Startup to revitalize Kerala’s traditional looms with Hornbill


Trivandrum: Hornbill, a first-of-its-kind clothing line aimed at rebranding Kerala handloom globally and supporting the state’s struggling weaver craftsmen community, was launched today as part of a joint initiative by the Government of Kerala and social entrepreneurship startup, The People’s Company.

The first limited edition of Hornbill, consisting of 20 exquisite designs by leading designers and a collection of 60 garments, was launched by P H Kurien, Principal Secretary, Industries & IT, at the Czarina designer boutique in the State capital.

The People’s Company, which has been set up by six young people who graduated from the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram (CET) this year, has partnered the Government of Kerala for a project called ‘Operation Phoenix’ to help revive the state’s ailing handloom sector where more than 50,000 traditional weavers are struggling to survive.

“The response from the industry to the project so far has been very positive,” said Kurien. “The youth who are behind this are setting an example with their spirit of entrepreneurship and their social commitment. I’m sure Hornbill will go on to become an international brand.”

“We have got tremendous encouragement and support for this venture from the State government,” said Raqib Rasheed, Chairman of The People’s Company. He said the driving force of Hornbill and Operation Phoenix are a group of youth who chose a social cause over well-paid corporate jobs.

The first edition of the Horn bill line consists of ethnic women’s wear designed with intricate hand embroideries and block prints, glistening bead works, and tailored to perfection. Hornbill brings the fabrics woven from the highest quality silk and cotton from the looms of Mayyil in Kannur and Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram. The Hornbill collection also features cotton silk, a fabric developed on a market scale for the first time by Kerala Handlooms.

A number of student groups across the state have assisted the project, including the Hornbill branding, logo design and its promotion. WebopX, a start-up from CET, created the vibrant graphic designs while the artwork and structure for Hornbill’s visual merchandising came from fourth year architecture students of CET.

As part of the Operation Phoenix, The People’s Company will integrate all weavers’ societies into a single production system and create linkage between new generation fashion designers.

Kerala Biz News


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