Advisory Board

The Handloom School is managed by a fulltime Executive Director. Executive Director works in close coordination with Advisory Board Members of The Handloom School.

Advisory Board Members

David Goldsmith

David Goldsmith is a PhD candidate at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, Sweden and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design, New York. David has taught English for Handloom Weavers at WomenWeave on many occasions. His research explores the relationships between small scale artisanal textile production, sustainability, and the slow fashion movement.

Tamara Albu

tamara-albuTamara Albu is an Associate Professor at Parsons, The New School for Design, New York. Tamara is visiting faculty at fashion institutes across the world including Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, London College of Fashion, and on the advisory committee of fashion marketing and design groups across the world. She has in the past worked with brands such as Christian Dior, Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret.

Rene Repko

rene-repkoRene Repko is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rituals, a Netherlands HQ multi product based company that has presence in 10 countries across the world. Rene has over three decades of branding and strategic marketing experience across multiple sectors including textiles, luxury products and hospitality. Rene has a background in social sciences and Economics from Amsterdam and a professional degree in advanced management from Harvard Business School.

Sally Holkar

sally-holkarSally Holkar graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Political Science. She married in India and has lived there since 1979.  She co-founded REHWA Society in 1978 and headed that organisation until 2000. In 2003, she founded WomenWeave Charitable Trust and presently serves as Founder CEO.

Feruzan Mehta


Feruzan Mehta has been an educator since 1985, going on to specialize in curriculum development and teacher training, for mainstream schools as well as those in marginalized communities (including a school for handloom weavers’ children). Feruzan’s specific interest and involvement in peace education began in 1993. She is currently the Founder and Executive Director of The Peace Projec

Shilpa Sharma

shilpa-sharmaShilpa Sharma is an independent retail consultant and serial entrepreneur. She is the founder of Breakaway and co-founder of In her previous role, she was head of marketing at FabIndia. Shilpa has a decade and a half of experience in the craft retailing sector and is responsible for starting 87 stores for FabIndia across India and Dubai.

Carole Tiernan

carole-tiernanDr. Carole Tiernan is a consultant & President of Palmer Tiernan Associates, a design research group involved in strategic planning for education, communities and  large-scale organizations. She has taught design, theory and research courses as a professor of architecture at Washington University in St Louis and Iowa State  University. She has also been involved in the development of programs, curricula and interdisciplinary courses at various universities. Over the years, her research has  focused on integrating creativity, learning and complex design, specifically related to innovative learning environments that pursue a life-sustaining ethic.

Anne Johnson

anne-johnsonAnne Johnson is a freelance creative director and project consultant, specializing in brand development, advertising and editorial projects. Her assignments have ranged from print advertising and television commercials, to books, magazines and digital content. Known for a stylistic sensibility that is both bold and refined, Anne creates lively visual concepts to address the individual needs of her clients. She was raised in England and currently lives in New York City.

Himadri Ghose

himadri-ghoseDr. Himadri Ghose is the Director of Banasthali Institute of Design and Dean. Faculty of Design. In his earlier roles, he was the Chairperson, Education at NID and consultant to UNIDO, Geneva. He has developed design courses for several colleges across the country including Banasthali Institute of Design, NIFT Tirupur, SDPS Women’s College, Indore, amongst others. He has been working as a mentor to several craft organisations across the country.

Neelima Rao

neelima-raoNeelima Rao is the creative director at Adhya Designs and works with multiple craft groups across the country as an educator and advisor in traditional crafts. She welds modern design aesthetics with the Indian craft tradition to create products. She has worked with the Devi Design Studio, Maspar group amongst others and has close to two decades of experience.

Jeff Oakes

jeff-oaksJeff Oakes is a designer, architect and social entrepreneur, and trained architect. Jeff made the shift some years ago from corporate architecture to creating beautiful hand-woven and hand-printed textiles with gifted artisans around the world. He has vast international experience and brings this unique perspective, along with his past work at Gap Inc to his work at Jeff Oakes Design, a studio he runs since early 2008 with the vision of achieving a balance between dynamic, vital design and timeless traditions.

Nalli Damodaren

nalli-damodarenNalli Damodaren is vice-president at Nalli and a fount of knowledge about Indian textile traditions.

Hemendra Sharma

hemendraHemendra Sharma is passionate about building livelihoods amongst various communities. In his current role as COO of WomenWeaves, Hemendra leads a team and manages orders for 100 clients across 30 countries. Hemendra has worked in livelihood promotion at Udyogini, which has presence in six states across India, UPASaC, a Section 25 company to promote livelihoods in Uttarakhand and with the MP Rural Livelihoods Project, funded by DFID.


aditiAditi is a Design professional trained at NID and a Social-Eco Entrepreneur, with over two decades of multidisciplinary work experience. She is the founder of RARE EARTH DESIGN, a social-eco Design enterprise that designs and markets artisan products. Formerly, she has been a Consultant to Artisan Organisations for Design, Organization Development, Business Development and Fair-trade. She was also the CEO of Chenetha Colour Weaves Pvt. Ltd, a Handloom weaver community owned social enterprise and responsible for setting up its business operations.