Abhilasha Bahuguna, an entrepreneur from Dehradun, recently won the NASSCOM Inspire Award 2022-23 for Technology Adoption in Small Industry Category for Smart Value Chain in New Delhi.
Bahuguna’s efforts were recognized for upskilling first-generation semi-skilled artisans of Ladakh to skilled manufacturers and owners of the fashion label ‘Looms of Ladakh’.
Bahuguna, founder and director of Looms of Ladakh, nurtured the brand and ensured the participation of the designer and producer artisans in apparel manufacturing and management.
“We are implementing a disruptive and socially embedded technological system which would enable the artisans access timely information to make good quality products resulting in more work and income for the members,” said Abhilasha Bahuguna after receiving the award.
Looms of Ladakh Women Cooperative Ltd has built a global luxury brand that adds value to pashmina fiber at source region and retails from its flagship store in Leh and Manhattan, New York, Bahuguna added.
The apparel manufacturing at Looms of Ladakh takes place in 22 decentralized villages in Leh and Kargil districts, with the distance between villages and Leh town from 10 to 250 km at an altitude of 9000-17000 feet.
The decentralized village centers manufacture standardized handknits like sweaters, socks, caps, and gloves, along with wovens like shawls, stoles, and scarves with Ladakh Pashmina and Wool in the range of INR 2000-30000.
The centralized atelier in Leh has started manufacturing apparel, and the Chushul work studio is ready for apparel manufacturing unit expansion, Bahuguna said.
Looms of Ladakh Women Cooperative Ltd. is also launching a social initiative labeled ‘Perak’ with Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) Ladakh in April 2023.
The apparel label includes coats, jackets, trousers, dresses, shirts, and home furnishings with Khadi Cotton, Ladakhi Wool, and Eri Silk. The product categories fall under the Premium Category ranging from INR 1500-10000.
The producer-owned brand is establishing decentralized apparel manufacturing industry in frontier villages of Leh and Kargil districts through infrastructure development, capacity building, institution building, and brand building – all of it simultaneously. It is being supported by NABFOUNDATION and AWWA Ladakh.
The Smart Value Chain Initiative of Looms of Ladakh is sponsored by SIDBI. Looms of Ladakh won the sponsorship as a grant in SIDBI Swavlamban Challenge Fund. The technology partner of Looms of Ladakh is KOSHA Technology, Bangalore.