Title: ICT for the renewal of a traditional industry: a case study of Kancheepuram silk sarees

Authors: B. Bowonder, J.V. Sailesh

Addresses: Tata Management Training Centre, No. 1, Mangaldas Road, Pune 411 001, India. ' Administrative Staff College of India, Bella Vista, Hyderabad 500 082, India

Abstract: The silk industry in Kancheepuram is one of the fastest growing industries in India. The industry currently employs more than 30,000 weavers for saree making. This was not the scenario in the past. The industry had to compete with the synthetic fibre industry in many aspects. One of the major drawbacks of the silk industry in Kancheepuram was the lack of support from technology. The industry was on the brink of extinction due to the obsolescence of the designs and design making procedures. This is because design adds splendour to a saree and forms an integral part of its exquisiteness. A recent development in the designing field is the introduction of computerised Jacquard borders in the Kancheepuram silk saree. The use of information and communications technology (ICT) has not only helped in creating new and complex designs but has also reduced the time involved in the process. There has been an increase in the exports. The acceptance of these silk sarees by the consumers has also increased with the automation of the designing process. Visualisation of saree designs ahead of its production and the ability to create new colour combinations at the click of a mouse has increased the flexibility and reduced the time for realising new designs. Though the materials and the techniques are changing with the market demand, the motifs are still conventional in accordance with the customs and traditions of the Kancheepuram saree. The silk industry in Kancheepuram has been transformed into a high growth industry by the opening up of new avenues for the traditional weavers.

Keywords: ICT; silk industry; saree design; traditional industry; Kancheepuram silk sarees; computerised visualisation; India; ICT adoption; ICT diffusion; information technology; communications; developing countries; computer-aided design; CAD; saree weaving; Jacquard borders; design automation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2005.007414

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2005 Vol.6 No.3/4/5, pp.342 - 355

Available online: 18 Jul 2005 *

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