What's the history behind kosa Silk ?
Kosa silk may look like just another variant of Tussar silk, but it's rareness and sturdiness makes it a much favourite for designers and the common mass alike. Even though kosa silk originates from Chattisgarh and is preferred as the purest silk and as a traditional fabric in almost all over Chattisgarh, it is popular worldwide for it's toughness and longevity as compared to other silks found in India and worldwide. The origin of this gorgeous silk is credited to rigorous labour by silkworms called aneres found only in Chattisgarh region, which makes Chattisgarh the birth place of this profound silk fabric,which in turn gives these hard working worms a common name "kosa silkworms".A single kosa silkworm's cocoon produces around 300 yard of silk thread.
Process of Kosa Silk Creation
Kosa silk which is originally pale gold in colour is dyed with natural dyes extracted from flowers of palas and rora and other naturally derived dyers.The hue of gold which comes naturally to it gives way to natural fabrics that need no dyeing, for an instance one can find Kosa silk in natural uncorrupted shades of fawn, dull gold, honey, vanilla and cream.
Antheraea mylitta silkworms found mainly in korba and Champa region of Chattisgarh, mostly choose saja, sal, arjun trees to cocoon themselves for the transition hibernation,weaving a lusturous cocoon of silk so esthetic, that it won't be an exaggeration to call it nature's gold, although it's Champa that boasts of the best quality kosa silk. The tribal community of Chattisgarh hailing from champa, korba and nearby regions known as devangams are credited with almost every task related to Kosa silk, right from the extraction of cocoon to the dyeing, weaving of yarn into fabrics. Though the extraction of silk and everything till it's turned into a fabric is a slow and tiring process, also the amount extracted is so limited that it is sometimes mixed with other materials like cotton to meet the demand, the rarity of kosa worms is another factor that adds to the scarcity of kosa silk.
Even though the kosa silk is renowned as Chattisgarh silk, the woven fabric gets on a bit heavier side as compared to other silks, which makes it a complete disaster recipe when worn in summers. And that too in a ultra hot and humid place like Chattisgarh where temperatures break their own records.
The sturdiness of kosa silk, which is quite an uncommon factor for a silk, has started taking it to places. The worldwide demand of kosa silk has advanced a lot in recent times, with designers of different countries creating their entire collections, keeping in mind the people's affinity to silk. A sudden inclination of mass majority towards natural fabrics too have turned out to be a boon.
Uses of Kosa Silk
Mostly kosa silk is woven into sarees,lehengas,blouses,dhotis,kurtas,salwar suits and stoles.But with new designers ready to take over the world with their creativity,shirts,waist jackets,pocket squares made out of kosa silk and a lot more keeps adding to the list.
Kosa silk is now an internationally acclaimed phenomena, international designers have understood the cooling effect of pure fabrics like kosa silk, which are obtained without interference of artificial methods, or any artificial product.The growing knowledge of such fabrics and how skin friendly they are to us has inspired a lot of them to promote organic lifestyle,which is highly suitable for the environment and has least negative effects on it. kosa silk is so much in demand among designers from US, UK and Australia. Not just Indian or Indo western outfits but western outfits made out of kosa silk are slowly becoming a new it thing.
Though not everything kosa silkworms weave on the trees is wearable. For an instance, the cocoon kosa worms prepare on the twigs of trees are even sturdier than the kosa silk, such yarn is used for making doormats, rugs, table mats and that's how no part of labour by worms goes wasted.
How to Check kosa Silk is authentic?
In recent times, where there's an imitation of everything that's ever manufactured. The demand for authenticity test is growing at large, though with Kosa silk that's not much of a problem, with just one simple practical one can assure oneself of the originality of the fabric. Just take out few threads from the fabric and burn, the authentic kosa silk when burnt leaves no residue and has a foul smell. So if by any chance you find yourself an ash like residue, you will know you are dealing with an imitation.
The hard work involved in the preparation of kosa silk fabrics out of kosa yarn is a tell tale of how some of the finest things nature has in it's store are so hard to obtain. A single kosa silkworm prepares around 1 to 2 gram of yarn, which when extracted as a silk thread gets upto 300 yard long. Altogether from extracting yarn to threading and weaving, it takes around one week or so to prepare a kosa silk saree. Since the kosa silk production is still done in a traditional way and intense rearing of kosa silkworms haven't been pushed yet, the kosa silk will remain rare till some time.
Since it's the sturdiest silk among all, it's more or less a hassle free silk, like seriously?? Whom are we kidding?? It's silk and just like all other silks it requires proper attention while washing,or while storing.
Precautions to be taken for Kosa Silk Sarees
Silks are one of the purest form of fabric,and that makes them highly sensitive to artificial products we tend to use while washing our routine laundry. When even hot water can ruin your silk, just think of what a spoonfull of detergent can do to it, our regular detergent has the chemicals and the power to destroy your sensitive silk in no time. That's why while going for a wash of your favourite kosa silk saree, keep away from soaps, rather opt for dry cleaning and if that sounds a bit tiring or expensive to you, go for a fabric softener that cleans it off the dirt if any and damages are almost negligible.
After wash care is as important as wash, one shall dry one's silk in shade as too much sun can damage the soft texture and the colours.
For the storage of your kosa silk outfits, always iron the fabric at low or mild temperature and never press on the folds or it can irrevocably damage the fabric. keep it away from perfumes and always air it for an hour or so once worn in summers or under humid conditions. Always wrap it in a cloth and avoid hanging it on a hanger if storing for a long time, for longevity of the outfit.
Store your lustrous silk folded gently and you will find yourself glad for all the hassle you took, every time you wear it.