My romance with eri silk was sparked about 15 years ago. I was at the the Frankfurt Heimtextil trade show, in conversation with an Italian textile agent who declared, on that cold snowy day - "the world needs intelligent fabrics" !
My textile curiosity was instantly aroused. Smart technology was still in its nascent stages, so fabrics being intelligent seemed a highly fascinating prospect but not quite improbable.
Nevertheless, I read voraciously and devoured any information about textiles that passed my persistent self. This quest for an intelligent fabric, led me to eri silk - the most sustainable of natural fabrics available to mankind!
Deep in the magical valleys of the Himalayas, in the north east of India, are an abundance of castor trees. Here, evolved a silkworm "Samia Cynthia"that ate the castor leaves and spun a silk on an open ended cocoon. Brilliant! Unlike other natural silks, nature preempted its demise in boiling water and planned its exit even before it started spinning its fiber. Once mature and spinning was complete, the eri silk moth could fly away, mate and complete its life cycle.
Traditionally, the tribals in the area picked these empty cocoons and hand spun the yarn to weave traditional shawls and garments. This silk was considered sacred and became an integral part of their lives. Each household had its own loom and specific pattern which was preserved by weaving on bamboo sticks, called "Ghai". This pattern was passed on from mother to daughter. They wove "gamchas" ,( a traditional stole in an off white natural eri silk with a jacquard pattern at the edges, to welcome guests into their home), and Joda shawls, (a pair of shawls that were woven together to be cut by a married couple, and shared for the rest of their lives). They slept on these shawls, comforted themselves in their warmth and gave them due respect during auspicious ceremonies!
This fabric is so durable; legend has it, that a Dutchman purchased an amazing eri silk shawl, made a shirt out of it, and returned twenty years later with the shirt, demanding another one just like it!
Surprisingly then, eri is as yet relatively unknown outside of Assam.
Eri was produced primarily for personal use. Since spinning and weaving of eri were manual, productivity was low, with one kilogram of yarn yielding just three yards of fabric. Also, the quality of eri fabric was inconsistent.
Ten years ago, a group of textile technologists set up an eri silk yarn factory, with the objectives of enhancing the productivity of eri; improving its quality; creating employment opportunities for unemployed and under-employed women in strife ridden Assam, particularly those from the tribal areas; and introducing eri to the national and international markets. This yarn factory achieved over an 8-fold increase in productivity, delivering 25 yards of fabric from one kilogram of yarn; and consistent quality.
Eri silk now became commercially viable.
Brand e r e e n a was launched, to present to the world the finest in eri silks, and thus was born the 'e r e e n a scarf'! The intelligent scarf -uniquely combining, the cool softness of cotton, the textured look of linen, the inherent warmth of wool, a subtle lustre of silk, breathability and an incredible drape to give you an unmatched wearing experience!
Besides, it has peaceful and eco- friendly production processes, zero waste and a low water foot print!
The e r e e n a scarf provides a fresh alternative for an increasingly aware world that respects its environment and heritage!
It is truly, nature's gift for all seasons, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter!