5 WAYS OF STYLING A STOLE

Most of us own a stole or even wear it as a part of our daily outfit.

A stole is a piece of fabric worn around the neck for warmth, sun protection, cleanliness, fashion, or religious reasons. They can be made in a variety of different materials such as silk, wool, cashmere, linen or cotton. It is a common type of neck wear.

It is endlessly versatile – for summers, style a stole with a basic top/t-shirt and bottoms and let the stole do the talking. Similarly in winters, you can team it with your sweaters/cardigans or long coats and make a classy statement.

Let’s explore some of the ways you can style a stole:

  1. The ‘just a wrap’ way

This is the most common way of adorning a stole is just wrapping it around the neck with its two ends hanging in the front. This style works if you casually just want to accessorise your outfit or quickly add colour to it.

Style Tip: If you are wearing a neutral or solid top/kurta, opt for a bright coloured solid stole or a printed one that stands out and vice-versa, that is play with solid coloured stoles with printed or busy tops.

2. The ‘one-sided’ way

Very easy and casual, this one effortlessly will add a stylish layer to your outfit. Just swing it around your neck and there you go!

Style Tip: Looks best with kurtis and longer tops, use a long stole for this style.

 

3. The ‘two-way style with a twist’

This is also a very popular way of wearing a stole and compliments almost everyone and every outfit. Twist the stole around your neck, bringing its two ends on the front. You can adjust the width of your stole around your neck according to your preference.

Style Tip: Make a loose twist around the neck while opting for this style. This will look good both with light weight cotton stoles or little heavy woolen ones for winter.

 

4. The classic Knot

This is a classic way of tying a stole. You need to wrap it around your neck and make a knot like a tie. The knot can be big or small, according to your preference and comfort.

Style Tip: Best for formal occasions, especially with shirts and blazers. One can also wear stoles in this style with maxis and casuals by loosely tying the knot.

 

5. The quirky way

A stole does not necessarily need to be worn around the neck or in a typical style. You can use your stole to style it as a bandana or even around your waist for some ‘quirky’ effect.

Style tip: For such offbeat styles of wearing a stole, experiment with a light weight one for ease of use.

 

Apart from the styles mentioned here, you can try a lot more by experimenting differently.  Wrap a long stole around your neck and tie a belt around your waist and there you go! You can also tie both the ends of the stole and make it a shrug.

So go on, pick up a stole and flaunt it. You can also pick one or more up from our wide range 🙂

BY BENAAZ ANAM

 

 

 

 

 

7 Reasons Why of Eco Friendly Fashion

That perfect mauve tee with black leather pants and those leopard print heels and you’re ready for yet another day without realizing the effects your choice of wardrobe creates.

The fashion industry currently leaves behind a huge negative environmental footprint. Apparel industry is considered to be the second largest polluter after oil. The culprits are synthetic fibers and leached chemicals from toxic dyes that went into that perfect shade of mauve and also the energy required to produce each piece.

Responsible fashionistas and the apparel industry itself is exploring eco friendly products to sustain planet earth. Fashion is turning to the rich heritage of natural fibers which are renewable, biodegradable, breathe, are friendly to the human body and may have beneficial medicinal properties too.

There are 7 simple reasons why stocking your wardrobe with Eco friendly fashion is way more chic –

  1. Helps the Earth – Eco friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, bamboo, jute, hemp or silk use much less water and zero chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides to produce. Natural dyes can be used on them cutting off a ton of chemicals and carbon released.

Secret Advantage – It keeps your skin nice and healthy.

 

  1. Helps the Workers – Clothes labeled under the Fair Trade Act helps the consumer ensure the products were made under safe working conditions thus preventing sweatshops and ensuring the workers earned a fair wage. It denotes that the company stands by its word.

Secret Advantage – The economy shoots up of the region of where the handicraft or handloom is produced                  with more employment and incomes.

3. Helps the Animals – Use of natural fibers prevents killing of animals and trade in skins and furs.

Secret Advantage – You contribute to conservation of wildlife and enjoy it during trips to nature parks and wilderness areas around you.

