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  Life   Fashion  18 Aug 2017  New addition in sustainable fashion

New addition in sustainable fashion

THE ASIAN AGE. | GARIMA ARORA
Published : Aug 18, 2017, 12:50 am IST
Updated : Aug 18, 2017, 12:50 am IST

Designer Madhu Jain has come up with a new fabric called ‘bamboo-silk ikat’ which she believes is going to be the fabric of the future.

Aashali Shukla in a bamboo-silk ikat outfit. (Photograph by Rohit Chawla)
 Aashali Shukla in a bamboo-silk ikat outfit. (Photograph by Rohit Chawla)

Anything to do with heritage and history has always fascinated veteran fashion designer Madhu Jain. So when in 2000, she started experimenting with more eco-friendly yarns, she thought of bamboo and was deeply interested in working on something with it. Now, the designer has finally come up with a new fabric called “bamboo-silk ikat”, which she claims has “the potential to change the face of the way we understand the evolution of textiles.”

“India is the second-largest producer of bamboo globally, and I thought that it would be worthwhile to work on it. Luckily, I found that yarn from this luscious grass family is extremely responsive to being woven into a durable textile. In 2004, I introduced bamboo in India as an alternative, eco-friendly textile at the 7th World Bamboo Congress in New Delhi. I combined bamboo with cotton, khadi, chanderi and wool. The  textile — produced by my master weavers and myself — is first of its kind on the textiles map,” says the designer.

According to Madhu, there’s a huge potential in any textile that includes bamboo. She explains, “Since it is found in abundance in the Northeast, extracting this yarn will give a fillip to bamboo farmers. We need to protect and grow livelihoods of India’s rural poor and this can give a boost to their economy.”

While the fashion industry has been aiming towards sustainable fashion for a while now, Madhu feels the introduction of this fabric is going to be the legacy she will be leaving behind. “As a designer I am going to complete 30 years this year and I feel this textile is my lasting legacy to the fashion world and to the Indian handicraft industry.”

The fabric, which she  terms as “fabric of the future”, would be beneficial for the textile industry as well. “Bamboo blends beautifully with other fibres by lending them strength and durability.

Textiles made of cotton, wool or silk could benefit hugely from the infusion of bamboo yarn. It can make one’s clothes last longer, and help retain the shape and texture too.”

However, Madhu feels the economy will benefit from the textile only after people are educated about it. “The textile is a demonstration of how even the fashion industry can strive towards sustainability. Bamboo is biodegradable, which means that its ecological footprint is negligible when compared to, say, factory-produced cloth. But we have to build acceptability of this textile among the masses. People need to be educated about the benefits of bamboo textiles,” she signs off.

Tags: madhu jain, eco-friendly yarns, bamboo