Designer Ritu Kumar calls for ban on non-essential Chinese imports ahead of festive season
Womenswear designer and handloom advocate Ritu Kumar has urged the government to ban all non-essential Chinese imports to India ahead of the festive season to support Indian artisans.
As many artisans in the textiles and religious artefacts industries face financial hardship, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, they are also facing increased competition from Chinese businesses importing these items into India for very cheap prices. Designer Ritu Kumar has asked for the government to take action to protect craftspeople before the festive season, due to the increasing amount of festive-themed clothing and objects being imported.
“Unfortunately for Indian handmade crafts, China is focused on the production of machine-made alternatives, copying designs from India’s vast resources of craft skills, practised even today by 16 million Indians,” Kumar told the Hindustan Times.
“This cannot be allowed to continue, especially in a context where Indian craftsmen and women are already confronting rising unemployment due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“One really must look very carefully at why India is today being inundated with Chinese copies made on cheap fabrics, which is now taking on a vast repertoire- Benarsi and Chanderi saris; Rajasthani crafts of bandani, printed on synthetics and Kolhapuri chappals, mostly imported from Xinjiang; fake cashmere from Mongolian wool, labelled as pashmina,” said Kumar.
“Not one of these products, imported from China, now rapidly available in most markets, in big or small-town bazaars, helps generate local employment. Instead, they take away work from established craft sectors.”
Kumar also recently launched her autumn/ winter 2020/2021 collection online, which sees the brand work in more depth with natural textiles.
“The collection is an ode to the brand's evolving relationship with nature made with recyclable natural fabrics,” Kumar said on Facebook, announcing the ‘Nature’s Origami’ collection launch.
“The colours draw from nature's melange of deep burgundies, faded ochres and greens,” said Kumar. “A blend of sustainability and fashion, Nature's Origami is for the urban Indian woman who is ready to take on the world fearlessly, but with humility.”
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