4. Makes your money last longer – When on a shopping spree, try picking up classic eco friendly pieces and not only will that help the environment but also help you to cut back on your consumerism.

Secret Advantage – You’ll save a lot of bucks in the future by stocking up classic pieces which even if more expensive will give you beauty and comfort to enjoy again and again.

  1. Exclusivity – Nothing is more annoying than seeing someone else wearing the same outfit. How do you prevent that? Go for handmade pieces as these are not possible by the artisan to recreate on a large scale. Now the possibility of someone else wearing the same outfit will be one in a million.

Secret Advantage – Handmade pieces are globally considered super luxurious as they are exclusive and also go          down the vintage line thus increasing their net worth. It’s an investment!

 

  1. Cheaper to Maintain – Natural Fabrics require natural care. Instead of spending your money on expensive detergents you can wash them with natural detergents such as soapnut.

Secret Advantage – Natural detergents don’t harm your skin and you can roam around all day smelling                         exclusively natural.

  1. Medicinal Properties– There are fabrics made from special fibers that have medicinal properties such as antibacterial or bug repelling. For example Sericin protein (of Bombyx mori), that is released by the silk worm during secretion is useful because it has antioxidant and antibacterial properties and is also UV resistant.

There are also a number of natural dyes that have medicinal properties such as Indigo which helps fight skin               diseases, turmeric which cures pain and is also beneficial for enhancing skin qualities and sandalwood which has       a natural perfume quality that helps fighting stress.

So go green on your wardrobe. Fill it with classic pieces and have a non consumerist future and a non cruelty closet. When shopping, never forget to ask ‘what I want to wear’ instead of ‘who I want to wear’.

By Ishna Bisht

INDIA’S HERITAGE – THE HANDLOOM INDUSTRY

Our identity lies in the womb of our rich, golden heritage. Textiles, jewellery, food, crafts, sports and oral traditions are all weaved into the golden tapestry of our culture – the ‘Indian’ culture.

Grandmother’s special aam ka achar with its irresistible aroma; mom’s besan ke ladoos made with ingredients in unmeasured palm moulds that taste heavenly, the traditional style of adorning the saree by mother in law with sequined clutches and a bun held by an ornamented comb.

Traditions, especially when passed from one generation to the other, become very special for us.

The tradition of handloom weaving in India goes back to ancient times. It comprises of the largest cottage industry of the country. Millions of looms across the country are engaged in weaving cotton, silk and other natural fibers. There is hardly a village where weavers do not exist, each weaving out the traditional beauty of India’s own precious heritage.

The NorthEastern region of India in general and the state of Assam in particular has a rich tradition of handloom weaving descending down from generation to generation. The inter-mingling of various ethnic stocks in Assam, both tribal and non-tribal has formed a synthesized culture in the state. These ethnic groups having diverse socio-cutural background have contributed immensely towards the glory of textile tradition of Assam as a whole.

 

Popular for the handloom culture, Assam is the home to Eri silk – a vegan silk also known as Ahimsa Silk because of its non-violent practice of extracting silk and Muga Silk – the golden silk which outlives its owner and is exclusive to the state.  The traditional hand woven fabrics woven out of Silk are widely known for their beauty and simplicity.

This socio-cultural heritage of India is however starting to fade away in today’s modern and fast space. The gratification of urgent and easily available resources are slowly killing the handloom industry.  No doubt, it is a slow process but it is a beautiful one. Each handloom product speaks of hundreds of stories behind the creation of it. The imperfections, the rough finishing and the delicacies make it all the more personal and special.  We owe to sustain the treasure of these handloom art for our upcoming generations.

On this National Handloom Day, let’s pledge to revive India’s dying handloom arts and crafts and sustain and glorify the existing ones.

Lets celebrate “Handmade with love”.

