Nagaland has a unique and rich traditional textile heritage which are vibrant and beautiful and a real treat to the beholders eyes. The present generation has a very important duty to preserve and promote it, without which our textiles will die out and in the process not only our identity but the coming generations identity will be lost forever.
The age old practice of traditional weaving in loin loom is still very much in practice in Nagaland. The traditional practice of weaving which is practiced by all naga tribes should continue for making certain type of designs, eg: By changing the yarn count beautiful items of accessories and soft home furnishings can be produced for niche market both domestic and export market.
It has become extremely important and very urgent to create a market for the loin loom weavers as a very large section of weavers has given up weaving and moved on as they see no future prospects.
The best and only way to preserve naga textiles is to promote it on a war footing without any delay. Any more delay will result in no more weavers and no more production.
Commercialization is the need of the hour. Naga textiles especially naga shawls and naga bags are in huge demand but they have not been able to catch the market due to high price and little production. These products should and must be woven by the use of fly shuttle loom which can very easily replicate original naga design and mass produced.
The Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation has a very important role to play as a marketing agency. Its role is to give the market feedback to the cluster of weavers and SHG groups to make the kind of products that are in market demand. The engagement of a Textile Designer who understands the market and price logistics is a must to intervene with weavers. In this modern age where the market is very competitive, they have to make unique designs that will stand out. This is the only way to move forward in order to preserve the vast textile heritage, without which it will die out. The time has come for educated creative naga youth to get into the textile field and promote it in the right manner.
Traditional loin loom weaves need to be encouraged but products need to improve in quality and design. A very high quality soft home furnishing range, eg: cushion covers, runners, throws etc by using cotton and eri silk yarn can be produced for Europe, America and Japan which are very high niche markets. This will keep the weavers occupied for the whole year. The fly shuttle which can produce running fabrics in tons by dobby design application can be used for home furnishings like curtains, bedspreads, school uniforms, and dress materials etc which are in high demand all over India.
It will be very important to bring out a uniform set of designs which buyers both domestic and international will be able to identify Nagaland with. This will be unique selling point.eg: naga bags, naga shawls, soft furnishings can be the USP to be produced on a large scale so that people all over the world will know the product is from Nagaland.
For the production of textiles on a commercial level, dyeing and yarn depot is a must without which the whole project will fail. Natural grey yarn must be bought at mill gate price. A yarn depot set up in each and every district so that weavers donâ€™t have to travel long distance to procure yarn at extra cost. A dyeing unit must be attached to the yarn depot so that weavers can dye according to requirements. Chemical dyes can be used for local needs for its colour fastness and longevity but for special orders and exports use of natural dyes will be necessary.
Naga textile Heritage has a very bright future and the Government of India and Ministry of textile should work on promoting this sector.
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