I have great respect and admiration for Indian fashion and one of my particular favorites is the Indian sari.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Indian Sari Silk

Traditionally the silks for the manufacture of the Indian Sari cloth are manufactured from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori) raised in captivity. The silk produced is woven from a continuous thread which is unravelled from the cocoon before the moth has emerged. Keeping the thread intact produces a strong light cloth with a reflective sheen which can be dyed with the rich vibrant colours desired for the Indian sari. Unfortunately the silkworm pupae die in order to keep the cocoons whole.

For hundreds of years wild silks have been produced in limited amounts but, because the cocoons are damaged by the emerging moths the silk threads are much shorter and the cloth produced is thought to be of an inferior quality. Through the ages the rich have demanded the elegant sensuous fabric produced from the farmed silkworm cocoons; it has been the fabric most associated with wealth and success.

The Ahimsa silk is a soft, luxurious breathable fabric which looks every bit as beautiful as the traditional sari silk but perhaps with less sheen.

A sari fabric has been developed by Kusuma Rajaiah which can be made without killing silk worms. The fabric is called ‘Ahimsa silk’, it has been in production since 2001 and it is already in great demand in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. There is an interesting article about it in the Deccan Herald. The article reports that Ahimsa silk has yet to grow in popularity in India. I believe it lacks the rich lustre of traditionally produced silks but it is beautifully soft to the touch and luxurious to wear. To animal lovers and those who may be ecologically minded, the luxury of having the smooth shiny silk Indian sari is perhaps not as important as the preservation of the silk worm. I suppose, for others, it will eventually come down to personal preference.

As an alternative to silk there are now some beautiful fabrics available which have their own unique look and luxurious quality. For an elegant accessory to any party outfit look at this Sari Wrap in patterned georgettes self designed fabric.


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