By Benaaz Anam

Eclectic Northeast July 18, 2017 By Meeta Borah 

Fabric Plus has one of the most fascinating stories behind its birth, none more fascinating and endearing than the man who started the company, Dilip Barooah. Hailing from Margherita, he possibly never thought about textiles when he was young. Instead, his primary goal was to become self dependent because he grew up with 5 siblings and he saw how it took a toll on his father to provide for the family. After one failed attempt to run away to Chandigarh to pick up skills at a Swiss Watch Repairing Training Centre, three failed attempts to join the NDA, he finally made his way to Guwahati to complete his pre-degree at Arya Vidyapeeth. Even that took a turn when he had to skip a year because there were strikes by the lecturers. Around that time, when he had no place to stay in Guwahati, he chanced upon the Assam Textile Institute in Ambari. The lure of hostel facilities and scholarships was enough to get him interested, but what helped him get really hooked were, in fact, the textiles. ‘The dots connected,’ he said reminiscing about the past.

He passed with flying colours and moved to Mumbai. ‘My first interview was with a big company, this gentleman named Kapoor asked only one question. After I answered, he told me that they will let me know. I was happy, I came back to the bachelors pad and told my friends. They said that “we’ll call you later” is Bombay language for when they are not giving you the job. I was furious. I went back and charged him. I asked him, “What was the question you asked me?” He repeated the question. I asked, “Did I answer correctly?” He said yes and then I told him about what my friends had said. He laughed and asked when I could start working. That is how my career started.’ After that, he worked in many different companies in Mumbai, Germany, South Africa, and even came to Assam to complete a project during the early days of his career but he didn’t stay back then because he felt that Assam wasn’t ready for a workaholic like him.

After many years working outside the region, he heard a call to come back and start something of his own. ‘I frequently used to come to Assam to ask for loans, nobody would give me any. Finally, the former CMD of NEDFI Mr Hazarika and the then DONER minister saw the fire in my belly. They discussed and gave me a chance.’ Fabric Plus started from Mumbai. The first factory was a small one but they worked their way to the Soigaon factory which expanded from 20 thousand sq feet to about 50 thousand sq ft. Presently, Fabric Plus has 500 employees and about 46,000 people indirectly associated with the company.

Their flagship product is Eri. ‘Traditionally, eri was confided to hand spinning and eri shawls. My exposure and experience made me unhappy about that. I knew it had a lot of potential and we wanted to add much more value to the fabric.’ Before they introduced technology to the cycle, weavers were not getting value for the eri and the output was less. ‘1 kg of raw material would turn into .8 kilogram silk which would then be turned into 2 metres of fabric. The impact would be, at most, one weaver and one spinner, many times it was same person who would do both. After Fabric Plus, the equation changed, ‘1 kg gives us the same .8 kg of silk but we could use that to make 40 metres of fabric. We use more raw material and we affect more lives. The weavers are getting better value, they are more motivated, and production is going up which means that the whole value chain is becoming richer.’ Their factories employ 100% local weavers and machine workers. Out of which, 85% are women.

Fabric Plus doesn’t only sell silk simply in terms of a mekhela chador or a saree, they make buttons, scarves, stoles, shawls, curtain, drapes, and much more. ‘We work with companies like Hermes. In fact, we received a big order from them recently. We are doing business with a big company in Geneva. We are also doing a lot of R&D with our business partners in Europe, we are also creating a new product which was never been attempted before. There is a long way to go, but we are expanding.’

 

They ensure product satisfaction by interacting with the customers. ‘We have a close monitoring system. The design team consisting of trained designers brainstorm about designs based on fashion forecasting. We make samplings and send them to our buyers, they do market testing and give us feedback.’

When we asked him why there are no other companies trying to do what he has been doing for the past couple of years, he said that it is challenging to say the very least. ‘It is very tough to set up and manage a company like this which is labour intensive. You would need to be a workoholic, but luckily for me, I thrive on challenges.’ If you think he over exaggerates the challenges bit, you are wrong. He works 365 days a year, almost 24 hours, with no holidays. You may stop to wonder if he does anything apart for work but then again maybe that is the need of the hour.

