Of all textiles that man has made, Silk probably is the one that merits the highest trust. Soft, delicate illuminating, gentle and yet impossible to rip. Try tearing a piece of silk. You will think it’s fake. But you will only end up wishing you did not try. This amazing textile was also born out of fascination. An enchanted Chinese Empress couldn’t get enough of the silk coming out of a cocoon and ended up asking the royal court to harvest silk worms in large quantities.
Our handwoven Timeless Silk stoles are made from a type of silk that is commonly known as Eri. Harvested in the east Indian state of Assam, ‘Eri’ derives its name from the Assamese word ‘Era’ which means castor. The wild Samia Cynthia Ricini worm that produces Eri yarn feeds mostly on castor leaves. This silk is the only “non-violent” silk in the world. Being a multivoltine silk, it is spun from open-ended cocoons, unlike other varieties. Also Eri worms can be reared and harvested up to 5-6 times a year. Since the worms do not get killed during the process of silk extraction hence it is also known as “Ahimsa (nonviolent) Silk” or Peace Silk. The breeders allow for the completion of the metamorphosis of the silkworm to its moth stage making it completely cruelty free and animal-friendly.
What makes Eri silk unique is the sustainability of the whole value chain behind its production and consumption. Unlike many products today that touch on only the environmental sustainability aspect, Eri silk also scores very high in the socio-cultural dimension of its production. Close to a hundred and thirty thousand families in Assam with varied ethnicities depend on Eri cultivation and spinning and weaving of Eri yarn for their livelihood. Eri has helped them economically to stay back in their communities, close to their families without being forced to migrate to urban cities and seeking jobs in global companies. Companies who help these weavers reach western markets and receive fair value for their product, have helped them to stay together without the ethnic disruption resulting from globalization. Their indigenous range of spinning and weaving techniques will not be lost anymore.
Eri silk also has a sense of timelessness to it. It completely goes against fast fashion by being a durable textile that only ages gracefully and gets warmer and softer with time. Eri is a dense fabric with cotton like behavior. Its texture is rougher than that of other silks but it is softer than other textiles. Its natural protein layers are comfortable to touch. The 100% natural fabric also suits people with sensitive or hypoallergenic skin. The fibers are natural insulators which help to maintain a static body temperature making Eri silk an all-season fashion.
But besides its material durability, it is the emotional durability of Eri silk that adds to its sustainability so immensely. Most durable products never reach their end of life because they are discarded way ahead of their time by consumers who want to go for a new fad. But silk is something that will be handed down from generation to generation, never out of fashion, never boring you, but only adding to your precious heirloom. That’s why we call our stoles “Timeless Silk”. They will only gracefully age with you, touch you with gentleness and love your embrace more and more each passing day.
Eri silk makers hope that you will switch to conscious fashion. They promise a silk that is handmade with love and timeless in every way.