Gestures by Kriti team
– an artisanal and community livelihood support initiative
“Wearing your politics on your sleeve, literally, doesn’t mean a loss of fashionableness
Telling the world that you care about artisan, weaver and women’s groups in Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal by wearing clothes produced by them doesn’t mean a dip in your coolness quotient”
Founded in 1999, the Kriti team (a not-for-profit organisation) independently began the initiation and incubation of a community made enterprise for preserving the artisanal and craft heritage of our country, for conserving the environment and supporting community producers’ livelihoods—GESTURES. Our aim is to produce ethically and create a consumer culture that will not harm human beings or the environment, by way of the products they buy from us.
The Gestures logo represents the tree of life which connects us to the earth and universe in more than one way.
We work closely with community organisations and committed individuals in identifying and partnering with weavers, artisans and community producers who can handcraft and revive lost crafts as also work with contemporary design ideas. This is an initiative to share ‘a gift’ to the self and others – products for the body, mind and soul - that are eco-friendly and ethically produced across rural & urban landscapes all over India. All the products at Gestures are good quality in terms of raw materials and manufacturing, as they are hand woven and handcrafted by local talented artisans and producer groups who are part of the recovery of lost skills and crafts.
The ‘Gestures’ products are not limited to any one type or class, in fact, these products range from stationary to cosmetics, toys to stoles and shawls, home décor to t-shirts, organic foods to jewellery, gifts to art and more. They represent the diversity of artisans, weavers, producers and users and symbolise the coming together of many ‘gestures’—from Delhi, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Punjab, Odisha, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh. These marginal and low-income artisans and communities of women and men, young and old, differently abled and heritage based artists are trained in their local crafts and production, and represent what India stands for—a life of caring and sharing. Gestures brings the entire skill set of Indian creativity and heritage at one place, www.gestures.in
Your purchase at Gestures will enable these artisans, weavers and communities have decent work opportunities, earn a secure livelihood and build their lives, which we all agree is a right for everyone—to have access to good education, food, health and housing. The earnings from these product sales are directly given to the community producer groups when you buy from Gestures.
Come shop and support Gestures and make your ecofootprint in building a clean, green and happy environment, while also allowing yourself to lead a healthy and sustainable ‘life’work’style.
The India Runway Week 2017 Collection from Gestures by Kriti team
Handwoven Cotton and Silk Stoles, Dupattas and Sarees by weavers from
West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha.
Rabhas are a relatively unknown tribal community residing in the districts bordering Assam and West Bengal and belong to the Indo-Mongoloid group. In West Bengal, they are forest dwellers spread across the forests of Duars region of north Bengal. Traditionally they depend on agriculture and non-timber forest produce. Rabhas are shy in nature and rarely connect with the outside world. Rabha women are traditionally skilled in extra weaves with colourful and flowing floral and geographical patterns. It was a part of their cultural expression. They still weave but mostly for their own use and for their own festivals such as marriages. Living isolated in the forest villages, with no external support and lack of market opportunities, Rabha women have not been able to transform their exquisite weaving skills to a livelihood option. Partnerships with local groups is making it possible to revive this traditional Rabha Weave, providing them an opportunity not only to continue with their weaving but also earn their livelihood through marketing support and revive their cultural expression at the same time. The initiative is in its infancy, started in early 2014, with a group of women in one of the forest villages of Buxa forests. This year, the women of Mendabari forest village of the Chilapata forests have joined this initiative. Currently, the community of weavers are creating Stoles, Dupattas, Sarongs and Sarees, but have endless possibilities.
Baragaon Weaves, Uttar Pradesh
Inspired by the village of Baragaon and the life of the weavers near Lucknow, we work with local partners to assist weavers in distress—especially as they struggle under the onslaught of mechanisation and exploitative middlemen, providing them capacity building, design development and marketing assistance. The effort ensures that weavers are given just and dignified wages, their handloom weaving craft is respected and handloom weaving becomes fashionable. The complete collection currently includes handwoven pure Cotton Fabric, Stoles, Dupattas, Sarees, Men’s Shirts and Kurtas.
Banarasi Silk Weaves, Varanasi
The handwoven silk stoles are by Bachalal Maurya, National and State Awardee, Handloom Weaver, Varanasi. He is a skilled artisan, who inherited the art of weaving from his ancestors. The resident of Chhahi village, Sarnath, is a Geographical Indication (GI) and handloom mark registered artisan, with a wide assortment of products such as Stoles, sarees, running material and suits. His speciality, the Kabir Doha stole was presented to PM Modi on the eve of National Handloom Day, 2015!
Contemporary Ikat Silk Weaves (Stoles)
Ikat weaving is locally called Bandha (meaning ‘to tie’) in Odisha, the largest centre for intricate and fine curvilinear ikat designs (popular across the world as Sambalpuri Ikats). The Ikat technique requires the yarns to be tied and dyed repeatedly in accordance to the design to bring about the desired colours at the desired places and ultimately with the simple interlacement of the threads the design is produced on the fabric. The work of a local design studio in Odisha with weavers who had stopped weaving or were migrating is finding its way to Gestures by Kriti. The complete collection includes stoles, dupattas and sarees.