Textile Excellence – 24th Feb. 2017

Union Minister of textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated an Apparel and Garment making center in Boragaon, Guwahati, Assam in the presence of Ranjit Dutta, Minister Handloom & Textiles and Irrigation (Assam),  Bijoya Chakraborty, Member of Parliament for Guwahati parliamentary constituency and Mukti Gogoi, Commissioner and Secretary of Handloom Textiles and Sericulture Department of Assam among others. The entire panel of dignitaries was welcomed by a troop of Bihu dancers beautifully portraying the traditional Assamese culture.

Bijoya Chakraborty on her address elaborated on the scenario of textiles and handlooms in Assam. She proudly claimed that in most of the villages in Assam, every household owns a loom where they could produce tons of handmade textiles with traditional designs. However, the problem rests with lack of ‘organized marketing’ of the products and the intrusion of unscrupulous middlemen which is one of the major hindrances to these artisans, she explained.

This topic was further stressed by Assam’s textile minister Ranjit Dutta. Calling Smriti Irani as the state’s daughter and pointing out that she had a family connection at Dhubri in Assam, he assured that the union textile minister is in the process of changing the scenario.  Dutta also said that the State Government is going to sell the woven products from the households through ARTFED and added that a center of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) will be set up at West Boragaon in a 60-bigha plot of land.

The inaugural session concluded with the speech by the Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani. She referred to the Vrindavani Bastra that used to be woven during the days of Srimanta Sankardeva. Irani spoke of the abundance potentials of handloom and textile industry in Assam. She said that her ministry would extend all help to Assam in all measures taken by the state towards development of hand loom and textiles and generation of employment avenues. She said that the App ‘E-Dhaga’ is now available in Assamese, and through this App, cotton and jute yarn can be bought by weavers. Getting rid of middlemen is a major motive of the App, she emphasized. The Union Minister also stressed on the importance of the promotion of “Eri Silk” which is also known as “Peace Silk” worldwide.

The dignitaries visited all the sections of the apparel and garment making center. Smriti Irani expressed her satisfaction with the unit and interacted with the operators and the team, encouraging everyone to continue the hard work and put their skills to the best use.  Fabric Plus, an established company manufacturing Eri and Muga silk yarn and fabric in Assam, is the authorized operating agency for the apparel making center. Dilip Barooah, founder and managing director of Fabric Plus along with his team was present and guided the dignitaries through various sections of the unit which included the designing, cutting, sewing, inspection, packaging and storage sections.

Fabric Plus strives for ‘harnessing culture and technology to create livelihood’ which come true through this project

India should opt for Assam’s Eri Silk to avoid murdering baby worms for status symbol

Maneka Gandhi Jul, 11 2017

Many people who object to wearing leather because it is made by killing and skinning animals, don’t think twice about wearing silk. Even religious people who would faint at the sight of meat being offered to God, don’t consider the offering or wearing of silk as violent. But it is. Silk worms wrap themselves up in cocoons made of layers of thread to protect themselves from predators, while they mature into butterflies and moths. It is these butterfly babies that are boiled alive and their thread used for silk.

It takes the life of 15 of these little creatures to produce a single gramme of woven silk, 15 silk moths are either boiled or steamed alive in their cocoons. To produce one hundred grams of pure silk, approximately fifteen hundred chrysalis have to die. One sari uses upto 50,000 dead creatures. If life is the same in all, then how much more frightening to wear the skins of 50,000 murdered animals than one.

Those of us who revel in the rustle, colour, shimmer and splendour of silk should know how it is produced. Here is the life cycle of the little creature sacrificed for each strand. Silk manufacturing begins by mating full grown sexually active moths. After mating, the live male moths are dumped into a basket and along with waste pupae, used as animal feed.

The eggs hatch in four to five days to produce tiny larvae which feed on mulberry leaves. These little larvae grow gently into caterpillars in about a month’s time. The fully grown caterpillar wraps itself in layers of a filament made of saliva emitted from its mouth to form a cocoon to protect itself during its transition from caterpillar to chrysalis to moth. But far from protecting the tiny creature, it is this cocoon that causes its death. For man has discovered that this protein shell is actually made up of fine silk threads.

