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Jitendra Kumar

“What makes the product luxurious is the excellent craftsmanship and that value can only added by the artisans.” – Jitendra Kumar

From the looms

Loom to Luxury was born in 2013 when NEST, a US based NGO helped the startup with its first client Maiyet, an international fashion brand

A sustainable craft

Jitendra feels that having a relationship based on mutual trust and respect with the weavers is an important part of what he does

Weaving luxury

Loom to Luxury collaborates with many leading Indian designers and some of the biggest global fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Prada

Thinking outside of the box

"Our ultimate goal is to create unique quality products,” Jitendra Kumar says.

An ensemble of cultures and customs

Jitendra also mentions that to be able to work with an indigenous community, one has to be sensitive to their customs and cultures.

Growing in the International Market

Dealing with global brands also come with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to communicating terms of sampling and delivery

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Lab 02 May 2018

Intertwine: Loom to Luxury takes India’s handloom silk to global fashion ramps

Jitendra Kumar, founder of Loom to Luxury, speaks to CQ about his journey, challenges and process of innovation to marry an age-old craft with contemporary design and colours for the international markets.

From Varanasi to the World

Through a stroke of luck and an adventurous spirit, Jitendra Kumar came to Varanasi from his hometown in Bihar, via Chandigarh where he got his formal education in textile design. In Varanasi, he convinced a young handloom silk weaver to teach him the basics of this work, and then he also worked at the Varanasi Weavers Foundation for a while. 

Jitendra Kumar

“What makes the product luxurious is the excellent craftsmanship and that value can only added by the artisans.” – Jitendra Kumar

Loom to Luxury was born in 2012 when NEST, a US based NGO helped the start-up with its first client Maiyet, an international fashion brand that partners with global artisans from across the world. Since then, there has been no looking back for Loom to Luxury. Today, the brand collaborates with many leading Indian designers and some of the biggest global fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Prada because of its ability to match contemporary design needs while preserving the authenticity of the craft. 

From the looms

Loom to Luxury was born in 2013 when NEST, a US based NGO helped the startup with its first client Maiyet, an international fashion brand

Jitendra shares, “We essentially started this to make the craft sustainable. What makes the product luxurious is the excellent craftsmanship and that value can only be added by the artisans. The final product deserves a premium price tag only if the craft behind it is given its proper due.” 

A sustainable craft

Jitendra feels that having a relationship based on mutual trust and respect with the weavers is an important part of what he does

Loom to Luxury provides livelihood to 32 families by direct employment. 12 people are part of the administrative structure and more than 200 artisans are seasonal workers. It usually takes up to 20 people to make one garment.

Weaving luxury

Loom to Luxury collaborates with many leading Indian designers and some of the biggest global fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Prada

We noticed that Maiyet designers had even used the backside of the fabric which gave it a completely new character, and this made us realize that we need to think outside the box.

Innovation and Challenges

Jitendra looks back to the time when Maiyet had first approached them. The brand’s design team interacted with Jitendra which helped him understand what the international consumer wanted in terms of design and colour palettes. He also got to know the technical limitations associated with the design and production process. 

Thinking outside of the box

"Our ultimate goal is to create unique quality products,” Jitendra Kumar says.

“We created a 5-6 colour brocade traditional fabric for that project, but we gradually developed our range of contemporary patterns with new colour palettes, played with fibre, and this experimentation taught us a lot. We noticed that Maiyet designers had even used the backside of the fabric which gave it a completely new character, and this made us realize that we need to think outside the box. Our ultimate goal is to create unique quality products,” he says. 

Loom to Luxury’s growing international market is probably a good testimony to this commitment. However, dealing with global brands also comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to communicating terms of sampling and delivery. Jitendra also mentions that there are times when designers want a custom-made design really fast, without completely understanding the time, effort, and process required for the making of the fabric.

“Clients do not consider the cost of setting up of a design. Also, it’s impossible to do any last-minute changes to a handmade fabric as it includes a chain of processes and people including the graphics team, yarn team, loom set-up team and weavers. It can be very discouraging for the artisans when their craft isn’t valued,” he adds.  

An ensemble of cultures and customs

Jitendra also mentions that to be able to work with an indigenous community, one has to be sensitive to their customs and cultures.

Jitendra also mentions that to be able to work with an indigenous community, one has to be sensitive to their customs and cultures.

“This craft should be seen as art and not as trade. By improving artisans’ skills and creating more opportunities for them, we wish to motivate the younger generation to join the craft.”

Way forward

The Ministry of Textiles wants to adopt the Loom to Luxury model for the entire artisan community, which is not a surprise. Jitendra feels that having a relationship based on mutual trust and respect with the weavers is an important part of what he does. And in the process, his company has tried to make weavers get out of their comfort zone and adapt to the needs of the contemporary world. 

Growing in the International Market

Dealing with global brands also come with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to communicating terms of sampling and delivery

“This craft should be seen as art and not as trade. By improving artisans’ skills and creating more opportunities for them, we wish to motivate the younger generation to join the craft. And to take this to a new level, I want to set up a B to C model of Loom to Luxury for the domestic market. With this model, I also wish to revive and preserve some of our heritage patterns and designs.”

You can learn more about the creative process at Loom to Luxury's workshop through their Instagram page.