Ace Designer and couturier Archana Kochhar is working jointly to promote the distinctive “Ahimsa Silk”. The processing of this particular silk in the jharcraft looms is done by artisans, 80% of whom are women, and this conception of promoting this art is also to support and increase the livelihood and wages of these women and empower them. Archana Kochhar met the weavers of Jharkhand and visited the looms where this new weave of silk is cultivated to start her new endeavour to revolutionise this concept.
Archana Kochhar has promoted this traditional art of Jharkhand on a global platform at the New York Fashion Week SS 16 and other international runways. This has helped in elevating the consumption of these exquisite silks on a mainstream level.
“Ahimsa Silk”, also known as Peace Silk, is processed from the cocoons without killing the pupae inside. Ahimsa silk is extracted after the silkworm has completed metamorphosis and emerged from the cocoon as a moth.
In the production of regular silk, the cocoons are immersed in boiling water to kill the worms and spool the silk yarn. With ahimsa silk, however, cocoons are left alone for seven to 10 days. Once the worms mature, they are allowed to pierce the cocoons and fly away as moths. Only then does the manufacture of peace silk begin. Each cocoon is checked individually to ensure that the moth has escaped before the silk thread is spun.
This process allows the use of these silks without sacrificing the insect’s life. In the vast majority of cases, it’s more complicated than it appears.
“Ahimsa Rēśama” – Collection Note
Inspiration: The collection “Ahimsa Rēśama” draws its inspiration from the principles of Ahimsa which means non-violence. This collection is a part of the “Make in India” campaign initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These silks are extracted and woven without killing the silkworm.
Embroidery Board: When was creating the embroidery swatches, Archana was inspired by the entire process of metamorphosis where all the moths that were saved through the process of non violent silk were turning into beautiful silk moths and this transformation inspired her to incorporate hundreds of tiny butterfly’s wings which she have created and bound together in the form of intricate textural embroidery.
Silhouette Board: The collection is a fusion of Indian-contemporary silhouettes, where the east meets the west. Archana is thinking of the woman of today who are global citizens who would wear this collection and promote this unique silk.
Colour Palette: The colour palette of the collection is beige which is the natural colour of the fabric and it is offset with ivory and rose gold embellishments. One of the things the designer found interesting about the fabric was that it has different shades of beige going to brown depending upon the colour of the leaves the caterpillar had eaten.
“I was thrilled and excited to showcased and promote this non-violent silk on a global platform such as the FtlModa New York Fashion Week SS16,” said Archana.