After Nick Jonas’ ‘Solapuri chaddar shirt’ attracts attention, manufacturers eye profit
PUNE Solapuri chaddar, cotton sheets, came into the limelight last week after actor Priyanka Chopra’s pop-star husband Nick Jonas flaunted a printed shirt resembling the same fabric and design.
Once very popular, the customer base for Solapuri chaddars have shrunk. Hence manufacturers are emphasising the changes in the weight, colour and designs without compromising the identity of the brand and are hoping that Jonas’s fashion trick would help in rebranding of the chaddars
Now more looms in Solapur are producing ‘terry towels’ and napkins, which are the popular export material, manufacturers.
“The looming business of Solapuri chaddar was huge from 1993 to 2003. In 2006 20,000 looms were producing the chaddars. We have carried out a survey in Solapur after the second wave of Covid-19. Now there are only 16,000 functional looms. Out of these 12,000 looms produce ‘terry towels’ and 4,000 are jacquard chaddar looms. At least 50,000 workers are directly or indirectly dependent on the industry,” said Raju Rathi, president of Solapur Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture and secretary of Solapur Yantramag Dharak Sangh.
When Jonas’s photo wearing a shirt with a similar design of Solapuri Chaddar posted on social media platforms went viral and everyone noticed the logo of the ‘Chatla’ manufacturing industry of the chaddar on the shirt, much to the amusement of netizens.
Govardhan Chatla, the owner of Chatla Textile Industries in Solapur, said that it was a pleasant surprise for them as well. Chatla also emphasised the innovations in the designs and texture of the Solapuri chaddar without compromising its true identity to remain relevant in the business.
“Earlier there were few options in the beading and customers used to prefer low cost, durable and dark coloured chaddars. Gradually the needs of the people changed. They have started to prefer light and easily washable options. We made changes in the manufacturing accordingly. We now produce light chaddar which can be washed in the machine,” said Chatla.
He also said that customers should buy only original Solapuri chaddars as the many imitated items have now come into the market which is hampering the business of manufactures.
Though Jonas flaunted a shirt with a design like Solapuri Chaddar, manufacturers do not think it would be a popular fashion choice in the local market. But they are hoping that it would help in the rebranding of the GI tagged product.
“Solapuri chaddar is thick. The jackets made out of it may not go well in our market considering our climatic conditions. But initiatives like these surely help to make the product popular and draw people’s attention to it,” said Rathi.
Apart from the chaddars, Solapur’s garment industry has become a huge producer of the popular export item ‘terry towels’.
“The terry towels on jacquard are exported and they are in demand from abroad. Whereas chaddars are not exported. Terry towels and napkins have dominated the space in Solapur’s garment industry,” said Suhas Rawade, manufacturer of the terry towels.