Weaving the (loop)holes together.

Someone told me a joke when I was a kid, and I still remember it. And the joke goes like this: How does one make a mosquito net? Ans - By stitching all the holes together! At that age, I had found it too funny and had laughed my heart out. 

Cut two: In one of my north Karnataka textile expeditions, while passing through a small village, I met a local cooperative society manager who showed me a mosquito net made from ambara charaka handspun and handwoven cotton fabric! 

While interacting with the manager, I was told that the mosquito net made from the "Fabric of Freedom" had lost to the winds of change due to cheap, colourful, lightweight synthetic counterparts. Eventually, they dismantled the loom and stopped weaving these intricate net fabrics altogether. The weavers have moved on to weaving power loom silk sarees. 

Nevertheless, we bought existing abandoned and forgotten stock fabric, dyed it, and converted it into kitchen napkins. Due to its weaving construction, the napkin does its job well. 

 True luxury is preserving the threads connecting us to our past. 

But let's not dwell on how we got here; instead, let's pose questions. How do we bridge the rural-urban gap in consumption? Can skilful textiles be a new luxury? What's the role of brands in partnering with production units? Do craft entrepreneurs hold the key to preserving heritage? Who steers the ship of design intervention?

If we don't weave the fabric of connection between tradition and innovation, and if we don't stitch these (loop)holes together and if the "Fabric of Freedom" loses its place as a mosquito net, then the joke is on us. 

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