V A R A N A S I
P R O J E C T
Experts believe the 500-year-old craft of Varanasi Silk
Jacquard Weaving could become extinct within a decade.
Just ten years ago
as many as 100,000 Indian handlooms were active,
but since the rise of the power loom and the outsourcing
of cheap labor to factories,
this number has been cut in half.
As the perceived value of handloom suffers,
younger Indians increasingly view the craft as unviable
and eschew the trade for its lack of modern relevancy.
There exists a pressing need to reinstate the value of
the Indian handloom culture and craft.
In partnership with artisan group Loom to Luxury,
Nest is committed to reviving Varanasi silk jacquard
by generating unprecedented awareness and demand
for the technique, reinvigorating the industry,
celebrating its artisans and reversing the tradition’s
dangerous trend toward extinction.
In Varanasi, Nest is partnering with Indian Charitable
Trust, RASA, to construct a silk weaving atelier designed
by world-renowned architect David Adjayein.
Nest also implemented a design consultancy with Megan
Ryley (formerly of Carolina Herrara and Oscar de la Renta),
who spent months in Varanasi teaching contemporary
color theory while guiding Loom to Luxury artisans
through the development of their first
solo collection of silks.
The Varanasi Project has become a worldwide
phenomenon. It generated 100 million media
impressions, developed 65 new contemporary
textile designs, achieved 100% increase in clients
and established over 250 new brand contacts.
Varanasi silk appeared on 3 Paris runways in Fall 2015.
Words & Photo: Nest