Luxebook February 2023

the different factors that have led to the slowdown of the hand-knotted industry. “Factors like recession and shortage of weavers and trainers have put the hand knotted carpet industry in a tough spot.These along with tight deadlines on deliveries have led to a double on manufacturing costs, while buyers demand the carpet at the same price, making it a tough business,” Dhama adds. On the other hand, there is a growing appreciation for carpets worldwide. Jaipur Rugs’ Yogesh Chaudhary talks about people beginning to see carpets as more of a lifestyle product than just an accessory which has helped promote the craft both in and outside India. “Designers collaborating with carpet companies aim to give the consumer a unique experience, which is testament to the fact that carpets have now become an integral part of the home furnishing segment. Companies today are more focused on the designs and patterns to attract new customers which was not as prominent earlier.” While talking about the changes in the industry, the work culture is one that has seen the most change. The industry is labour intensive and usually provides employment to approximately two weavers per carpet, although the overall employment rate is close to 20 lakh workers and artisans across the country. Social initiatives Jaipur Rugs has had a significant effect on the work culture in the industry, with its Jaipur Rugs Foundation. Established in 2004 by Nand Kishore Chaudhary, the foundation works for the upliftment of rural artisans. Its vision is to make sure a society of equality, justice, and peace prevails through opportunity and socio-economic development. In addition to providing them with job opportunities, the foundation also includes initiatives that spreads awareness on subjects like health and hygiene, education and training in various skills. The brand also introduced the Freedom Manchaha initiative which provides livelihood opportunities to jail inmates, encouraging disengaged inmates to make handmade works of art using leftover yarn from commercial carpet production. This initiative taps into the untamed fashion from the villages of India experimenting with the originality of rural craftspeople and nurturing their creative potential. “Each rug designed in the ‘Manchaha’ collection is a one-off piece and a treasure for those who connect with it. Our rugs are inspired by rural India, which is also what gives us a Yogesh Chaudhary, Director, Jaipur Rugs Jaipur Rugs unique identity and is a pull for eminent influencers to collaborate with us,” says Chaudhary. Boasting a similar trajectory, Obeetee carpets too has its own initiative, the Women and Weavers Initiative founded in 2015. “The programme was created to provide rural Indian women with the education and opportunities to take up the craft of weaving and support their families with their own resources.” Additionally, the brand also helms Project Mala which offers financial aid to about 120 each year, covering the cost of their schooling, nourishment, medical care, and uniform. Obeetee started this project 29 years ago to provide free land for the construction of school buildings. Traditional vs modern techniques Speaking of the changes in the skillset, Ali Akmal Jan of Carpet Kingdom believes that modern techniques of production hold good for only certain types of carpets. “I think there will always be a demand for carpets manufactured the traditional way. Although modern manufacturing techniques have paved its way into the carpet Industry, I don’t think they can replace traditional carpet weaving practices completely.” The changes in the industry are prominent nonetheless. Right from the procedures involved in the supply chain developed throughout time to the design and logistical system support, change is rampant and irrepressible. “The unique Electronic Data Processing (EDP) code has established a clear traceability in the system so that the real-time status of each individual item/order can be determined. Digitalization has made data accessible in real time across the supply chain,” says Dhama. “Techniques such as mechanised warping for hand-knotted looms, mechanised washing, dying, and printing techniques introduced over time have allowed us to introduce technical innovations in the supply chain, such as online monitoring of the effluent being discharged, which is linked to the Central Pollution Control Board. We were the first to offer the CAD system to our artists, supplanting the popular hand-painted CADs and Nakshas.” As a brand with a century-old tradition, Obeetee Carpets recognises the significance of preserving the carpet-weaving heritage while also aiming to present every household with something lovely, combining designs with a contemporary aesthetic that appeals to Carpet Kingdom 20|L U X E B O O K|F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 |L U X E B O O K| 21