Inaugurating the renovated Handloom Haat in New Delhi’s Janpath recently, Indian Textiles Minister Smriti Irani launched three projects of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT)—VisionNXT-Trend Forecasting Initiative; Indian Textiles and Craft Repository; and Design Innovation and Incubation. She released a booklet, ‘World Handmade Textile Biennales’.

The Haat, set-up by the Ministry of Textiles, will offer marketing opportunities to authentic handloom products from various States, public sector undertakings and co-operative societies. Its main objective is to provide infrastructure support to handloom agencies to augment their sales of handloom products and to showcase the exquisite variety of handloom products produced all over the country, according to an official release.

The trend innovation lab ‘VisionNxt’ in the Haat building will create an indigenous fashion forecasting service that aims to design seasonal directions for India. The trend forecasting service would be aligned to the country’s national and sub-national socio-cultural constructs and market requirements.

It will help the handloom sector in production of handloom products as per market requirement in terms of trends, design and colour forecast. The body of textile and craft knowledge generated through the Craft Cluster Initiative will be channeled into a national knowledge portal titled Indian Textile and Craft Repository. This repository will also house the virtual registers of the textiles and crafts resources, which are available in the weaver service centres, the various crafts museums, similar institutions and private collections.

The repository will develop a virtual museum of textiles, and textile crafts, a designer archive, indigenous case studies, and also act as an aggregator of online information on related research. Design Innovation and Incubation (DII) is intended to support young entrepreneurs, artisans, start-ups, NIFT alumni and students. It will also facilitate collaborations relevant for business development.