- Sustainability -

Eri Silk

Government of India supported social Schemes, ASSAM

Eri silk, which begins as wild silk, is one of the most sustainable fabrics in the world.

Created in India’s northeast, this woolly white silk is often referred to as the fabric of peace as it is processed without killing the silkworm or moth. It is extremely strong, combining the elegance of silk with the comfort of cotton and the warmth of wool.

The Eri silk worm spins open-ended cocoons and this allows the moth to emerge. Unlike more conventional silks, the worm isn’t killed in order to obtain the threads, which enables it to morph into a moth, hatch and breed.

For 30 days the silk worm munches on castor leaves, then starts to spin its cocoon, which takes another15 days. Once the moth leaves the cocoon, the silk is processed. This begins with boiling the empty cocoons in water, which are then thrown against the mud houses for drying. Once dry they are used for spinning and then weaving.

The humid climate of Assam in the Northeast of India is favorable to the Eri culture where almost all of India’s Eri silk originates. Rural and indigenous tribal women traditionally carry out the processing, spinning and weaving as part of their daily life.

With the support of Government of India schemes, 7Weaves is a social enterprise working with wild Eri Peace Silk, in partnership with local tribal forest-dependent communities in Assam’s Loharghat forest. Government of India initiative is to create a green infrastructure that provides ecologically sustainable opportunities, integrating the traditional knowledge and craftsmanship of the villages with a global ethical market. In doing so, Indian Government supports all those involved in the production of Eri silk including the farmers, spinners, and the weavers who also dye the fabric.

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Assam is rich in flora, with more than 3,000 flowering plant species of which 31 dye-yielding plant species have been identified in this bio-region and are used to colour the fabric naturally.

Every piece of cloth produced helps restore the rich bio-diversity of the area as more and more plants are identified for their economic value. By focusing on bio-diversity and conservation from agro-forestry to the rearing of silk worms, mosaic planting for both fodder and natural dyes, and spinning the yarn though to the final woven product, a whole community can thrive become economically independent.

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