At the beginning of the year, the Indian textile ministry had approached designers to promote few dying arts and crafts of India. To be a part of this movement, they had taken up a few projects with an aim to complete them one at a time. One of which is the ahimsa silk, said the Mumbai-based designer Archana Kochhar who visited the looms where the silk fabric is handwoven, and guided the weavers to make a few designs and colour changes to meet contemporary style requirements. The processing of this particular silk in the Jharcraft looms is done by female artisans, who form 80% of the workforce.
A great option would be to try ahimsa silk that is produced without harming the silkworm. To promote this cause, fashion designer Archana Kochhar has collaborated with Jharkhand Silk textile and Handicraft Development Corporation (Jharcraft) to create a collection made from Ahmisa silk, the non-violent fabric for her next collection.
Silk has always been an opulent fabric to go to for special occasions. But for the consumer with a heart, the silkworms killed with boiling water would not go down too well.
Ahimsa silk is the process of extracting the silk thread involves cultivating silkworms and then dissolving the cocoons in boiling water when the worms are in the pupa stage. The production of ahimsa silks involves waiting for the caterpillars to finish the cycle and leave the cocoon as a moth.
Each cocoon is checked individually to ensure that the moth has escaped before the silk thread is spun. Though this process produces 60% of amount of silk as compared to the regular method, it meets the purpose of fashion for a cause.
Currently, Kochhar is working on a collection that uses this silk, and will be participating in the Mercedez Benz New York Fashion Week in September.
According to Kochhar, women in Jharkhand after finishing the chores at homes at different times of the day work at the Jharcraft looms earning as much as Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 a month. Their aim is to promote the fabric enough to raise their income to as much as Rs 8,000 a month.
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