated to bring seminal changes in craft development, Tata Trusts’ Antaran has in the past three years, nurtured around 1,507 artisans, and has created 147 micro-enterprises across its six regions. The intervention aims to directly benefit 3,000 handloom households involved in pre-loom, on-loom and post-loom processes, while also impacting the livelihood of thousands of other weavers in these regions. This unique initiative also presents designers and buyers an opportunity for creative collaboration with weavers.

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