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Indian design industry has huge potential but lacks quality due to untrained karigars

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-02-16 16:00:00 – New Delhi

India Design ID 2015, an initiative by Ogaan was recently flagged off at NSIC Grounds, Okhla, and was on till Sunday, February 15. The UK-based design director Sebastian Wrong who is the co-founder of British brand Established & Sons, The Wrong Shop, an e-commerce platform and the design house Wrong Hay, was here to participate in the third edition of 'India Design ID', an exposition on design.

According to Wrong, India has a lot of potential to grow in terms of design industry but the major problem is that manufacturers in India have a linear thinking. They don’t want to experiment or expand their horizon. In fact, one of the key drawbacks is lack of quality and disciplined manufacturers hence designers prefer to use their own manufacturing units to fabricate their products rather than utilise services of untrained 'karigars'.

Manufactures in India are "not very disciplined and transparent," which leads a lot of designers to take upon the responsibility of manufacturing their own products.

On the other hand in China, manufacturers are bang on time with their delivery and are transparent in the sense of their commitment towards the designers. They are willing to hear you out and work towards meeting your needs, said Wrong.

Another participant at the Expo, Caroline Young who has been living and working in India for the past 10 years said that a "sense of pride" among the country's manufacturers prevents them from thinking out of the box away from tried and tested methods and exploring different opportunities.

In India, if a manufacturer is producing a table top he will continue to do only that. He will not give you a finished product, which is a pain for designers.

Several domestic designers, such as product designer Lekha Washington and Anjana Somany, who heads Design and Development at Schablona India Ltd, said that they produce their own products and are involved in the entire process.

It is better to produce your product as you can never be sure of the quality you will get from manufacturers sourced locally. It's the question of their reputation and they cannot send out products which are not up to the standards abroad, said Washington who founded 'Ajji- The Odd Product Company' in the year 2013.

According to Archana Pillai, group publisher and CEO of Ogaan, organisers of Design ID, lack of exposure of Indian craftsmen and their 'juggad' and 'chalta hai' attitude creates a problem. If people pay money for a product it better be upto the standards. People here accept whatever is given to them. If they stop doing that and train their craftsmen to international standards things can change tremendously.

Bulk manufacture and supply of hand embroidery and textile work, two highly sought after items from India is an issue with several designers who point out that they have had also to deal with issues of copyright.

According to Wrong, people are trying to copy Indian product that's actually quite flattering but at the end of it, it takes away credit from the designers. China produces some very good quality copied product at half the price but that's not original everyone knows that.

Copying products and buying them is a big illegal nexus and the money generated by these industries go into funding of acts which are not acceptable by civil society and will not do any good to anyone. They need to stop buying copied products.

At the ID Symposium, one of the verticals at the Design Fair, designers discussed the diminishing margins of industries who sustain on copying originals.

An Annual Design Week brought professionals from varied design disciplines and end consumers together at a single location in India. It fostered a dialogue between India and the global fraternity with a key focus on promoting the business of design. The exhibition attracted design enthusiasts from across the country, for a glimpse of made in India designs.

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