Reid & Taylor strengthens Kashmir Bond

Global fabric giant Reid & Taylor is procuring more tweed from Kashmir and promises to showcase it in a big way. Haroon Mirani reports.
Strengthening its bond with Kashmir Tweed, Global fabric giant Reid & Taylor is planning to promote the fabric at a global level.
The company has recently placed orders for procuring Kashmir tweed, branded as Poshish, from Jammu and Kashmir Handloom Development Corporation (JKHDC) for the second consecutive year. This time the purchase was worth Rs 1.25 crore.
The company that plans to showcase the fabric at its showrooms across India also has plans to patent the handmade product.
Ashwani Mishra, Marketing president Reid & Taylor, who was in Srinagar to finalise the procurement deal last week, said that Poshish has a bright future.
“Its quality is terrific and it is equal to world-famous Harris Tweed of Scotland,” said Mishra. “I am sure Poshish is to conquer the markets in a big way in the near future.”
Reid & Taylor has embarked on an ambitious programme in a joint venture with Jammu Kashmir Handloom Development Corporation to promote the fabric.
“We will patent the product to protect the interests of the product and the people associated with it,” said Misra. The company plans to go for GI (Geographical Indication) registration of the product that will safeguard the product from counterfeits.
Managing director Jammu Kashmir Handloom Development Corporation (JKHDC) Showkat Ali while confirming the news said that both sides are working on the project. “Poshish tweed has a huge potential,” said Ali. “We produce 4 to 5 lakh metres of high-quality Tweed and if we are able to find a high-value market, it will do wonders with our industry.”
According to Mishra, “We will introduce these Tweed products in our showrooms in a phased manner.” The company manufactures Jackets and Skirts from Poshish Tweed and it has 20,000 showrooms spread all over India. “Most of the products were sold in Indian markets but we are also planning to export them now,” said Mishra.
The company also plans to go for international branding of Poshish Tweed in the future. JKHDC on the other hand is also experimenting with new designs and colour combinations, which are in high demand all over the world.
This year, Reid & Taylor purchased 10,000 metres of tweed, 5000 shawls and 2000 blankets from Kashmir. Last year the order only included Tweed and Shawls. The company officials will also be visiting Jammu soon where they are expected to finalise the deal on buying cotton fabric. The total value of the order is around 1.25 crore rupees, which is expected to increase as the company is mulling to further increase the purchasing order in near future.
According to Mishra, the company is happy with high quality of Kashmiri products.
Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India where hand made tweed is produced. “Punjab too manufactures the tweed but that is a blend of so many wools and it is machine-made,” said Ali.
According to JKHDC officials, the order will help around 30,000 families associated with the craft that has been reeling under the impact of the global recession. Ali said that it is a great step towards making the corporation self-reliant. “Reid and Taylor was introduced to our corporation by JK Bank Chairman Haseeb Drabu and it has become our valued customer.”
Corporation insiders say that the orders should open the eyes of the government. “Government had thrown us on our own and told us to find economic viability by yourself,” said an official of JKHDC. “We had asked for some time and some assistance but they flatly refused and they had thought the corporation would die its own death.”
The company insiders say that had the government taken such an approach earlier, Kashmir would have been a changed place today. “Lakhs of people are associated with handicrafts sector and if they had taken JKHDC on priority basis, it would have brought in economic revolution,” said the official. “Although JKHDC too had some lacunae but political will was always the marring factor.”

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