Not that long ago, Anakaputhur, a quiet little suburb in Chennai, was famous across the world for exclusively being a “weavers’ village.” In the decades since, the production has come down.
But the weavers, many of whom are the third generation weavers, are determined to not only to keep the tradition thriving but also come up with innovative kinds of fabric that are eco-friendly as well.
Which is why they have developed a fabric that looks like denim but is made from banana fibre!
Image for representation. Photo source: Wikimedia
The jeans, that were launched recently and made from this unique type of eco-friendly fibre, is only the latest in a long line of similar fabric developed by the community in the recent years. In 2014, a group of weavers from the region launched sarees that were made from Java cotton, a type of fibre obtained from the kapok tree.
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According to C Sekar, the president of the Jute Weavers Association, the fabric that he has developed along with others in the association has the look and feel of denim, but as it’s made from cotton and banana fibre, it’s better for the summer months as it absorbs more water. Currently, his weaving unit has made both jeans and skirts using this material. The buttons are made from coconut shells rather than metal and the material is dyed using natural colours.
Sekar is well-known for experimenting with different forms of weaving methods, having made a saree from 25 different kinds of fabric. In fact, a report from the Times of India notes that, hoping to tap into his expertise, officials from Andaman and Nicobar Islands have solicited his help in training artisans in this innovative methodology.
Sekar can be contacted here.