The Chanakya School Is Helping Indian Women Build Futures Through Craft & Design

The Chanakya School Is Helping Indian Women Build Futures Through Craft & Design
Chanakya School of Craft

Rooted in a vision to address pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges, global textile house Chanakya International's commitment to fostering holistic advancement is exemplified through its flagship initiative, the Chanakya School of Craft. Here, the focus is not just on teaching hand embroidery techniques but on empowering women from underserved communities, unlocking their full potential, and elevating their quality of life. Through visionary education, role-model cultivation, and a strong community ethos, the Chanakya School of Craft is paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow. Led by the visionary Artistic Director Karishma Swali, Chanakya International's collaborations with renowned fashion houses like Dior, Gucci, Prada, and Valentino have transcended mere partnerships to become timeless legacies.

At the heart of Chanakya's ethos lies a profound commitment to the preservation, conservation, and revival of India's artistic heritage. Recognizing the need to institutionalize craftsmanship and address socio-economic challenges, Chanakya International birthed the Chanakya School of Craft in 2016. This non-profit institution stands as a testament to Chanakya's mission of nurturing talent, empowering communities, and celebrating cultural diversity.

The school's curriculum is designed to teach over 300 hand embroidery techniques while drawing inspiration from historical female figures. Its holistic approach extends beyond skill-building to encompass modules on global craft and culture, design thinking, business acumen, and entrepreneurship. What sets the Chanakya School of Craft apart is its dedication to empowering women and providing them with a platform to thrive as skilled artisans and entrepreneurs.

Under the guidance of master craftsmen and collaborations with esteemed artists like Judy Chicago, Manu Parekh, and Madhvi Parekh, the school has transformed the lives of over a thousand women from diverse backgrounds. These artisans, equipped with mastery in craft techniques and a global perspective on design, have embarked on projects that echos Chanakya's message of inclusivity and excellence.

Karishma Swali's vision for Chanakya transcends mere craftsmanship; it embodies a narrative of cultural sustainability and global outreach. Reflecting on Chanakya's journey, Karishma shares, "Our country holds the deepest, widest, and most skilled artisan base in hand-craftsmanship globally. It is a national treasure we are honored to showcase." With a legacy spanning over four decades, Chanakya continues to bridge the gap between textile heritage & contemporary design; representing India's finest craftsmanship on a global stage.

The latest collaboration between Chanakya International and visual artist Isabella Ducrot at the Dior Couture Spring-Summer 2024 show epitomizes this ethos. The monumental installation 'Big Aura', crafted by female artisans from the Chanakya School of Craft, celebrates the rhythmic essence of life through intricate block-printing, hand-painting, and basket-weaving techniques.

As the Chanakya School of Craft continues to nurture talent and preserve heritage, it serves as a beacon of inspiration for future generations; embodying the timeless essence of craftsmanship and cultural pride.

Follow the Chanakya School of Craft here.