Tamil Nadu Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Society (Co-optex) plan to launch a new variety of silk called Ahimsa pattu. Their variety of silk is for the niche market which is against regular silk production. The regular variety of silk requires the silkworm to be killed after it has spun the cocoon, while the Ahimsa variety lets the worm escape before the silk is retrieved from the cocoon.
While making the normal variety of silk, the worm is dropped in water to get continuous yarn, thus killing the worm. While making the Ahimsa variety, the worm can escape the cocoon, resulting in discontinuous yarn that lacks lustre. Co-optex will use the thread work for Ahimsa pattu as opposed to zari embellishment, as the Ahimsa variety is coarser.
About 15 looms, which have traditionally been doing thread work on sarees, have been identified by Co-optex to weave Ahimsa pattu. The association has already given select designs to them. As per a survey, people in the age group of 25-35 years want silk and prefer sustainable clothingl. The initial market for Ahimsa pattu will be cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Coimbatore.
Ahimsa pattu variety of silk will be more expensive than the normal variety and Co-optex will only sell about 50 sarees every month.