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Trifed, M/O Tribal Affairs Spearheading Design Initiatives through Collaborations

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In a fast changing world, where modernity, technology and development have taken root and primitive indigenous ways of living are but a thing of the past, found in text books, India still has more than 200 tribal communities spread across the country. Tribal artisans, set in their lives, are still trying to preserve the arts and crafts and traditions of their communities. TRIFED of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been striving in its mission to empower these disadvantaged people by promoting the economic welfare of these communities and bringing them towards mainstream development. Amongst its various initiatives, implementations and programmes, one that requires highlighting is TRIBES India’s design initiative.

To bring more exposure to the empanelled tribal artisans and to bring their skill sets and products to international standards, TRIFED has partnered with ace renowned designers for promotion and design development over the past few months. Some of the names include Ms. Ritu Beri, Ms. Rina Dhaka, Ms. Ruma Devi, Ms. Winky Singh, Ms, Neera Nath and Ms. Rosie Ahluwalia.

As Trifed’s Chief Design Consultant, Ms. Rina Dhaka is bringing in her immense experience in the field to help tribal products and handicrafts get more exposure and a larger audience. In the Fashion week held at the annual Surajkund Mela in February 2020, she showcased her ethnic collection, which had on display designer pieces inspired by native tribal traditions. To ensure that talented artisans get a wider audience, she has been developing attractive gift packaging range for these tribal products and produce. Along with tribal artisans from Dhar district, Madhya Pradesh, she is developing new designs in Bagh print. The intent is to attract national and world-wide audiences as these beautifully packaged quality products are marketed not only in Tribes India outlets but also on e-commerce websites.

Additionally, espousing the cause of the tribal artisans, Ms. Rina Dhaka is promoting tribal handicrafts and products through a series of interviews with renowned personalities in her ongoing show, The Designer and The Muse, currently airing on News X.Interviews have been conducted with Ms. Gauhar Khan, Ms. Delnaaz Irani, Ms. Pooja Batra and Ms. Rakshanda Khan. Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, TRIFED was also featured on this show and he spoke about TRIFED’s role in empowering the tribal people.

Ms. Neera Nath, the renowned designer offered her aesthetic and design inputs when Tribes India’s flagship store in Mahadeo Road, New Delhi (which had been set up in 1997) was being revamped. A separate gallery has also been set up to showcase the products developed in collaboration with these designers.  The resultant revamped store and gallery helps display these exquisite goods in a more prominent and eye-catching manner. Ms. Neera Nath’s expertise contributed to beautifying the Dilli Haat store.

In a skill-upgradation programme launched by TRIFED, these consultant designers along with selected master craftsmen work closely with identified tribal clusters across the country. Each cluster has a minimum of 20 tribal artisans each. These clusters of artisans are encouraged to hone their skills by learning from the master craftsmen and imbibe the design inputs into their designs such that the handicrafts and products crafted will have an internationally accepted standing.15-20 designs will be displayed as capsule designs post the programme at Tribes India outlets.

Besides these initiatives, it was clearly a matter of pride when the evening gowns with a touch of tribal motifs, a collection titled Dikha Khadi created by Ms. Rosie Ahluwalia, were spotted at the Oscars this year. A proud moment indeed when the beautiful works of the talented tribals finally got a deserving outlet.

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