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OUR MATERIALS

Basket tray filled with natural dye ingredients
Indian craft of natural dyeing for textiles
red maroon hadwoven Arras Eri silk stole handmade
Peace Silk

The principal material in our creations is the Eri, Ahimsa or Peace silk. Eri silk is the local name of a non-violent silk that can only be found in the North East Region. Unlike other types of silk such as Mulberry and Tasar where the cocoons are boiled with the silkworms still inside, Eri silk is derived from cocoons after the silkworms have emerged. This cruelty-free nature has given it the names of Peace silk or Ahimsa silk. 

 

A traditional skill, the cocoons are usually spun by hand into yarn which gives it a linen-like texture with a slight sheen. The silk is comfortable to wear, becomes softer with use and is ideal for day or night wear in any weather. But like any other silk it requires careful usage and maintenance. 

 

Our handspun, handwoven and naturally dyed Eri silk sarees are a 100% sustainable option with a timeless quality that can be worn by anyone, anywhere.

Silkworm lifecycle illustration sketch
Eri silkworm lifecycle illustration (sketch)
Organic cotton v/s Conventional cotton

Cotton is a natural fibre that is one of the most in-demand fabrics in the world. India is the leading producer of cotton in the world but scarily, cotton is also one of the most damaging crops. Water intensive and fertiliser intensive that depletes all the natural nutrients of the soil, cotton production has led to droughts and farmer suicides in India. The alternative, organic cotton, that is cotton grown using natural fertilisers uses 91% less water than regular cotton. Although increasing, currently the production of organic cotton comprises just 1% of total cotton production as it takes time for the soil to heal from the harsh fertilisers. Farmers find it difficult to wait the 3 years that it takes for the soil to be left untouched in order to regenerate. This lower supply makes organic cotton more expensive and in some cases unavailable for various uses. In India, cotton based industries play an important role in sustaining the livelihoods of 40 to 50 million people directly or indirectly.

Our Peace silk- cotton blend handloom fabric uses conventional cotton due to the unavailability of organic cotton that is suitable for the handlooms. Apart from this collection, Arras does not encourage use of conventional cotton and uses organic materials sourced from certified suppliers. Our commitment towards a fully sustainable economy means that we are constantly working to reduce our dependence on fabrics made from conventional cotton fibres.

Another alternative to regular cotton is indigenously grown Kala cotton from the Kutch region in the western part of India. Grown organically without the use of pesticides and entirely from rain-fed water, this cotton is carbon-neutral and resilient to diseases. However, the fibres are short in length and this makes it textured and difficult to be woven on anything other than on handlooms. Our kala cotton fabrics are handwoven by generational artisans from Kutch. The weavers are also skilled in the art of natural dyeing. 

Natural Dyes
turmeric dyed peace silk yarn
tea leaf dyed peace silk yarn
onion skins and indigo dyed peace silk yarn

India’s handloom industry is skilled in the development of dyes obtained from natural sources. For our Peace silk creations, our weavers use dyes extracted from indigo, turmeric, lac, madder, onion skins, along with many other indigenous plants to produce a riot of colours. Our creations from Kala cotton also uses only natural dyes.

In cases where using natural dyes is not possible, such as in our cotton yarn, we use dyes that are free of harmful azo chemicals.

Viscose

Viscose is a cellulose based fibre that is produced and spun using wood from responsibly managed forests. Viscose is a very soft fabric and requires much less water as compared to cotton. However it is also very delicate and needs to be handled with care. Our 'Under Blue Skies' collection uses digitally printed viscose that has zero waste water discharge.

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