Tamil Nadu

Co-optex weavers to go organic

Co-optex has launched an unusual version of Chettinad cotton saris that do not sport their checks or designs. Photo: K. Pichumani  

The interaction with weaver artisans from other States has had an impact on Tamil Nadu weavers. Some of them attached to the Tamil Nadu Weavers Cooperative Society have decided to create a few designs using organic cotton and natural dyes. It will be a huge step for them as they would have to give up elaborate designs and instead settle for simple, plain prints on the saris they weave.

For the officials, it has been a tough task to change the mindset of the weavers. “They went for elaborate designs as it meant more number of days of work and in turn more income. A sari with elaborate motifs would require more man hours than one with simple designs but the latter is a big revenue earner,” says T.N. Venkatesh, managing director, Co-optex.

Around five years ago Co-optexlaunched serious efforts to revive older designs and recruited designers from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Chennai. Yet, the upper middle class with the purchasing power invested very little in its products.

Last month it launched its premium product - organic saris, which use organic cotton and also natural dyes – to lure this segment. At the Crafts Council of India’s Natural Dye Exhibition that concluded on Sunday in Chennai, around 10 weavers attached to the Society were invited.

M. Karunanidhi and V. Arumugam from Dharamangalam in Salem district have expressed their willingness to use naturally dyed cotton if their wages were assured. “Normally it takes around two days to weave a sari. But the new varieties we are now weaving consumes less time . Our only concern is that our wages should be regular. We cannot afford to miss even a day’s work,” says Mr. Arumugam, a traditional weaver.

“We are told that we would get paid well as there is a good clientele. We saw a lot of people buying such organic woven fabric. If we increase production we will get paid more,” says Mr. Karunanidhi.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 4:33:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cooptex-weavers-to-go-organic/article6998322.ece

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