Mr. Sandeep DN, Inspector Silk – Central Silk Board (CSB) visited JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore to educate students of PGDFDBM (Post Graduate Diploma in Fashion Design and Business Management and 3rd year BSc. in Fashion Design students on 24th September 2019, on the consumer awareness program for Pure Silk, and Silk Mark.
The program was two phased wherein prior to the knowledge session, an activity was conducted for the students to identify pure silk from a swatch book. The students who identified the maximum number of pure silk swatches were felicitated at the end of the session.
The Central Silk Board was established in 1948 by an Act of Parliament and falls under the administrative purview of Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. It provides training and awareness programs to identify genuine silk, information on sericulture, schemes, details on prices of silk alongwith silk import and export.
Silk is known as the Queen of Textiles which was accidentally discovered by Chinese Empress Shiling Ti in her tea cup. Though meant exclusively for the royal dynasty of China, the demand for silk spread to the Indian subcontinent, Europe and North Africa through trade activities conducted between them and China.
Mr. Rahul proceeded by explaining to the students the process of silk formation and extraction method. Silk is made of proteins secreted in the fluid state by the ‘silkworm’. These silkworms spin cocoons as a ‘protective shell’ and have four stages in its life cycle i.e., egg, caterpillar, pupa and moth. The silk is obtained at the cocoon stage.
Sericulture is practiced to obtain silk to create silk products and is an agro-based industry. It involves rearing silkworms for the sole purpose of producing raw silk. It also has the potential for employment and improvement in village economies.
Though silk is high in value, it generates low volume accounting for only 0.2 % of world’s total textile production. Bulk of the silk is produced in China and India, followed by Japan, Brazil and Korea. The five major types of silk obtained from different species of silkworms are:
- Tasar (Oak & Tropical)
Except mulberry, the other three varieties of silks are termed as vanya silks. He then explained to the students in-depth about the different silks, the source of food of the silkworms, the authentic colour of the yarn, and the state where it is produced.
Mr. Sandeep showed some designs used by designers to create garments. Fashion designers have found ways to incorporate muga silk in new products and designs. Use of muga yarn as a substitute for ‘zari’ in sarees is finding favour among weavers and designers.
Mr. Sandeep showed the students three different types of yarns to gauge if they could identify genuine silk yarn merely through the colour of the yarn. The students were able to impress him with their apt identification. After identifying the genuine yarn, he went onto conduct, the burn test/flame test on the three different types of silk yarns, wherein he pulled the threads and burned the edge. The effect bore different results on the genuine and alternative silk yarns. Apart from the flame test, there are other three tests called, microscopic test, cross sections of silk and chemical test. However, these methods cannot be used especially when we go to purchase a silk product.
The consumer can identify a genuine silk product by looking for the Silk Mark tag attached to the product. The Silk Mark is an initiative undertaken by the Central Silk Board of India, which assures that all products attached with the Silk Mark tag are made of pure and authentic silk. The Silk Mark tags bear a coded and numbered hologram.
The Silk Mark label is provided only to authorised manufacturers and retailers of pure silk products. Mr. Sandeep informed students that the Central Silk Board provides training in identification of pure silk. Apart from identification, he also shared instruction to care for silk garments with the students.
Inorder to raise awareness and promote silk, the Silk Mark Organisation of India, an initiative of Central Silk Board organizes Silk Mark Expos in various cities to provide a platform to authorized manufacturers and weavers to sell directly to consumers. Awareness programmes are also conducted through flower shows, mobile van, horadings, bus shelters, ladies club, quarterly magazines, institutes and colleges. Actress par excellence, Vidya Balan is the brand ambassador of Silk Mark Organisation of India.
Mr. Sandeep had laid out cocoons, silk yarns and products for students to have a touch and feel. This gave them a better understanding of the different silk types and how each silk has a different semblance.
The students who won the silk identification activity were:
- Shreya Agarwal
- Kruthika S
- Kritika A
The knowledge session helped students understand and gain awareness about silk. Mr. Sandeep was also encouraged students to visit Central Silk Board for an educational visit.