NGOs can play a big role in promoting Eri
Eri silk set to take the fashion world by storm
wild silks or Vanya silks have for years inspired designers to create distinct
fashion statements in clothing and home textiles. These Vanya silks are of three
types, each with its own distinct characteristics: Tasar, Muga and the lesser
known Eri, which is now creating ripples in the business of fashion.
Known as Endi or Errandi, Eri silk is produced by the Eri silkworm and can be
spun evenly or unevenly in coarse or very fine counts. This versatile fibre
amplifies the elegance of silk, comfort of cotton and warmth of wool. Fineness,
density, strength, cross-sectional shape and surface properties are unique to
Ironically, Eri production in India has been slow to catch up vis a vis its
more popular cousin, mulberry silk. Which is surprising because according to
Mr Joy Oommen, member secretary and CEO, Central Silk Board (CSB), Eri
silkworm rearing is easier than mulberry silkworm rearing as it is less disease
ridden, requires less land area and as the Eri silkworm feeds on the leaves
of Castor, Tapioca (Cassava) and Kesseru plants, which are very easy to cultivate
and can be grown anywhere in the country. These plants can even be cultivated
alongside other crops.
To capitalise on this vast potential and widen the horizon of Eri
culture, the CSB has been promoting Eri production in not only the traditional
North eastern states of Mendi, bordering Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur
and Arunachal Pradesh but also in the non-traditional states of Andhra Pradesh,
Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Uttaranchal, Punjab, Bihar and Jharkhand. Additionally to
facilitate better availibility of the yarn, Mr Oommen firmly believes that NGOs
can play a big role in promoting Eri production because silkworm cultivation
can provide direct employment to weaker sections of society and that too without
much land or capital needed.
Another hurdle in Eri production was the spinning of the yarn. Mr Oommen explains,Traditionally,
Eri cocoons were spun by pulling the fibre and simultaneously imparting a twist
to it to form the yarn. However, thanks to the technological advancement and
modern spinning facilities introduced by the Central Silk Technological Research
Institute (CSTRI), spinning of fine counts in Eri has now been made possible.
He adds, We have also started an Eri silkworm seed scheme under which
CSB buys back any Eri silkworms available to create an awareness that there
is a huge market for Eri silk.
silks thermal properties, high durability and flexibility to blend with
other natural fibres like cotton, wool, jute and tasar or mulberry silk mean
exciting new product development in terms of textures, surface effects, colour
combinations and hand-feel.
Eris matt finish with natural sheen makes it unique in appearance. Designers
and merchandisers are sourcing Eri silk and intelligently using it to their
advantage, creating innovative home furnishings and made-ups, as well as in
fashion collections. Premium and luxurious thin quilts and fur-cloth from Eri
fibres embellished with motifs, embroidery and traditional Indian art, are just
some of the immense possibilities for value addition in applications across
the home textile product basket. As Mr Oommen puts it, We call Eri the
millennium silk as we feel that it will be the silk variety of the