To emerge, the brand new butterfly has to cut through its cocoon, ruining the filament. This is prevented in the most savage manner. When the cocoon is ready and the pupa is full grown inside it and just seven days away from the final metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly, the gruesome process of silk extraction begins. The cocoons are collected and put inside heat chambers to stifle the pupa inside under temperatures ranging from 70° to 90° C for three to four hours.

During this time, the pupa slowly suffocates, crumples and roasts to death. Its dying screams are muffled in the sheath it had so diligently built for its own protection, its cocoon turned into its own death shroud. After this tortuous process, the cocoons are further boiled with the dead pupa still inside to extract the silk thread.

Nor is this the only cruelty involved. Only half of the moths reared in silk centres are silk producing. The others are pupas which are allowed to grow into moths which are used to produce the eggs. In an obsession to obtain finer silk, the wings of these moths are cut off during copulation to prevent contact and contamination. After they lay eggs, these too are killed since they can produce only once in their lifetime.

The method of identifying and isolating diseased moths is equally crude, it consists of cutting off the moth’s tail for microscopic examination.

Silk oil and silk powder made of dead silk moths are used by the cosmetic industry in products for moisturising and conditioning the skin and hair, in hair styling mousses and in some face powders and eye shadows. They are also used in the making of certain soaps.

Nor is it just cruelty that is involved here. The massive wiping out of these tiny insects adversely affects the ecological balance. Butterflies pollinate many tubular flowers and orchids cannot grow without them. They devour plant pests like aphids, and destroy weeds. In Australia, for example, the cactus moth has been used to clear 60 million acres of prickly pear cactus for farming. Moths are in turn eaten by lizards, spiders, bats and monkeys. So every yard of silk has wrapped up in it the lives of all these creatures and of the earth.

I myself would not want to be part of this torture and haven’t worn silk for almost thirty years now. However, I realise that asking people to give up silk is difficult since society has made it into such a status symbol that it is worn for occasions even when the temperature is above 30°C. So I have looked around for an alternative to recommend. Eri Silk is the same silk minus the killing. Its production process does not involve murdering helpless creatures.

So if you like the luxury of silk, you can still make sure you are not paying for another’s pain. Eri Silk is being produced in Assam but it needs to be aggressively marketed all over India, adopted by designers, flaunted by celebrities, stocked by up market stores. We can turn Ahimsa into a fashion statement.

To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

Eastern Panorama – Silk Route to Development

From bulk exporters of silk, the Northeastern region will soon emerge as the major hub of value addition of silk items. The emerging global market is fuelling entrepreneurship in the silk sector.

The Ministry of Textile’s ambition to counter Chinese silk influence will soon see North East having at least eight composite silk units. One such unit has come up in Chaygoan near Guwahati. Another two such units are functioning in Andhra Pradesh and Kokrajhar in Assam.

Cheap Chinese silk is gaining substantial market in the region. For want of required facilities for conversion, about 40 to 60 percent of Eri  cocoons are transported to other states. In order to support the conversion of Eri to mill spun yarn under the catalytic development programme, the Central Silk Board and Department of Sericulture Government of Assam has provided financial and technical assistance for the establishment of composite silk unit M/S Fabric Plus in Chaygoan near Guwahati. The total estimated cost of the unit is around Rs 5.50 Crores. Assam based Fabric Plus private limited is exporting designer fabrics for fashion and home fashion, including stoles, ties, curtain panels, cushions, corporate gifts to the European and US markets.

The company already has three units and with the commencing of the fourth unit the production will increase to 1, 20,000 liner meters of fabric from 50, 000 liner meters of fabric. The unit will also have the facility of 90,000 metric tones of yarn, 60,000 of which will be Eri and Muga.

Sounding optimistic, Dilip Barooah, Managing Director of the company said that the turnover of the company is around Rs 4 crore annually and with the fourth unit getting commissioned it will increase to 14 crores. “We export 70 percent of the production to the European market and 30 percent to USA.”

