Despite being heavily impacted by the global pandemic, India's textile industry has found a unique way to resurface and save lives and livelihoods in the process.
A few years ago, it was virtually impossible to envision face masks as a part of an everyday wardrobe, let alone a fashion statement. Yet, in a bizarre twist of events heralded by the coronavirus pandemic, that is exactly our 'new normal' today. What's more, the PPE industry is saving lives and livelihoods in India, and the world.
There are some moments that go down in history as iconic. Spoken words, images and clothes. A single moment captured in a picture, a snapshot history that triggers a movement. Think Abraham Lincoln in his stovepipe hat, giving his famous speech at the Cooper Institute in New York in February of 1860 against slavery. Centuries later, Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister took to the dais, a traditional red and white 'leirum phee' also known as 'gamcha' scarf wrapped around his face as a mask to rally a nation bogged under the onslaught of a pandemic that had brought the world to a stand still.
Modi's speech in that distinct scarf became iconic for his rallying cry to Indians for self-reliance and fortitude in the battle against Covid-19, as he announced one of the world's largest stimulus reforms package. That moment, that image in his red and white scarf has gone on to buoy up an entire cottage industry and inspired the larger textile industry by extension.