Creating a smart and beautiful fabric

Jyothi Reddy has a head for numbers, a passion for textiles and a yearning to help artisans generate a sustainable income. The Indian-born entreprenueur graduated from Mumbai University where she studied economics, statistics and sociology. After she married, she moved to the United States and earned an MBA.  With her entrepreneurial spirit, in high-gear, Reddy returned to India and in 2005, she launch ereena, a textile company that draws inspiration from the rich eri silk weaving traditions of the Himalayas. With the mission to introduce to the world a “smart fabric that’s wonderfully versatile natural fabric which inherently has the qualities of multiple fabrics, and support the creation of employment opportunities in the impoverished and strife ridden northeast of India.”

ereena produces a collection of shawls and stoles that are handwoven and handknit and combine breathability, the cool softness of cotton, the textured look of linen, the inherent warmth of wool, a subtle lustre of silk. The designers and artisans us traditional techniques such as ikat, shibori, vegetable dye block prints.  “Traditionally, eri silk was hand spun and woven into rough fabric by women at home, with designs that were unique to each family and passed on from mother to daughter. Introduction of innovative technology and processes by our parent yarn factory, where these women now hand guide the yarn to spindles has spearheaded productivity of making eri, increasing yield from three yards to 25 yards of fabric per kilogram of yarn; and made eri silk consistent in its quality and commercially viable. Our parent yarn facility employs primarily women from impoverished and underemployed areas in India, who form about 80% of our work force. The Netherlands organization ‘Women on Wings” support us in training and empowering these women,” said Reddy in an email to HAND/EYE Online.

Like many companies, big and small, ereena has come face-to-face with challenges that affect the bottom line, including extreme climatic conditions, like unseasonal rains, or heatwaves that bring unexpected problems. Reddy explains, “The yarns then behave differently and we have to constantly watch out and make adjustments to the loom.”

But rain or shine that won’t stop Reddy and ereena to travel this month and attend Artisan Resource @NY NOW in Manhattan. The company will be at the Jacob Javits center from August 16-19 and will be exhibiting a large number of their collection that includes: Chitiki a gorgeous collection of ikats; Earth that consists of hand blocked prints; Mishti, a curated collection using the jamdhani technique.

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