Textile revivalist Madhu Jain has been awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017 by President Ram Nath Kovind for her contribution to women's empowerment. The designer says it is a formal ratification of the invaluable skills of Indias master weavers and craftspeople.
"This award is much more than a personal validation of my work in the indigenous, organic textiles sector and my environmental concerns in producing textiles that leave the smallest carbon footprint.
"It is a formal ratification of the invaluable skills of India's master weavers and craftspeople whose artistry has been handed down to them generationally. I will continue to strive to revive ancient weaving techniques and to ensure livelihoods for India's artisanal sector," Jain said in a statement.
Jain was among the 30 individuals who were awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017 on the occasion of International Women's Day on Thursday. The award carries a certificate and cash award of Rs 1 lakh.
Tapping rural weaver communities through NGOs and self-help groups, Jain's work in eco-fashion and sustainable production is revitalising artisanal livelihoods across India by ensuring markets for weavers' generationally-honed skills.
Jain has also been instrumental in innovating new weaves and in reviving textiles and embroidery-notably, Nakshikantha and Dhaka Muslin-that were lost to India post-partition.
Over the last 15 years, Jain's experiments with alternative fibres led her to bamboo.
Sunil Sethi, President, Fashion Design Council of India, said he is proud that the fashion fraternity is being acknowledged and is being given its due for its work in the sustainable fashion space.
"Madhu's work leads by example. The future of sustainable fashion is immense. Such innovations are important for the environment. Every advancement in this sector benefits our weavers and karigars, and I am confident that this textile too shall prove to be an employment booster," he said.