The ministry of textiles is also planning to create a brand image for Eri silk to attract global buyers. The ministry has also chalked out plans for increasing the production and showcasing Vanya silk comprising of Tassar, Eri, and Muga internationally.

Dayanidhi Maran – Union Minister for Textiles watch the work inprogress

Union Minister for textiles, Dayanidhi Maran who was on a one day visit to Assam recently said, “I would urge the business community especially exporters, to create a niche market for Eri silk which I understand is unique in several aspects. It has excellent thermal properties, possessing the warmth of wool and the sheen of silk. Unlike most other silks, Eri is an ‘Ahimsa’ silk as the live pupa is first taken out and the cocoon shell is used for producing spun yarn. These distinctive properties can be exploited to crate a brand image for Eri silk and I am hopeful of a concerted effort in this direction from all stakeholders.”

India is the second largest producer of silk in the world. There are four commercially exploited varieties of silk in the world. India is the only country which produces all these four varieties namely Mulberry, Tassar, Eri, and Muga.  The rich golden silk is unique to our country; 86 percent of the country’s total Muga production comes from Assam.

About 95 percent of Eri production in the country comes from North East India of which Assam produces about 50 percent. “The ability to produce all four varieties of silk in India constitutes our real strength. This ability must be used as leverage. I realize that it may take us considerable time to give China a run for its money in Mulberry silk but we can and must immediately exploit our premier position in the production of Vanya silk,” Mr. Maran observed.

Mr Maran further said, “The impact of global economic slowdown was felt less in the textile sector due to strong domestic consumption. Our exports are down by 14 percent, however things are looking up. Next month is very crucial for us.”

The ministry has sanctioned a Textile Park in Assam and the setting up of a jute park is in the pipeline. Under the 11th plan, Rs 56.51 crore has been released as central share to the North East for the development of sericulture. Of this, Rs 25 crore has been allocated as Assam’s share. The Eri silk production in the North East has increased by over 37 percent.

The production of Eri silk has gone up from 1485 MT in 2006-07 to 2038 MT in 2008-09 in the country. The total silk production in Assam during 2008-09 was around 1261 MT which includes 1141 MT of Eri Silk, 105 MT of Muga and 15 MT of Mulberry silk. Around two lakh people are employed under the sericulture sector in the North East.

Your Story APARAJITA CHOUDHURY 12 FEBRUARY 2016

Will government support ensure that the Northeast’s startup star is on the rise?

 

When any discourse related to Northeast India takes place, the first image that envelops our minds is the scenic beauty of the seven sisters (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura) that comprise this far-flung region of our country. Regrettably, the lack of an appropriate ecosystem has restricted the region from showcasing its entrepreneurial spirit.

The time has come to unveil the buried potential of startups from the Northeast and give them the flexibility to compete with their peers in metro cities. In a major move to bring these startups into the mainstream, the centre has recently announced a “venture fund” to promote startups in India’s northeastern states.

 

Minister of State for Development of Northeastern Region (DoNER), Jitendra Singh has said that India is on the verge of becoming a world power on the basis of the strength of its youth, who comprise over 65 per cent of the population, and are the real torchbearers of the ‘Startup India’ mission. The fund is not only estimated to boost the startup ecosystem in the region, but also draw the attention of startups from across the states to set up base in the Northeast.

A report by the International Finance Corporation revealed that the Northeast has more than two lakh MSMEs, which accounts for less than three per cent of the country’s total MSMEs. And the region contributes 2.6 per cent of the country’s total GDP, a clear indicator that the entrepreneurial bug has bit the Northeast as well.

Here is a list of startups who have shown their potential, blazed a trail and emerged frontrunners in an already crowded startup ecosystem.

Arohan FoodGuwahati-based Arohan Food works with small-holdings pig farmers across Northeast India and retails pork products nationwide. Founded by Anabil Goswami, Arindom Hazarika and Ranapratap Brahma, formerly of Tata Chemicals, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Bank of Baroda, respectively, this integrator aims to improve these farmers’ animal husbandry practices, and ensure the highest-quality farm pigs for sourcing. Omnivore Partners invested Rs 2 crore – 6 crore in Arohan Food in 2013.

