In Rabkavi Bagalkot, a small village in Karnataka, Banahatti’s multicolored handloom saris have been made in small family-run businesses for generations.
These saris are made of pure cotton in most cases, have little to no designs on them and are breathable and comfortable, making them perfect for hot summers.
They are worn on festive occasions in the village, and their simple minimalist look is versatile, making them suitable for office workers, professionals and teachers who reside in greater Karnataka. Banahatti handloom saris are sold for Rs. 1500 on average, making them affordable for every budget.
In the past, the traditional handloom businesses of Rabkavi Bagalkot went through a period of incredible boom. In the 80s, Banahatti handloom saris were in huge demand. However, now that mill-made saris and power looms have taken over, many handloom weavers are not able to keep up. As a result, handloom, especially in Rabkavi Banahatti district, has seen a steep fall.
Over the past 30 years, many handloom businesses are shutting shop due to unpaid bank loans and are seeking alternative employment. Retail clothing is sold at very cheap prices, making it extremely difficult to compete and make ends meet. Handloom weavers earn only 200-250 rupees per day, and usually sell a 1-2 meter piece of cloth for 200-300 rupees, whereas a simple factory-made sari of 8 meters is sold for 350 rupees.
Today, handloom weavers only make cloth pieces and simple saris, so unfortunately people are moving away from handloom clothing and the art form is slowly dying through lack of patronage. In Banahatti, there are 1427 handlooms, of which only 636 are still working. In Rabkavi for instance, only 697 of 1083 are still working, according to the February 2019 data provided by the Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation.
Banahatti Saris are made of pure cotton, simple in design, breathable and comfortable to wear. Supporting this authentic weave of Karnataka, ensures the longevity of this traditional art form.