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Design for Export Promotion

Design for Export Promotion

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2008

Lead Designer , Export Strategy Consultant

Client: Ministry of Textiles & Kanhirode Weaver’s Cooperative, Kerala

The Kanhirode Weaver’s Cooperative has been a key producer of high quality cotton textiles providing employment to hundreds of families in the area. The cooperative is best known for its high quality dyeing practices.

The Ministry of Textiles has supported and funded this Export Promotion Project at the Cooperative to improve their product portfolio for new markets. The project involved assessing their current skills and strengths of this cooperative and coming up with a design strategy to reach out to new markets.

40 unique design collections of home textiles were produced for this project which were woven subsequently and presented at various international fairs.

Read more about my travels and the project here.

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Design for New Markets

Design for New Markets

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2008

Lead Designer , Export Strategy Consultant

Client: Ministry of Textiles, Thirubhuvanam Silk Weavers Cooperative, Tamil Nadu.

The Thirubhuvanam Silk Weaver’s Cooperative has been a key producer of highest quality silk saris in this region. The cooperative is best known for its use of pure zari (gold thread) and dyeing quality. The cooperative was the only of its kind to be ISO 9001:2008 certified.

While these silk saris have a reasonable local market, the future is clearly a dilemma between dwindling number of skilled artisans and rising cost of silks and gold  (used in the zari). The Ministry of Textiles identified this cooperative as one that had immense potential and has supported and funded this Export Promotion Project at the Cooperative to improve their product portfolio for new markets with product diversification. The project involved assessing their current skills and strengths of this cooperative and coming up with a design strategy to reach out to new markets. I have worked with this cooperative at two market levels – diversified product range for the local markets (India) and development of new fabric weights for export. This was mainly for the luxury contract market in Europe.

The challenge for design intervention was beyond just producing new designs. Weaver motivation in this cooperative has been the biggest issue. Inspite of using existing infrastructure for weaving (thus reducing technology investment costs), weavers clearly voted for weaving zari products as their wages were surprisingly  linked to this.

Over a hundred new design collections of home textiles were produced for this project over a period of 4 years which were woven subsequently and presented at various international fairs.

Many reports and Recommendations were written to the Planning Commission after this project to help form a better support […]

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Strategic Design Intervention for Weaving Clusters

Strategic Design Intervention for Weaving Clusters

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2005

Lead Designer & Coordinator, Design Cell Chennai

Client: Ministry of Textiles & National Institute of Design, India.

The Strategic Design Intervention for Cluster Development Project  in Tamil Nadu was lead by the National Institute of Design, India. I was chosen to be their Lead designer for the duration of this project for 3 years

The Project started with intensive field trips to 5 clusters (Cuddalore, Gudiyatham, Thirubhuvanam, Vilanthai, Woraiyur) in Tamil Nadu and studying them over a period of months to understand weaver potentials, skill level, infrastructure availability and possibilities of introducing new concepts and eventually create teams of weavers who would weave a pilot run of our new designs.

Design intervention was planned at various levels from improving yarn qualities to new, sustainable dyeing practices, understanding weaver aspirations to creating a strategy for motivating them towards change. During this period, they were introduced to new softwares to help them design and visualise their products and theywe re advised on how they could avail of such services locally. They were also introduced to low-tech visualising methods and were shown a wide spectrum of examples and best practices in the handloom sector from all over the country for inspiration.

Introduction to natural dyeing was carried out as small workshops in each cluster.

Read more about my travels and the project here.