The beauty of a well made saree draped around a woman’s body falls short of the highest of praises. Bengali women, like most other Indian women are highly aware of that. So it is no wonder that Kolkata has become one of the leading saree shopping hubs of the country. Fabric wholesale in Kolkata is becoming increasingly popular with designers insisting on getting hold of the best of materials.
Now sarees- be it cotton, silk or georgette are deeply beloved. But nothing can compare to the elegance of a handwoven banarasi saree. Their long cultural heritage dates back to the Mughal era and still continues to be a signifier of luxury.
Of late the banarasi industry has taken a seatback. Markets have been flooded with their fake, cheaper counterparts that have the potential to fool even the sharpest of eyes. The price of an original banarasi is minimum Rs4000 whereas the fake ones can cost almost 40% less than that.
The fake ones are made out of Chinese silk, polyester and artificial silk. A real banarasi on the other hand only uses raw silk. Ever since the Indian government lifted quantitative restrictions on the import of silk, the Indian market has literally become a dumping ground for Chinese silk. New machines are snatching livelihoods and putting age old weavers out of business although the quantities do not necessarily suggest that. Through the ‘gaddis’, that is the middle men it is making its way to the textile stores in various cities. No matter how good the machines are at replicating the traditional art form they shall never quite reach the heights of true traditional art work.
Apart from the difference in price which is a dead giveaway, there are a few other things you can look into to ensure that your buy of the handwoven banarasi fabric Kolkata stores are selling is authentic.
- When you go to buy the saree pull it up by its other side. Look for floats between the grids of warps and wefts on the reverse side. Only a handwoven fabric can showcase those skills- a machine will usually fail to imitate that.
- The portion that goes over the shoulder that is the pallu should have plain silk of six to eight inches. It is yet another effective way to identify an original creation.
- Owing to their Mughal heritage benarasis have motifs and patterns that have close resemblance with their architecture and artwork. Amru, ambi, domak, etc are some examples of inimitable patterns that you will find on an original saree.
- Last but not the least; you shouldn’t forget to ask for a silk certificate. Benarasis have recently got their own Geographical index to conserve their authenticity. Silk Mark Organisation of India authenticates original products and ensures that you are making an apt investment.