Sustainable fashion brings together style and responsibility. The design and creation process adopts the most sustainable approach, avoiding any harm to the environment and to any living being. One such approach, which is quite a novel method in itself, is the extraction of silk from silkworms without killing the worms.
Ahimsa Silk is extracted in a humane manner without hurting the insects that created it. The philosophy behind Ahimsa Silk, as its name suggests, is one of peace and non-violence. One of the most popular champions of Ahimsa, Mahatma Gandhi, advocated it as a way of life,something that each one of us could adopt in our personal lives.
Kusuma Rajaiah incorporated the concept of the Ahimsa way of living into the standard method of silk production and came up with a new silk extraction procedure that would make killing of silkworms unnecessary. As a government official, he was once approached by Janaki Venkatraman, wife of R. Venkatraman, a former President of India, who asked him for a silk saree that had been made without hurting silkworms. Mr. Kusuma was intrigued and started thinking about how silk could be obtained from silkworms without killing them. His efforts eventually led to the development of a new method of silk production. Standard silk production requires silkworms’ cocoons to be boiled to allow extraction of threads; silkworms are not able to survive the high temperature levels and die trapped inside their cocoons. On the other hand,Ahimsa silk production involves a milder method where the worms are allowed to hatch and leave the cocoon naturally; once the cocoon is empty, silk can be easily extracted.
Ahimsa Silk fabric can be used and handled in the same manner that any other silk fabric is utilized. Although it currently accounts for a very limited percentage of the overall silk production in India, Ahimsa silk, also knows as Peace silk, has been consistently gaining prominence in the global beau mode. At the 2010 Oscars ceremony, Suzy Amis, wife of Avatar’s James Cameron, donned a blue gown that was made from worm-friendly fabric originally supplied by Mr. Kusuma.
“Why should we torture and boil worms just for a luxury fabric?” said Mr. Kusuma in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. By his estimate, around 10,000 silkworms are killed to make a single silk Saree. Mr. Kusuma takes pride in having invented a method that has helped preserve lives of innumerable silkworms so far; he even has a patent for Ahimsa Silk’s production method.
In its endeavor to promote sustainable fashion, AKIRA MING uses only Ahimsa Silk sourced from Mr. Kusuma’s production centers to ensure authenticity and to curb the cruel killing of harmless silkworms.
AKIRA MING is a fashion label for women that has, besides creative imagination, ethics, compassion and the environment at its heart. Style and elegance have often had an inherent cost for either the environment or for humans. AKIRA MING pushes against this notion and endeavors to produce beautiful styles using the most ethical and sustainable practices.
Our entire design process - from the search for most sustainable fabrics to the printing and dyeing to finally crafting beautiful elegant shapes- tells a unique story each time. It's the story of India's rich heritage of handcrafted yarn. It's the story of developing technology that goes hand in hand with compassion for tiniest of living organisms. It's the story of enhancing the lives of master craftsmen living in remote villages who work with their hands to produce amazing textures and weaves.
AKIRA MING uses 100% natural and hand-woven fabrics for all its designs. Instead of regular silk, we use a fabric called Ahimsa Silk; unlike commercial silk, Ahimsa silk is produced in a way that avoids harming or killing of silkworms. We are certain of its authenticity since we source it directly from its original makers who also hold a patent for Ahimsa silk. The silk is dyed using sustainable harvested gum Arabic crystals using water based binders.