3 minute read
One of the world’s most luxurious textiles that has been revered for generations, was once reserved exclusively for the more affluent members of society. But, today silk has become more affordable and accessible to the common man. Unfortunately, as I’ve learned from personal experience, the common man is an easy target for counterfeiters. As a result of advances in textile processing, synthetic silk can be nearly as identical in appearance as natural silk, and often, we’re not able to tell the difference. So how can we ensure that we aren’t being cheated? How can we easily identify genuine silk products? The burn test (which involves pulling up threads from both warp and weft directions and burning them) comes to mind, but it’s not an entirely feasible option. There is an easier way to guarantee product authenticity – simply look for the Silk Mark tag. The Silk Mark is an initiative undertaken by the Central Silk Board of India, which assures that all products affixed with the Silk Mark tag are made of pure and authentic silk. All Silk Mark tags are affixed with a coded and numbered hologram, which can be used to identify the authorised and registered user of the Silk Mark. As consumers, if you require further assurance of the authenticity of Silk Mark products, all you need to do is to go to the nearest Silk Mark chapter and request a confirmatory test. The chapter will conduct a free lab test to ascertain the fibre purity of the product, and issue a test certificate. Thanks to this initiative by the Central Silk Board of India, consumers can buy Silk Mark tagged products knowing fully that the product is genuine and worth their money. Silk Mark is an assurance of pure silk and aeshaane is a certified member of the Silk Mark Organisation of India (Registration no – 1054:2003-04).
GOTS is a stringent voluntary global standard for the entire post‐harvest processing (including spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing) of apparel and textiles made with organic fibre (such as organic cotton and organic silk) and includes both environmental and social provisions. Key provisions include a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), highly hazardous chemicals (such as azo dyes and formaldehyde) and child labour, while requiring social compliance management systems and strict waste water treatment practices. As all fibre certified to GOTS must already be certified organic, GOTS certification means consumers are purchasing items certified organic from field to finished product. Many people associate Fair Trade certifications with sustainability. Here’s what you should know. Not all sustainable brands can afford certifications and while they produce keeping fair trade principles in mind, they may not have an actual certificate. Aeshaane has been certified by GOTS in the past (N° ONE-1509-140908-T-GOTS), however renewing it annually was becoming increasingly difficult, since the certification required that each shipment sent to the customer was produced using GOTS certified organic raw material sourced only from GOTS approved manufacturing facilities. This was a clear conflict of our core values, which meant that instead of purchasing directly from the weavers at the grass root level, we had to source the raw fabric from big mills and manufacturing facilities recommended by GOTS, thereby feeding middle men and big traders. The poor weavers did not fit the bill, as they could not procure expensive certifications and more so renew them each year. The sole purpose to create employment for rural artisans was being defied. Also, increasing the cost of the base fabric meant higher mark-up’s, that was affecting the entire length of the supply chain. Further, GOTS made it mandatory to have an Effluent Treatment Plant or ETP at the workshop premises. An ETP is an expensive type of waste water treatment plant which is particularly designed to purify industrial waste water and aims to release safe water back into the ecosystem that can be re-used. Most of the small and medium scale cottage industries in India operate in an organic manner, by being connected to one common ETP that is purchased by pooling in funds, to help sustain small businesses in the long run, since it costs anywhere between 10000 – 15000 USD approximately or more, to install a single treatment plant. When a personal, single ETP at the workshop became mandatory for a small business, it was almost unimaginable to think of spending thousands of dollars for the machinery plus maintenance, and to construct the same on a rented premises. Even if one thought of going ahead with the help of a loan, an additional massive space was needed close to the workshop, that would increase recurring overheads tri-fold, making it impossible for survival and sustenance.
At aeshaane, each of our shipments is certified by the Central Silk Board, Government of India, validating the authenticity of our 100% natural silk fabric. Every single time, the ‘burn test’ (which involves pulling threads from the warp and weft and burning them) is physically performed, so you can be rest assured, what you’re receiving is a genuine silk product. Ironically, the shipment is sealed with a mesh, shaped in the form of a beautiful butterfly, just like our moths ready to take flight!