Handmade??

What is it that tells you that the kurta you just picked up from a store is genuinely handmade??

Here are a few things one should keep in mind when shopping for handicrafts and handlooms. The government has some certificates and trademark labels that distinguish the genuine from the fake.

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The Handloom mark comes in two forms:

  • Domestic Use : The word Handloom is written beneath the logo
  • International marketing : Same logo with the word ‘Hand woven in India’ written beneath it.

Each label is coded on its backside. For eg, DF followed by a code number for fabrics for domestic sale,DM followed by code number for readymades and garments for domestic sale.
Similarly,EF followed by code number for export fabrics and EM followed by code number for export ready-mades and garments.

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The Woolmark ensures pure wool.The Woolmark Company (India/SE Asia) is the branch company of “Woolmark” under Australian Wool Services- the world’s leading wool fibre textile authority with over 60 years experience. Having a Woolmark sign on carpets and other apparel proves the use of unadulterated wool. Presently,there are almost 300 million brands carrying the Woolmark around the world.

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Fair Trade Norms : This is not a trademark with a logo but all customers are entitled to know if the retailer is following fair trade norms. Fair Trade is an organised social movement and market-based approach to empowering developing country producers and promoting sustainability.

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The Silk Mark is a registered Trade Mark, introduced by Silk Mark Organisation of India (SMOI), a registered society sponsored by Central Silk Board,Ministry of Textiles,Government of India. It is a paper hand tag on which security hologram is affixed.The hologram contains a unique serial number which can be identified for its authorised user and period use. The hand tag is used on lot basis for silk yarn and small value items such as stoles,scarves and cushion covers. For silk fabric roll,a paper tag at one end is used.

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The Seal of Cotton : As recently as 2010, the Cotton Gold Alliance (CGA), in partnership with Cotton Council International and Cotton Incorporated,promoted the Seal of Cotton to identify 100% quality cotton products for domestic consumers.

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The Craftmark : It certifies that the particular product is ‘hand made in India’. Under this initiative,the All India Artisans and Craft Workers Association (AIACA) licenses the Craftmark logo for use by craft-based businesses,cooperatives and NGOs.

Caveat: These trademarks are given to people who pay and get themselves registered to attain an authentication mark. A lot of village-based craftsmen do not have any idea about these registrations,thus they never get the certificate.But that does not mean these craftsmen are not genuine.

Chinese fakes : There is a heavy influx of China manufactured craft pieces.For example,there are Channapatna toys made in China! There are no ways to differentiate between these Chinese look-alikes and genuine products. A lot of craftsmen are facing losses because of this influx.

If you want to support genuine handloom and craft, try to purchase it directly from the craftsmen or weavers,or buy it from established stores.

Help the hands that make India what it  uniquely is!

Source: Offbeat Magazine