India’s National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) is in the process of setting up 10 more Design Resource Centres (DRCs) at Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs) of Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kannur, Indore, Nagpur, Meerut, Bhagalpur and Panipat. A vast repository of designs and resources will be made available there for use by manufacturers, designers and weavers.
DRCs have already been set up at WSCs of Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Guwahati, Jaipur and Varanasi. The eighth DRC at Kancheepuram was inaugurated on National Handloom Day, on August 7 this year, according to a press release from the ministry of textiles.
Initially, Handloom Design Centres at Mumbai, Chennai and Varanasi were set up in 1956. Activities of these centres later expanded to cover other aspects of handloom textiles, and these were then re-designated as WSCs.
Over a period of time each WSC accumulated a large number of handloom designs and samples. Meanwhile, efforts were made to engage designers of repute and attach them to individual weaver clusters to contribute towards design innovation, training and improve marketability of the handloom products. MoUs were also signed with several designers.
But that effort met with limited success and after some time fully lost steam. This led to the concept of having an in-house design repository where both contributors and beneficiaries could have a common place to share designs, even though in an indirect manner. NIFT was then entrusted with the responsibility of setting up DRCs in all the WSCs in a phased manner.