‘New government initiatives will help India’s textile industry’

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) The initiatives of the government have raised hopes of resurrection of the Indian handloom and textile industries, says K. Radharaman of The House of Angadi, which has a 600-year legacy in the textile trade.

The government has set its sights on the development in the organised and unorganised sectors of the textile industry, which is one of the mainstays of the national economy. Setting up integrated textile parks, increasing export, development of handlooms, promotion of handicrafts and increasing sericulture are some of the elements the government has stressed upon.

To Radharaman, who comes from one of India’s foremost textile families, this is a move in the right direction albeit done with the right intellectual input.

“While we definitely hope new initiatives by the government will help the industry at large, we do not believe the government has the right intellectual inputs to make this happen. Most governments have failed in this regard — not necessarily due to the lack of sincerity of intent, but generally due to lack of understanding of the issues at the grassroots,” Radharaman, CEO and design head of Angadi Ventures, told IANS.

Angadi Ventures is the corporate entity that represents the family’s business interest.

The House of Angadi has over the years contributed to the preservation of handlooms in the country. As early as the 1960s, the family created a model of rural growth, which is said to have been so outstanding that the then World Bank President Robert McNamara visited The Angadi Family Estate in Tanjore on his visit to India.

His company had patrons like former prime minister Indira Gandhi, cultural czarina of yore Pupul Jayakar and Gira Sarabhai, the co-founder in 1949 of the Ahmedabad-based Calico Museum of Textiles.

As of today, the company directly and indirectly employs over 1,300 weavers, and has been engaged in the improvement of their working conditions. It has also opened a showroom by the name of Angadi Galleria in Bangalore, attracting would-be-brides and textile connoisseurs.

Sharing the idea behind the brand, Radharaman said: “Handmade products, including textiles, are luxury in the purest sense. At Angadi, we wanted to create a space that could give handloom textiles the spotlight they truly deserve.”

A multifaceted designer, Radharaman also lends his creativity to the International Home Textile market and has worked with foreign design houses such as Ralph Lauren Home, Calvin Klein and Kravet Couture.

How does he cater to both Indian and international sensibilities?

Radharaman, who believes that design is a universal language – much like music, said: “The fact that I’ve lived in India and abroad and have travelled widely has given me exposure to international trends and has helped me imbibe the best of east and west.

“My own roots in the weaving community have possibly blessed me with an intuitive appreciation for textiles – I take pleasure in imagining, creating and therefore ‘designing’ in a wide array of disciplines.”

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