Fashion artisans face unemployment and reduced work in pandemic
As the Indian fashion industry struggles once again with a new wave of coronavirus, artisan workers are some of the worst affected with unemployment rising once again.
Artisan textile and garment factories in locations including Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru are closed once more. Craftspeople are once again facing zero income which, prior to the new lockdowns, was still less than pre-pandemic times due to fewer international orders, ET Bureau reported.
“For months, all production and commerce flatlined across the spectrum of the Indian fashion sector, including at couture-level ateliers,” said Fashion Design Council of India chairman Sunil Sethi about the lingering effects of 2020, the New York Times reported.
“It was a total catastrophe for our industry. The fortunes of manufacturers and exporters took a massive nosedive. Many were forced to shut down or slash their workforces. At the bottom of all that are labourers like the karigars.”
A reprieve was offered at the end of last year with pent-up wedding demand leading to strong bridal wear orders, said Sethi. The recent Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai also created demand for artisan work. However, as many of India’s larger cities go back into lockdown, business has halted once again. Migrant workers will have to return to their homes once more as many factory owners themselves cannot continue to pay their workers as loans mount up.
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