Luxury is a term very relative to the context in which it is being used. Due to the globalisation of business especially of the luxury industry, luxury is defined from a global perspective, which leads to the omission of regional specialties from the definition of luxury for the sake of a broad international coverage. Today luxury, within the context of design, is being redefined. High-function trumps high-price, and subtle design details are favoured over ostentatious add-ons. Craft and materiality, storytelling, play an important role in modern luxury.
Leading western luxury houses like the 175 year old French house Hermes, 160 year old English house Burberry and many more such revere in the legacy of the brand. Heritage and tradition are inherent values of such brands. Handcrafted products along with quality craftsmanship and the exclusivity of every piece make them desirable by the consumers. Timeless yet innovative designs, contemporary functionality and the use of highest quality materials make them find a place for themselves in the luxury market.
Indian handloom fabrics like Khadi were made to be a household fabric for the masses during the freedom struggle. Everybody was encouraged to weave their own fabric while banning the consumption of cheap fabrics sold by the British. This made handloom fabrics accessible to all segments of the society. This could be one of the major hindrances in witnessing handwoven textiles as luxury.
In the luxury world, building a strong brand is of utmost importance. Giving a global platform to Indian handlooms can potentially be the first step towards the ultimate goal. Christian Dior’s Fall 2009 Ready-to-Wear collection showcased mainly Asian-inspired embroidery, brocade, and paisley-print along with harem pants, jumpsuits, bold gold medallion jewellery, and a rainbow of colours. It brought Ikats and silk fabrics to the main stage. An Ad Campaign by Volkswagen in 2010 featured Volkswagen Phaeton in Kalamkari motifs with the title, Handcrafted Luxury. However there has to be a more indigenous face behind it and a constant effort by the Indians to promote what is their own. Packaging is another key factor that plays an essential role in the branding of a product. The humility of Indian Handlooms leads to underestimating its real worth. With the overpowering power looms, the introduction of the Handloom Mark will also establish trust in the authenticity of the product and quality. It will be a hallmark of powerful creative work that defines the product with clarity, distinguishing it from competition and connecting it with customers.