• FridaysForFuture.India

The textile industry of India

The textile industry of India contributes around 14 % to industrial production, and 4 % to the GDP, 17 %to the country’s exports, and 21 % employment. India is abundant in natural resources like cotton, jute and silk.At present the industry is growing at 9-10 % with Indian economy. Indian textile industry currently possesses a share of 4.7% in world market of textiles and clothing


The Indian textile industry principally relies on cotton as its key ingredient as it forms the building block of the entire ecosystem. As per India Brand Equity Foundation, the production of raw cotton in India is estimated to have reached USD 36.1 million sales in FY19, which plays a crucial role in the textile industry to flourish. Moreover, the availability of large varieties of cotton fiber along with the fast-growing synthetic fiber industry has helped the industry build a strong foundation for itself.


Why local textiles?What is wrong with fast fashion?

The fashion industry has disastrous impacts on the environment. In fact, it is the

second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry.Damage is only increasing

as the industry grows.

Fast Fashion: Mass-production of cheap, disposable clothing. Countless new collections per year make one constantly feel out of date and encourages one to keep buying more.


The ways in which fast fashion is degrading the environment:

Water pollution: In most countries where garments are produced, untreated toxic wastewaters from textiles factories are directly dumped into the rivers.Another major source of water pollution is the use of fertilizers for cotton production


Water consumption: Huge quantities of fresh water are used for the dyeing and finishing process for all clothes.It takes up to 200 tons of fresh water per ton of dyed fabric.

Also, cotton needs lot’s of water to grow (and heat), but is usually cultivated in warm and dry areas.


Microfibres in our oceans: Every time we wash a synthetic garment (polyester,nylon, etc), about 1,900 individual microfibers are released into the water, making their way into our oceans. Scientists have discovered that small aquatic organisms ingest those microfibers. This results in plastic entering the food chain.


Waste accumulation: A family in the western world throws away an average of 30 kg of clothing each year. Only 15% is recycled or donated, and the rest goes directly to the landfill or is incinerated.


Chemicals: They are used during fiber production, dyeing, bleaching, and wet processing of each of our garments. The heavy use of chemicals in cotton farming is causing diseases and premature death among cotton farmers, along with massive freshwater and ocean water pollution and soil degradation.


Greenhouse gas emission:The apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions.The global fashion industry is generating a lot of greenhouse gases due to the energy used during its production, manufacturing, and transportation of the millions garments purchased each year.

Synthetic fibers (polyester, acrylic, nylon, etc.), used in the majority of our clothes, are made from fossil fuel, making production much more energy-intensive than with natural fibers.


Soil degradation: The fashion industry plays a major part in degrading soil in different ways: overgrazing of pastures through cashmere goats and sheep raised for their wool; degradation of the soil due to massive use of chemicals to grow cotton; deforestation caused by wood-based fibers like rayon.


Destruction of rainforest: Every year, thousands of hectares of forests are cut down and replaced by plantations of trees used to make wood-based fabrics such as rayon, viscose, and modal.




THE VARIOUS LOCAL TEXTILES

Muga Silk : One of the rarest Silks in the world is the Muga silk from Assam. It is only produced in Assam. The fact that sets this Silk apart from all other versions is that it is totally golden yellow in color. The word `Muga’ means yellowish in Assamese. It is made from the semi-cultivated silkworm named Antheraea assamensis. It is organic and natural and has the strongest natural fiber.

It is the most expensive type of Silk .The major highlight of Muga Silk is that it is long lasting. It is said that generally, a Muga Silk fabric outlives the wearer.

It is known for its resilience. This is one unique fabric where the golden luster increases with age. Most importantly, while it has got a naturally golden luster and does not need any dyeing to be done, it is still quite compatible with most dyes.

Primarily, most of the Muga Silk cultivation takes place in the West Garo hills of Assam and a little bit is also done in the west Khasi hills of Assam which are the only homes to the silkworms – Som and Soalu which generate the Muga Silk thread.

It takes about 1000 cocoons to generate 125 grams of Silk and around 1000 grams of Silk is needed for a saree.

  • Eri Silk : The cultivation and weaving of wild silk are rooted in the life and culture of the people of North East India, especially in the state of Assam in India. From the various types of silk of Assam, the rather unknown eri silk is particularly fascinating, as it is processed without killing the silkworm. Commonly silk cocoons are boiled with the worm inside to maintain one continuous filament, which results in a smooth and shiny fabric. Interestingly the eri silkworm spins short segments of a filament and creates a cocoon that is open at one end – enabling the moth to emerge. This peace silk is therefore a very popular fibre among vegans and Buddhists.

For around 30 days the silkworm grows and munches on castor leaves until it reaches its final size. It then starts to spin its cocoon, which takes another 15 days. Once the moth leaves its cocoon, the silk is processed.The empty cocoons are degummed by boiling in water, made into small cakes resembling cotton pads and then thrown against the mud houses for drying. Once the cakes are dry, they are used for spinning which is done similarly to spinning wool.