Dharavi, one of the largest slums in the world, is located in Bombay, India, and is home to over a million people. Over the years multiple industries have been developed in the slum. However, the leather industry is the oldest and has flourished over the years providing employment to thousands. The thriving Dharavi leather industry has won recognition for its quality and workmanship on a global scale.
The industry, which has long been a pillar of Dharavi’s economy, consists of skilled artisans who produce everything from shoes and bags to belts and wallets. The Dharavi leather industry has shown incredible endurance and innovation in the face of constraints such as a lack of infrastructure and funding availability, opening possibilities for both the local economy and the global market.
In this blog, we’ll provide you with a brief overview of how this industry works and what you can expect on your Dharavi slum tour. We’ll help you create a visual image of the lives of those who work in the leather industry and how their entrepreneurial spirit has helped turn the traditional craft of leather manufacturing into a thriving industry.
Dharavi leather industry: A thriving business since the ’50s
Leatherwork is a traditional skill that has a long and rich history dating back several years.
The Dharavi leather industry flourished over the years making it a significant economic contributor to Mumbai. Numerous families rely on the leather industry as a source of income to support their families and community.
With thousands of manufacturing units operating in small cramped spaces, the industry employs thousands and generates business worth millions. On your Dharavi slum tour, you will witness how the skilled artisans of the Dharavi leather industry have inherited the craft from previous generations.
The industry is known to produce a range of leather goods like wallets, belts, bags, and many other accessories, These accessories are made from high-quality leather making them popular among locals and tourists alike. Several high-end fashion brands buy leather jackets from the Dharavi market, for their high quality and craftsmanship.
Here is how the leather industry is made in Dharavi:
The leather-making process begins with the cleaning of the raw hides or skin which is then soaked and prepared for the tanning process. This process is important as it ensures the leather is durable and of high quality. Since this process is harmful to humans, Dharavi gets its leather that is tanned at government tanning plants that work on a national scale.
After the tanning process, the leather is dyed at Dharavi. The craftsmen in the industry, use a range of natural and synthetic dyes to give the leather its unique texture and color. The dyeing process needs to be repeated several times to achieve the desired hues for different leather goods.
Once the dyeing process is complete, the leather is ready for finishing. The leather is polished, buffed, and treated with a finishing agent to ensure durability and improve the leather’s appearance.
To make this process efficient, the leather artisans in Dharavi use a range of traditional and modern equipment and tools. Single tools like scrapers and knives are used to cut and shape the leather by hand. To improve the quality of leather goods, craftsmen have been using modern equipment like stitching machines and cutting machines.
Despite the technological advancements, traditional techniques are a vital part of the Dharavi industry. Hand-stitching techniques are used to create those intricate designs and patterns on the leather, these help create unique pieces that reflect the craftsmanship and maker’s skill.
At our Dharavi tour, we will help you witness how the leather-making process is more than a way to make a living. Our Mumbai tour will also provide you with a detailed explanation of how this industry Dharavi leather industry molds the entrepreneurial spirit of the workers. It is a part of the vast community’s identity, passed on from generation to generation, and celebrated as an art form. It is a process that reflects the creativity and resilience of the community, making it the place to buy fancy leather accessories.
Reimagine Entrepreneurship at the leather industry in dharavi
Dharavi’s leather artisans have been perfecting their skills for decades, and the community’s entrepreneurial spirit is amazing. The entrepreneurial spirit of the leather industry workers in Dharavi is evident in the way they have organized themselves into clusters. These clusters are associations of small leather-making units that work to create premium leather items. They share resources, including raw materials, to produce goods that are both unique and of the finest quality showcasing frugal innovation.
Workers in the Dharavi leather industry have been quick to adopt new techniques and technologies to match global standards. Artisans have preserved traditional techniques like dyeing and hand stitching while also embracing modern techniques like cutting machines to make unique leather goods. Despite encountering many challenges, they have created a booming industry that is an essential component of the local economy.
The Dharavi leather industry is proof of the workers’ entrepreneurial approach. They have succeeded in building a strong industry with a long history despite experiencing many difficulties. The fascinating process of manufacturing leather in Dharavi is filled with artisans who have spent years perfecting their trade. The people of Dharavi are unquestionably tenacious and determined, and they will continue to build on their success.
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