Paithani sarees are an integral part of the Maharashtrian culture but still, it has faced its own hardships. Like any other handloom in India, even Paithani has gone through its own share of problems.
The market is inundated with counterfeit power loom Paithanis. These are simpler and quicker to make. It takes five to six hours to make one Paithani. The drawings are entered into a computer, and the power loom reproduces the designs. Because of their simplicity of production, these Paithanis are reasonably priced, ranging from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 10,000.
A genuine Paithani, on the other hand, has numerous distinguishing characteristics that may be used to identify it as a handloom Paithani, such as attentively inspecting the motifs, analyzing the material and zari, looking for flaws and warps in the saree, and so on. Because each Paithani saree is handwoven and features diverse and unique patterns, no two sarees are the same. One significant problem is design complexity. Apart from making the process more time taking it also increases the cost of the sarees. With the involvement of woven design specialists who may educate these craftsmen on some minimal designs that would relieve their stress. This will assist the craftsmen in achieving rapid returns while working on long-term projects.
Apart from that, Paithani’s artisans have a significant challenge in terms of design creativity. These artisans’ skills are advanced, rare, and crucial. Their recollections are limited to ancestor skill sets and modest customization requests from their consumers for the designs. As a result, a loss of design sense, awareness, and variety may be seen in all craftsmen’s work with a lack of creativity in design layouts and themes. Furthermore, there is a lower demand for authentic handloom Paithanis due to the high cost. People nowadays desire something simple to handle and maintain, thus the demand for sarees has decreased as well.
Professional designers, on the other hand, have already started to counteract the challenges for Paithani fabric by specifically dedicating their season’s collections to it. They implement this weaving technique with updated motifs or in monochromatic shades in diversified product ranges. This is not only providing employment to the weavers but also help produce items that reflect modern trends while preserving ancient techniques, patterns, and colors, as well as revitalizing organic dyeing and preparation procedures. Apart from that introducing this weaving technique the design modification in terms of exploration of motifs and colors is giving this craft a newer and bigger market.
Paithani Sarees are definitely a luxury for India being the beautiful craft that it is. In order to create more market for it the people need to be educated about the time consumed, the technicalities involved, the challenges faced and most of all, the effort required to make this craft. It needs to be positioned as a luxury and one should not even try to compete it with power loom-based replicas. These is where all the stakeholders of the fashion community can step in and promote this craft through their designs, storytelling, marketing, and packaging to make people get the feel and value of the stories behind this million-dollar saree.