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

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

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.