Shortlisted 12 dying craft forms from across India to support and revive before they become extinct
Selected craft forms include Ajrakh, Leheriya, Bhujodi, Patachitra, Madur, and seven more old art forms
On India’s 73rd Republic Day, iTokri – India’s leading platform for handicraft and handloom products – pledges to revive and support the dying crafts of India. Calling it the ‘Save the Craft’ campaign, the brand will be showcasing 12 shortlisted handloom and handicraft art forms on their website that have historical significance and represent stories and traditions of their regions of origin. The campaign starts with showcasing Ajrakh craft form – the traditional hand block printing style from Gujarat.
India’s handloom industry is the second-largest employment provider for the rural population in India after agriculture and, directly and indirectly, impacts over 4.3 million people. Even though India is the world’s largest producer of handicraft and handloom items, it is struggling to survive under the pressures of fast fashion. Age-old craft forms like leheriya, kalamkari, kasuti, bagru block printing, and many others have had royal statues in the past, but with time, the demand started dwindling. The artisans were left with little to no work, and many even gave up family traditions of making these products due to the lack of money, recognition, and appreciation.
Under the ‘Save the Craft’ campaign, iTokri has chosen Madur and Sabai Grass from West Bengal, Chikankari from Uttar Pradesh, Ajrakh printing from Gujarat, Kalamkari from Andhra Pradesh, Kasuti Embroidery from Karnataka, Patachitra from Odisha, and six other handloom and craft styles to showcase throughout the year.
iTokri promotes these crafts on their website – https://www.itokri.com/pages/campaign-page and social media platforms and try to provide as much visibility as possible so that more people buy and support the cause. Through this campaign, iTokri aims to rank the artisan’s skills in the global market and offer customers an easy access to a wide range of unique handicraft and handloom products from across the country.
Speaking about the ‘Save the Craft’ campaign, Co-Founder of iTokri, Mr. Nitin Pamnani said, “Our goal is to preserve the legacy of all-natural handlooms and handicrafts that are dying and promote it at all possible levels. We aim to sustain the practice and prevent it from becoming extinct amidst fast fashion trends. Through this campaign, we want to support the age-old art forms of India and contribute to the growth graph of the sector.” He further adds, “At iTokri, we have a policy of selling the products in the name of the artisans, giving them their due credit and recognition. With this campaign, we hope that people will take notice of these artisans, support and encourage them to keep their efforts going.”
iTokri works with over 10,000 artisans, impacting more than 5 lakh families directly and indirectly. Being a fair-price organization, the brand works on an inventory-based model where it makes an outright purchase from the artisans before selling.
The campaign begins with showcasing Ajrakh art – the craft of kutch that carries many meanings. The popular story amongst local printers is that Ajrakh means “keep it today.” It is also known as azrakh, the Arabic word for indigo, a blue plant that thrived in the arid ecology of Kachchh. The art is made in a sixteen-step process of washing, dyeing, printing, and drying, which requires a high level of skill and concentration in order to keep colors fast and even. Ajrakh hand-block printing and natural dyeing is more than 4000 years old and is practiced mainly in Kutch and Sindh regions.
A handwritten note on a piece of recycled paper and a handmade trinket is what one receives with every order, neatly wrapped in eco-friendly packaging from Gwalior-based iTokri, making it one of the most loved e-commerce portals to a discerning domestic and global audience who are enthusiastic about Indian handicraft and handloom products.
The online store for handicraft, handlooms, fabrics, jewelry, paintings, and other artworks is India’s only crafts and loom retailer with a hundred percent inventory of handmade artisanal products ranging from Punjab’s phulkari dupattas and Gujarat’s bandhani sarees to Andhra’s ikkat handloom fabrics, and Odisha’s pattachitra paintings. It sources products, including jewelry, dress materials, and household items from nearly 10,000 artisans across India, making it the largest curated portal for art and handicraft products with over 100,000 listings. The portal adds 500 plus new products on a daily basis too.