A weaver in Tamil Nadu has come up with saris made from the fibre of banana stems, and a host of other natural products, apparently taking the cue from his counterparts in Bengal.
Today, thanks to C. Sekhar’s inventive mind, women willing to try out something new can also wear a sari made of the succulent plant Aloe vela, jute, hemp and a dozen other natural fibres.
Sekhar, 45, from Anakaputhur, a town about 45km from the Tamil Nadu capital, had read about jute being used to make saris in Bengal and began using the plant as a substitute for cotton to create linen material for a French exporter. That was about 10 years back.
“I then read about weavers in the Philippines using cloth out of fibre made from the stem of banana plants. I started experimenting and soon mastered the technique of extracting fibre after drying the pulp into thin strands. Initially I could weave only small segments and hence used the banana segment as the pallu. But now I have almost a dozen looms weaving full-length saris made of banana fibre,” he says.
The saris, which have a light lustre, are lighter and also breathe well, were an instant hit ever since Sekhar launched them two years back. The price varies from Rs 700 to Rs 4,000 as some customrs also want silk strands woven into them for visual appeal.
Asked if banana saris last, his wife Padma pointed to one that has been part of her wardrobe for more than a year. She had also washed it many times, the 36-year-old added.