TeaboxFounded in 2012 by Kaushal Dugar, Siliguri-based Teabox is a premium tea brand that focusses on vertical integration of sourcing, branding, and distributing teas. It sources the tea blends from Darjeeling, Assam, the Nilgiris, and Nepal and ships worldwide through its online platform. Kaushal Dugar is a KPMG consultant and an alumnus of Singapore Management University. Recently, Teabox raised $6 million in Series A funding from JAFCO and others. Earlier, it also raised funds from Ratan Tata.

 

GiskaaFounded in 2014 by Meghanath Singh, Giskaa is a Guwahati-based online marketplace exclusively for products manufactured in the Northeast. The site has close to 1,600 unique products, which are sourced from more than 100 suppliers and artisans. Meghanath has 13 years of experience in the IT industry in the pharmaceutical and publishing domains. The team of Giskaa has personally met artisans in the remotest villages and collected data on products, capacity, quality, marketability, and logistics. The website follows a marketplace model, of which 50 per cent is inventory led.

ElrhinoFounded by Nisha Bora, Guwahati-based Elrhino was started with the intention of using their resources to provide locals a viable livelihood, and save Assam’s 2,000 one-horned rhinoceroses. Before that, Nisha worked with Quantum as a market researcher. Elrhino produces and sells handcrafted stationery and packaging material made of recycled rhinoceros and elephant dung. It manages the entire dung paper production chain starting from collection, preparation, and processing to sale of finished dung paper goods.

Tamul PlatesFounded in 2010 by Arindam Das Gupta, Barpeta-based Tamul Plates focusses on generating rural livelihoods by producing and marketing biodegradable dinnerware. An alumnus of Delhi University, Arindam used to work for FODRA NGO. They also provide technical support and financial channels to rural areca (betel) nut producers. Tamul Plates produces and sells disposable plates, bowls and tableware made of from areca nut. It also produces dinnerware via a network of affiliates across the tribal regions of Northeast India.

WebX TechnologiesFounded in 2008 by Sanjeev Sarma, WebX is a Guwahati-based professional IT consulting company and provider of complete enterprise IT solutions, which involves planning, designing, developing, and maintaining IT Infrastructure, both onsite and remotely. Sanjeev started his career with ZAP Infotech as a software consultant. The company has three full-time directors heading three divisions – Software Services, IT Infrastructure Management Services, and IT Sales and Marketing. It offers a full range of IT services ranging from system analysis to solution implementation with high-quality technical support.

Assam Silk ShoppingFounded in 2013 by Daisy Rani Nath, Guwahati-based Assam Silk Shopping is an online marketplace, which deals with all types of Assam silk like mugaeri, and raw silk. It also allows users to buy golden silk, mulberry silk, handwoven traditional sarees, mekhela chadars, and Assamese jewellery from Barpeta and Nagoan districts. The company directly sources from its own production centre at Sualkuchi, Assam. Sualkuchi is a village known for craftsmanship. The company has also tied up with North East Handicrafts, which comprises craftsmen who work with bamboo and cane.

KraftinnFounded in 2010 by Parikshit Borkotoky, Jorhat-based Kraftinnhas a team of experts who select the right bamboo for harvest during the months of November and December. The harvested bamboo is stored till the moisture dries and is later stalked to meet production demands for a whole year. The products are exported to countries like Japan. The startup has also worked with companies like Himalaya Drugs and ONGC, providing them with corporate gifting options.

Udyan TeaFounded in 2013 by Pravesh Gupta, Siliguri-based Udyan tea provides high-quality, single estate tea to consumers. Pravesh used to work in Accenture, Singapore, as an IT consultant. Experts procure tea directly from select estates in Darjeeling, Assam, and Dooars, which is then vacuum-sealed. It also manufactures green tea bags, tins, and boxes in both regular and flavoured variants.

