Malavika Banerjee and Bappaditya Biswas on how Byloom survived the big, bad slowdown and came out stronger
When Byloom opened its doors in 2011, the chaos of the ‘phygital’ space was just teething and was by no means as dramatic as it is now, on the label’s tenth anniversary. Nevertheless, the minds behind the platform were keenly aware of how selling handlooms online could be a game-changer.
“Our virtual presence really did save us, especially after the devastating Amphan which affected our weavers so hard. But we embraced online retail in a big way. The last decade has been so significant in terms of the virtual shift, because handloom is not just about the volume game but it’s quite crucial for the online spectrum, so it encouraged us to push ourselves,” Malavika Banerjee, of Byloom, shares.
Byloom was designed as a dedicated platform to uphold and nurture homegrown handloom and indigenous textile traditions. And Bappaditya Biswas, the mind behind Byloom’s winning designs, confirms that a decade later, the label stays committed to supporting the weavers. “I remember I had made a post about how our weaver communities were affected in the Amphan and we were overwhelmed with the support. When millennials buy something now they also think about the intrinsic value and the human contribution involved, it’s all a very conscious process now, even more so amid the pandemic,” Biswas says.
With its newest line, Byloom carries forward the tradition of recalling design legacies from homegrown communities to make the forgotten narratives more relevant to urban women. “For our summer line-up we’ve revived naksha borders, in another range we’ve featured a special kind of embroidery called ‘bonbibi’, which is from the Sundarbans. Then there’s a form of handspun technique called ‘takli’ which we’ve used on contemporary cotton numbers and we have also introduced a new kind of baluchari that’s less figure-based; it’s an old school form of design with small ‘bootis,’ because historically, the Mughal would not wear figures on their bodies so they would go for ‘bootis,’” Biswas reveals.