Digikala started as a project for the love of Ikat handlooms of Odisha. The project envisaged a marriage of hand woven textiles and digital technologies to enhance and expand the appeal of handloom products. The intention was to preserve the age old tradition of Ikat weaving and empowering handloom weavers to sustain themselves in the competitive market.
The project was started at Nuapatna and Barpali clusters by Digital Empowerment Foundation, supported by Microsoft. Digikala, while centered around handloom weavers, is much more; from Digital Literacy, to enabling government support for weavers, to creating Self-Help Groups, to executing a wireless for communities(W4C) project for the village and creating a design archive for the cluster.
As a labour of love and trust by Digikala team, we have been able to support weavers across the cluster, support them with design skills, and most importantly, by creating a market which the weavers can directly access and feel empowered to take the tradition of ikat weaving to a digital future, without losing essence.