Silk To Become A Daily Wear
Donning denim could soon mean slipping on silk. The Central Silk Board is trying to give a whole new meaning to the material which is predominantly associated with women's wear in India.
As part of product diversion, the government-promoted organisation for development of sericulture and the silk industry is planning to introduce fabric spun out of silk that will be used for making jeans.
"We will soon introduce some special fabric made of natural silk into the market. The special denim yarn has been developed by our scientists at the Central Silk Technological Research Institute at Bangalore," board chairman H. Hanumanthappa said here.
The institute has also developed fabrics that will be used for making everyday-wear like T-shirts other than saris and women's dress material, he said.
"Indian silk is often associated with women's wear. Also, it is often said that silk wear is meant for the rich and the well-to-do. We are trying to revamp this image," Hanumanthappa told on the sidelines of an exhibition of silk products in Bhubaneswar.
"We are going to have diverse silk products other than the sari and dress materials for women. We will have different types of products to cater to a cross-section of buyers."
As part of a move towards product diversification, a slew of items like carry bags and visiting cards made out of soft yarn developed by the Bangalore institute have been introduced in the market.
"We have developed a special type of soft pure natural silk fabric, which is being used in making T-Shirts by some private garment companies in Ludhiana and Tirupur," added Dinkar Bhatt, an official from Bangalore's silk research institute.
The silk board believes that the new experiment will not only help promote Indian silk but also help beat the double whammy of the economic slowdown and slump in demand.
"Due to the recession, the demand for Indian silk has gone down drastically. Exports have fallen by about Rs.1,000 crore in the last one year. It has hurt about 63 lakh (6.3 million) people working in this sector. Weavers are the worst hit as most of them are poor," said Hanumanthappa.
The silk board is gearing up to not only raise demand in the domestic market but also to face competition from China.
"Cheap Chinese silk is giving us stiff competition. Considering the slump in demand in both domestic and foreign markets, this is like salt in a raw wound," he said.
Faced with the situation, the ministry of textiles has taken an initiative to promote the "Silk Mark", an official mark or series of marks on items made of silk, on the lines of "Hallmark" for precious metals and "Woolmark" for wool and woollen products.
"Sometimes silk traders cheat consumers by peddling cheap imitations. We are hallmarking silk products to differentiate pure silk from fake silk. All products made of pure silk will carry the Silk Mark," said textiles ministry secretary Rita Menon.