In India, and across the world, silk is considered the queen of textiles and held in high regard for a number of reasons. It is soft, silky and extremely comfortable, while still having a distinctive sheen and lustrous look. Weather heavy or thin, silk fabrics are always very beautiful to look at and easy to carry off. They can be worn in any weather, since silk provides heat in the winter and feels cool in the summer. Silk cloth can also be easily be dyed in different colors and decorated using embroidery and embellishments, thus making it a valuable canvas for Indian artisans and designers. This is why silk dresses are the preferred formal wear outfits in India and can be seen at almost every special occasion or festival.
The versatility and variety of silk is yet another advantage of this fabric. India itself boasts of several different types of silk fabric from various regions, each with its own set of unique selling points. Though different silk fabric types exist in practically all states of India, there are certain centers of production of silk that are more significant, economically and culturally. For instance, south India is populated with cities where silk is main source of income, and many of these cities and villages have come up with their own silk varieties. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are all famed for their distinctive silk fabrics. In fact an overwhelming majority of raw silk is produced in southern states and transported to other parts of the country for further treatment. Other centers of silk production in India include Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Varanasi, Chanderi, Surat and Paithan. Many a times the silk type is named after the particular area where it is produced, for example, Kanjivaram silk, Mysore silk, Paithani silk, Chanderi silk and so on.
A popular and commonly worn material in India is the raw silk fabric. This is a slightly coarser fabric that is made by retaining the fibers when treating the raw silk derived from silk worms. It is a more cost-effective silk fabric and is also valued for its unique bumpy texture that is nevertheless quite lustrous. Cotton silk fabric is also a great casual wear fabric, as it blends cotton with silk to further enhance the comfort of the material. Another popular semi-formal and casual silk fabric is art or artificial silk. It is a faux silk fabric that is synthetically manufactured rather than derived from silk worms. It is less expensive than pure silk, despite looking almost as lustrous and beautiful.
In terms of more fancy or formal silks, perhaps the best known variety world-wide is Dupion silk, a fine and tightly woven silk with a dull, lustrous surface and crisp texture. It is frequently used to make western and Indian wedding clothes and other formal garments, for men as well as women. India is the prominent centre of production of Dupioni silk even though it originated quite recently and is considered ‘western’, as compared to other regional fabrics which have been around for centuries. These include such silk varieties as Kanjivaram, Jamdani, Paithani, Banarasi, Bhagalpuri and Tussar, to name just a few. They can vary on the basis of the silk worm used (Mulberry, Eri, Muga, Oak Tusar), or on the basis of the type of weave (double or triple thread, wefts used etc.) and over-all design and look (brocade or muslin).
It is very important to get all the silk fabric information before purchasing a variety. Since many women are choosing to buy silk fabric online, it becomes even more important for the silk to have a guarantee of authenticity, such as the Silk Mark from the government of India.
Styles and Trends of Shimmering Silk Fabric
Indian silk fabric is one of those materials that it is eternally fashionable; however, the use of these various regional varieties by designers has certainly helped to make them more prominent and glamorous. Many varieties of unique embroidered silk fabric with designs from certain states have gained an international customer base thanks to the patronage of top celebrities and Bollywood actresses.
Another major trend in Indian fashion is the emergence of the printed silk fabric. In particular, printed silk sarees have become extremely stylish, especially those that come with artistic and/or tribal prints and western designs. These are considered very artsy and often paired up with oxidized jewelry and jute bags for a funky look.
While there are many varieties of silk dresses like sarees, salwar kameez and kurtas available today, some women still prefer to buy silk fabric by the yard and then have it custom tailored into a dress of their choice. This allows them to create unique designs and ensures that costly silk fabrics are utilized only as per their specifications.