Fabric PlusFounded in 2003 by Dilip Barua, Guwahati-based Fabric Plus is a manufacturer of various types of Assam silk such as mugaeri and pat. It also offers silk products starting from cocoons, cocoon cakes, dressed fibres, tops, yarn, fabric, garments, and accessories.

Since the focus of the government, investors, and incubators has almost been negligible towards the Northeast, startups like Giskaa and Teabox have relocated to Bengaluru to get better visibility and enjoy a startup friendly environment. However, the new venture fund by the government comes as a boon for this fraternity, and will gradually put the region on the global map. We would love to see more startups, who are yet to come out of their shell and demonstrate their potential to the entire nation, join this list of their peers.

Developing Fabric Plus Team In Assam 30 MAY 2016 BY WOW – WOMEN ON WINGS

A group of twenty-five team leaders of Women on Wings’ business partner Fabric Plus are eager to contribute to the growth of the silk producing company. This second line management is young, ambitious and loyal to the company. Recently a team of Women on Wings worked with the team leaders on a management development program to support them in their personal growth.

Ellen Tacoma, co-founder of Women on Wings, and Ronald van het Hof, joint managing director at Women on Wings, worked with the group on various topics to support them in becoming better managers. Ellen Tacoma: “Most team leaders concluded that sometimes they might be asking too much from their staff. We discussed how they could change their approach and still be ambitious and loyal. Each of the team leaders determined personal communication and growth targets. The team was very open and thus vulnerable. But they realized that by sharing one can gain so much from the others.”

Ellen and Ronald also worked with Dilip Barooah, managing founder at Fabric Plus. They looked at the business and the macro-economic influence on the company’s results. They discussed the company’s plans for the current fiscal year and evaluated the improvement plans with the different departments.

Fabric Plus is a company socially committed to nourish rural craftsmanship. It offers a wide range of silk products from yarns to fabric. The ambition of Fabric Plus is to become the leading authentic silk manufacturer and exporter in India. The mission of the company is to be a vehicle for significant socio-economic improvement and specifically to empower women.

Wormspit Gold of Assam Posted on February 28, 2007

I found a sericulture collective in Cooch Behar that raises the elusive and *amazingly* beautiful Muga silk, Antheraea assamensis. They sent me a packet of samples. I’m SO buying some of this stuff as soon as possible.

 

 

 

These are muga cocoons – the Gold of Assam. They’re substantial, although thinner than Bombyx cocoons.

 

They can supply reeled muga yarn in two different qualities, hand-reeled and machine-reeled. This is hand reeled. It shines like polished gold or brass.

 

You can see that it’s untwisted filament, held together by the gum. It is a little bit stiff.

Let’s just look at the silk for just a moment. Ah, yes.

This is the machine-reeled muga. It’s twisted during the reeling process, so it has a little more consistency and strength, but a little less sheen.

 

Closeup of the machine-reeled muga.

 

 

As with all the silk varieties, waste from reeling is never wasted. This is mill-spun muga yarn. It’s about a 2/50’s or so.

This is the “muga wrapped tasar” yarn. I’m not 100% sure which part is what.

This is a really beautiful chainette. It’s softer than the other muga yarns. I think it’s probably made from the machine reeled filament, with some of the gum boiled off. It should make nice yarn for knitting.

Ghicha is a variety of yarn hand-spun from the remainder of cocoons after the “good stuff” is reeled off. It’s got a lot of character. Oh, and that’s a dime, for those of you who haven’t seen the old Mercury style. It’s the same size as a modern Eisenhower dime.

 

They also make Eri yarn. This is a thick-and-thin singles, with quite a range of thickness.

This is the sweet, sweet set of swatches they sent. There are several blends with muga and other silks, with linen, with cotton, with tasar. These are all handloom fabrics.

Muga x cotton

Muga x linen

 

Muga x cotton in a jacquard pattern of leaves and flowers

Muga and tasar. I think the muga is the background, the tasar is the lumpy thick yarn.

High-twist muga x cotton.

For me, the best piece is this large chunk of 100% hand-reeled muga. It’s got a sheen like nothing else. The hand of this silk is fairly stiff, because it is left in the gum.