Home for the looms

Explaining in detail about the store and what one can find in Aadyam, Manish said, “The brand is called Aadyam Hand-Woven. As the name suggests, it is about the products made by our handloom weavers.

HYDERABAD: As the craze and demand for hand-woven fabrics is increasing, the city is coming up with stores that support weavers from across the country. Recently, Aadyam Hand-Woven opened its store in Banjara Hills. We take a look and also speak with Manish Saksena, Lead Advisor at Aadyam Hand-woven and learn more about the offerings of the store for its customers

Explaining in detail about the store and what one can find in Aadyam, Manish said, “The brand is called Aadyam Hand-Woven. As the name suggests, it is about the products made by our handloom weavers. The whole idea was, as a CSR initiative of the Aditya Birla Group, it only indirectly impacted the weavers. However, we morphed it into a social enterprise because we realised we also needed to bring the weavers to the forefront, irrespective of market dynamics. We should be able to fuel the looms all the time. Our promise to weavers, once we become partners with them, is that we want to feed their home, 365 days and that could have only been possible through such initiatives.

That is how it all started, with our first store in Delhi’s Khan Market. This one is our fourth store. This is the biggest store, the others being in really small formats. This is an experiential store where people can experience it as though they are walking from a living room to a dining room, then to a bedroom. We also have a café to bring in the tastes of Aadyam and foods in India from other states, adding to the twist and special flavours of Hyderabad. The place was designed in a way where we can have Hindustani cultural meets as well.”

Regarding the products that one could find at this store, he said, “It is all about handloom and hand-woven fabrics. The idea was also about how one creates more opportunities for people to be able to consume hand-woven fabrics. And then came the idea of creating the ‘home’ line out of handloom products. I think, this is quite unique, as we get a lot of block-printed home linen. There are hardly any brands that do hand-woven linen, cushions and other categories.

We extended our home line to other things like rugs and carpets, adding the dining section which includes table linen, napkins and place mats. The handloom weavers who make sarees, create fabrics which can be more multi-functional. We also have the classic sarees, dupattas, stoles and accessories. However, we are still in the not-stitched apparel space. So, here, on one hand, we have the apparel side of the business and on the other, the home line with multiple categories, woven in many clusters.”

Speaking about the artists who were involved in making these hand-woven products, Saksena told CE that the shawls, stoles are brought in from Kashmir. There are Ikat products from Pochampally, Telangana. Mirzapur and Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh provide carpets. With Banaras as one of the clusters, brocades and the fabrics for cushions and sarees are brought from there. There are also fabrics from Gujarat. “The store has some specific line of products such as special hand knotted rugs or old-age dharis, a revival of the classic handcraft from Bhuj in Gujarat,” Saksena added. 

Moving on to the kitchen section, he shared, “Some of these really set the mood and experience. We have Ikai Asai as a partner, showcasing their tableware. While we do table linen, they do the tableware— it is a marriage of sorts. The furniture is all set up to get the feel of it. We also worked with the interior designers.”

The classic apparel section included some traditional format, some lost handcraft skills as well. “In sarees, we continuously strive to experiment. For example, Jamdani or the very complex Tanchoi are among the newly revived crafts. People have moved to more simple forms but we try to bring back the complex ones. We have innovated Pashmina beyond the shawls by infusing some zari into it so that it gets a dressier form. We have also incorporated Sozni embroidery,” Manish said. 

Responding to the choice of Hyderabad over other cities Manish said, “Hyderabad is a place which has connoisseurs of all kinds. Whether it is food, music, cars or any other domain. I think, it is a pleasure to service their tastes—akin to modern-day royalty. I feel it is an apt market for the kind of products we are working with.”

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The New Indian Express