Handwoven sarees are a product of fine craftsmanship of the artisans of India and neighbouring countries like Bangladesh. Since ancient times, saris which form an important silhouette of Indian traditional dressing were woven on handlooms using cotton and silk yarns. These finely woven drapes had a substantial contribution in the exports since these fabrics had a great demand in the European countries. Muslin sarees from Dhaka (Bangladesh), Banarasi silk and Patola drapes made on handlooms were sold at exorbitant prices in the global market. However during the British rule the growth of power looms in England became a serious threat to the handloom industry of India. With the passage of time, handwoven sarees lost their market to cheaper drapes made on power looms.
The Rise of the Handloom Industry: Until a few decades ago, the handloom industry seemed to be having a dark future, with a number of looms shutting down due to lack of demand. However, Indian designers like Manish Malhotra, Neeta Lulla, Ritu Kumar and many more have been pioneers in reviving this sector by glamourizing handwoven saris with their signature styles and appealing runway presentations at various fashion week events. The handloom trend was quickly followed by other designers across the country thus reviving the sector to some extent. The government too has played a major role in reviving the handloom industry of India with its ‘Make in India’ campaign where handwoven saris made by local weavers are marketed across the globe through various trade fairs.
Handwoven sarees: Unmatched beauty Katan silk saris woven in Banaras, heavy-bordered Kanchipuram drapes and other south Indian variants of silk characterized by golden zari weaves, Chanderi cotton and silk blend drapes as well as richly embellished Patola saris are some of the finest variants of handwoven saris that are considered as priceless possessions. No matter how much technology advances, the beauty of these sarees that are diligently wovn on a shuttle-pit made from ropes, wooden beams and poles cannot be outwitted by any automated machine. Indian artisans are known for their excellence and precision that has been instrumental in weaving sarees with elaborate and intricate scenery depicting nature, human civilzation and even mythological stories! When it comes to buying Indian ethnic wear, handwoven sarees are something to watch out for!