KOCHI: The flood of 2018 brought great loss to the weavers of Paravoor. A year later, when the state is facing yet another flood, the Paravur Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Society is all set to launch its first product — organic baby clothes. Though the initial plan was to launch the product on the first anniversary of 2018 flood, the recent situation in the state has made them postpone it.
"The launch was planned to be held on August 15 to mark the first anniversary of the flood. It was last year's flood that revived this sector. The product is likely to be launched on August 25 now," said T S Baby, president of the Paravur Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society and state committee member of Kerala State Handloom Workers Union (CITU).
In the initial stage, the society has around 300 clothes to be sold in the Onam market and further steps in production will be decided based on the demand. "Since it's for infants, the demand is expected to be more for the product. As of now, we want to concentrate on the launch and see the response. More looms will be bought based on the demand," he said.
The dresses are made with handloom fabric and chemical-free dye that is extracted from natural sources such as karungali. "The benefit of the natural dye is that infants will be more comfortable wearing them. As there is no chemical processing involved, the natural dye will make the dress cooler and skin-friendly. The loom is sourced from National Handloom Development Corporation and dyed with karungali here," said Baby.
Though the first phase includes only infant dresses, the weavers' society will soon be stepping into other products as well. After the flood, the weavers feel that there is a need to keep nature close to humans. "Through organic clothes, we want to convey that being close to nature is always a better option," he said.
Gopalji Foundation, a Kochi-based NGO, has been active in supporting the society to come up with new ideas post flood. Innovations in production techniques, designing and even the organic product launch are based on the NGO's suggestions.