Mysore silk - unique, regal and historical

Print edition : October 21, 2005

A model displays a sari manufactured by KSIC. -

MYSORE is known for its silk. For over seven decades, Mysore silk, with its unique sheen and regal look, amazing drape, pure yarn and zari, has held its own among all other silk fabrics from India and abroad. Today, it is the Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (KSIC) which holds aloft the State's supremacy in silk and silk products, from classy dress material, stoles, and furnishings to the most resplendent of saris.

Though the origins of the Mysore Silk Factory date back to 1912, organised production of fabric started only in 1932, after a small quantity of raw silk was tested in Switzerland for quality. Looms installed in the factory were also imported from Switzerland, and most of them have survived to this day.

In 1980, after it was handed over to the KSIC, the whole factory was modernised. The KSIC ensures that the raw silk goes through a complex production process, to meet the high quality standards expected of Mysore silk.

The KSIC has about 115 designs and 300 colour shades in its repertoire, with traditional designs occupying the pride of place. Explains P. Vijayan, managing director, KSIC: "Rather than replacing traditional designs, we at the KSIC are adding innovative new designs to our repertoire. And these innovations are done without tampering with the purity and uncompromising quality that characterises Mysore silk."

The KSIC's new zari patterns and colours, `kasuti' embroidery embellishments on saris and rich, thickly woven pallus have all added to the aristocratic look of the fabric. Having been certified as an ISO 9001-2000 company, the KSIC launched in November 2004 a set of new designs developed by Ila Dhulipala, who trained at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). It has also inked a tie-up with NIFT, Bangalore, for the design and development of saris, salwar suits, stoles, and more.

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