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Silk route

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Magical weaves A model shows off an Anuradha Vakil creation in silk
Magical weaves A model shows off an Anuradha Vakil creation in silk

Pure or fake, silk saris continue to be a woman’s best friend

“It’s a rare treat, one that you receive once a year and something you hold on to till it’s time for the next one,” gushes Meenakshi as she spreads out her Dhaka Jamdani silk sari, which she bought for Rs 6,000 recently. A few kilometres away at a popular mall, it is sale of a different kind, loved by all the shopaholics. Drop in during the rush hour and the silk wave is all over the place. Comfortable and affordable ‘Chennai silk’ and serum silk saris are stocked neatly here and come at a throwaway price. “Where will we get three silk saris for a thousand rupees. The fabric might not be pure silk, but it is ideal for an office wear and even makes for good gifts,” says Poojitha, a teacher, adjusting her shopping bags.

The timeless and ageless saris continue to weave magic among its lovers. And, if it is in silk, this long-time mate of the women has a different appeal. Worn only during special occasions, a pure silk was once only a rich woman’s best friend, thanks to its pricing. Not any more. If you are not keen on its purity, check out the colourful but duplicate ‘silk’ collection flooding the market. Think silk and the range is endless. There is tussar, mulberry, raw silk, matka silk, kosa, cotton silk, moonga, Benarsi, butter crepe, georgette silk and of course, the cheaper varieties. Popular for its unique pallus and contrast borders, the traditional Mysore silk has gone for a makeover to suit the contemporary tastes. The Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation has patented Mysore silk with a geographical tag.

“People who know silk can identify a pure sari and its fake,” asserts Kusuma Rajaiah. The man who invented ahimsa silk, feels the awareness levels about silk is very less in the city and the consumer often ends up being cheated. “Even for the thinnest silk sari about 50gms of good silk which cost Rs 180 is required for weaving one metre fabric. It may require more quantity. One can imagine the total cost of a six-and-half metre sari after it is woven. Nowadays, even rayon which looks like silk is passed off as silk dupattas.”

So, how does one identify a pure silk sari? “Simple. A pure silk is too soft to touch and when worn, its drapes fall elegantly. A tastefully done silk sari is enough to lure its connoisseurs into buying. But, who has the time to check all this?” asks Lata of Dastkar Andhra.

She attributes the rise of fake varieties due to a cluttered market. “In today’s lifestyle, people like to invest in real estate or spend money on electronic items rather than saris. Only a niche segment understands the aesthetics involved in a silk sari. For others, even the synthetic ones will do since they come for a lesser price,” she says.

The wonder wrap is witnessing winds of change. Silk saris, be it pure or the fake ones, continue to zoom high on the fashion radar.

NEERAJA MURTHY

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