‘Eri is beautiful and versatile’

Published Jan 21, 2014, 7:40 pm IST
Updated Jan 10, 2016, 8:38 am IST
Jyoti Reddy’s Eri silk saris from Assam have caught the imagination of women of all age groups
The Rare Sheen: Jyoti Reddy
 The Rare Sheen: Jyoti Reddy

“Eri is a lovely synergy of ahimsa silk , craftswomen and designer input”.

This is just one of the many compliments coming Jyoti’s way since her first exhibition, Ereena, in the city, held earlier this month.

Jyoti hasn’t had any formal training in designing. In fact, she holds degrees in economics, sociology and business administration. But her Eri silk saris have caught the eye of women of all age groups. The designer explains why: “Eri silk has hardly been explored. We’re are one of the first companies to introduce Eri silk in its current form to the world. And my saris have even been certified by the Central Silk Board as authentic Eri work.”

Describing the novelty of the material, she adds, “Eri silks are comfortable to wear, they drape beautifully, and are versatile. They keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. And they are not too shiny. There is a classy matte sheen to it. I’m also planning to make tunics, shirts, stoles and shawls out of them.”

When did she get drawn into the world of textiles? “My kids were small when I moved back to Hyderabad from the US. And I was always creatively inclined. I first started selling shoes out of our garage. Within two years, I started selling textiles and started a boutique. Whenever I visited my kids who were studying in Atlanta and Princeton, I would squeeze in the time for design conferences and trade shows,” she  recounts.

Her brand, Ereena, is the result of 25 years of self-learning, a great team and family support. She explains, “It is through our parent yarn factory in Assam, headed by my partners, who are textile technologists, that  I was introduced to Eri silk. Our initiative has ensured that the ancient tradition of Eri silk rearing, spinning and weaving is kept alive. Over 12,000 marginalised, rural cocoon rearers now have a sustainable source of income in Assam.”

There’s more to Eri than just fashion, as she informs, “It’s an ahimsa product. The silk is reeled from cocoons without killing the worms inside. It also has  low carbon footprint. Eri moths feed on the leaves of the castor plant, which requires very little water.”

But it took two years to get the Assamese weavers to take it to a commercial level. “Traditionally, Eri silk was handspun. So, we had to fine-tune the technology to scale up production. Today, its productivity has increased from 3 yards to 25 yards of fabric per kilogram of yarn,” she explains.

Jyoti feels Ereena  is the culmination of hands-on learning in the field. “My aim is to introduce Eri yarn to different weaving communities in the country. AP itself has so many weaving traditions. Through Eri, I want to  revive interest in these dying traditions with a new twist.”