Bhubaneswar: It’s time for college girls and women in Odisha’s capital city to cheer up after being confined to home due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown and shutdown. They have the chance for a makeover of their wardrobe as the handlooms and handicrafts fair ‘Cottonfab’ is in town.
“We have come to Odisha with the exhibition for the first time this season. After relaxation of lockdown, we planned to organize the fair and started approaching the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). We’ve got permission now,” said Javed Khan, a member of the organizing team of Cottonfab.
“The exhibition provides a platform for weavers from different parts of the country to display their creations to the customers directly. The weavers faced a huge loss this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They did not have work for 10 months. We are happy and thankful to authority of Bhubaneswar that they have given permission to exhibit our products,” said Javed, adding that the fair in Bhubaneswar is normally held in August every year.
“We are following all guidelines. The fair is being held in an open space. To avoid large gatherings, we have maintained enough space between the rows of stalls. A gap of six metres is maintained after every three stalls. We are also doing sanitizing and thermal scanning at the entry points. Besides, we are sanitizing the exhibition ground frequently,” he informed.
The products on offer include gossamer silks, chic cottons, dainty drapers, intimation jewellery.
There is a wide range of various styles and designs available in the fair. Buyers can choose between Lucknowi kurtis with heavy Chikankari in soft cotton, bright-coloured threadwork on pastel-shaded cotton, Madhya Pradesh’s Chanderi, Maheshwari, to Kashmiri embroidery, hand-embroidered stoles, Gujarati print dress material, Kachhi Ajrak with Banjara embroidery, Rajasthani block-printed material in Sanganeri and Dhaboo with Indigo, Kota-Masuria in cotton and Kota-Doria silk saris in natural and florescent colours and ethnic lehenga choli. Palazzos and ghagharas are also on sale.
“Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we the artisans and weavers were unemployed since March and faced financial crisis. Many of us are on the verge of starvation because we used to depend on sale of our products through these events,” said Abdul Ansari, a weaver of Lucknow.
“I have Lucknowi stitched dress materials and readymade dress in a price range between Rs 450 and Rs 6,000. But customers have not been coming to the fair like in previous years. Hope we will not face such a situation in the future,” wished Ansari.
The Awadh Hathkargha, Hastshilp Evam Gramodyog Samiti is organising the exhibition for promoting weavers and artisans from different parts of the country.
The exhibition this year features 90 handloom and 30 handicraft stalls. A wide variety of jewellery and shoes are also available in the exhibition.
“Due to COVID-19, we were unable to go shopping all these months. Now we are very happy to shop in such an open space and with lots of varieties. After a long time, I will add some ethnic outfits in my wardrobe,” said Nibedita Parida, a customer who had come with her friends.
The 12th edition of the exhibition began on December 19 and will continue up to January 17.